Illustrated Guide to Christchurch and Neighbourhood
Zealandia Carpet Factory
Zealandia Carpet Factory.
Mr. Mitchell, the enterprising proprietor of this factory, arrived in New Zealand in the spring of 1879. Ho had for many years been engaged in the manufacture of carpets in several of the large factories at Home; and on his arrival in the colony he saw at once that there was a capital opening for this most useful industry. He therefore went Home to get the necessary machinery, and within three weeks of his return he had four looms ready to begin work. This speaks volumes for his energy, and most clearly shows that he is the right man in the right place. He was not only busy at his factory but page 187he also was at work interesting people in it, and as a result a small body of the leading men in Christchurch, including His Worship the Mayor (Mr. Ruddenklau), and the energetic President of the Industrial Association (Mr. A.G Howland), paid a visit, on April 20, 1883, to the inauguration of the first carpet factory south of the line; a red letter day truly this, not only for the promoter but also for the whole colony of New Zealand, and particularly for Christchurch, the seat of the industry.
The start was made in an unpretending building on the Ferry-road, known as the Christchurch Quay, on the banks of the Heathcote, when the plant consisted of seven looms, four of which were at work turning out Kidderminster and all-wool dutch carpets, and rugs. After about twelve months, finding his premises too small to enable him to meet the demand for his carpets, he purchased a section close to the Heathcote bridge and built on it a brick factory giving office room and accommodation for 24 looms; a brick dye house with a 12 h.p. engine, and a brick dwelling house. We give an illustration showing these. There are now 14 looms, and we are glad to say that the demand for this new local industry is thoroughly established and steady.