Topic: Springston Store - Howard and Dartnall

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Notes from a Lincoln & Districts Historical Society Field Trip, 2002 An account of the history of Howard & Dartnall's Store by Mr. Cyril Dartnall.

Howard and Dartnell Store, Springston

The store was established in 1874 by Harry Lloyd Dartnall in partnership with Mr. Howard, who was a relative, so the business was first known as Howard & Dartnall.

The first part of the building was quite small, just a single gable with two rooms upstairs. It is not known whether this was their only accommodation. The store was added to by building two storey extensions on either side, with a brick wall on the east side where the house was built, probably about the same time, although the date is unknown.

The lighting for the ground floor of the store was by gas which was made in a separate shed in the yard. The gas went into small piping which was attached to the ceiling and the gas burners were fitted several metres apart. These pipes were there until the 1950's when the centre of the building was modernised and a new floor was put in.

There were quite large stables built in the yard so they must have needed perhaps three or four horses for deliveries. The horses grazed in a paddock behind the old school house, where the school is located today.

Harry Dartnall had three sons and three daughters. The boys were Percy, Clim, and Martin. Percy went into the market garden business in the Rangiora area. When the first world war broke out Clim went away with the army, and two years later Martin went too. After arriving home Clim got caught up in the influenza epidemic and died at Trentham. Martin then went into the shop in partnership with Mr. McMeekan, and for a few years it was called Dartnall & McMeekan.

In 1930 Harry Dartnall and his wife went to Auckland for a holiday. They stepped down from a tram and were hit by a passing car. He was killed and his wife was badly injured and died some time later in Christchurch. From this time until the shop was sold in 1964 it was known as Dartnall Bros.

Most of the good were brought out of town on a weekly basis, but some bulk items were collected from the rail or delivered by Birch Carriers. With the district being so widely spread most of the business was done on the road, by calling for orders one day and delivering the next. The delivery day also included heavy items such as coal, poultry and foods.

Five full time staff were required with an occasional casual in busy times and these usually lived locally. Between 1930 and 1960 two local gentlemen spent a good part of their lives at the store - they were Mr. John Marshall (35 years) and Mr. Ernie Hoskin (nearly 30 years).

As well as grocery, drapery and hardware they agents for the Christchurch Press Co, NZ Insurance and Taylors dry-cleaning.

The Office was also a Telephone Bureau for the receiving and sending of Telegrams.

After the business was sold in 1964 it changed hands several times.

Acknowledgement: The Society would like to thank Mr Cyril Dartnall for his account of the history of the store.


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