Shaw Shop History

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The front part of the shop occupied by K. Shaw Ltd for 64 years, was built in 1912 for Haswell Bros, opening on 13/12/1912. 

The business was a grocery and general store. They had previously been where Howards Hardware were until recently, at the front where the plant arcade was.


A story published previously was incorrect as to the origin of the shop. The building was 60’ (about 15m) with a frontage of 40’ (7.5m). 

It was of two storeys with a brick front, costing somewhat over ₤1000 ($2000). 

A small lock up shop was in the front south corner being occupied by Mr H. Glackin, jeweller. 

In 1915 Mr Harry Hughes operated a bakery in the small shop. In 1920 Mr McLean took it over and stayed until 1924 when Harry Hughes returned as proprietor.

In 1916 Mr Thomas Broome, who operated a general store in Weraroa, where Jan Romans recently was, bought Haswell Bros business operating it until 1921 when Mr James (Jimmy) Rimmer bought the business. 

At some time before 1921 [corrected to: 1917], Mr Frank Gooding had acquired the ownership of the building which was on the original gravel reserve which stretches from the north end of the Mark II variety store to Bath Street, now owned by the Levin Borough. 

The population of Levin in 1921 was 1979. 

Mr Ken Shaw leased the shop in 1924. He had been in business in a hardware shop since 1921 having bought Mr A. Sim’s novelty hardware. This shop was sited where the south end of the post office is now. 

Upstairs, Miss Grace Gardner had a photographic studio from about 1915. 

Mr Archie Billens had the same business in the 1920’s probably following her, until 1952 when it was thought Mr Don Nairn operated the business. 

The Taieri dining rooms opened upstairs in 1915 operated by Misses Jessie and Helen McKegg. They came from the Taieri area in Otago. Jessie held a marine oil engineer certificate being the first lady in the southern hemisphere to do so. She assisted her brothers run a launch service on the Taieri River, but she never learnt to drive a car. 

1950 saw the birth of three businesses that still exist today. Mrs V.M. Harris operated the British Book Club in the main part of the floor from 1953 to 1956. Wanting to travel to Dunedin she had to go to Wellington to book travel arrangements so she vowed to start a travel agency. 

She had a travel desk in the book club, later forming the Levin Travel Centre Ltd, now the Levin United Travel in the Mall. 

Mrs Hopkins had a womenswear shop on the floor about the same period. This was the beginning of the business Dianne Louise, which operated under several proprietors in the old municipal building moving when the building was partly demolished, to near the post office, as Zillah Modes. 

Mr W. L. (Wally) Clark took over the photographic studio going into electronic sound and using the studio as a sound recording studio from the late 1950s where he recorded several bands and artists around the Horowhenua and Wellington area. Though not his first business site, it was a stepping stone to the Sound Centre. 

Mr Ken Shaw bought the building in 1959. The back part of the shop was built in 1963 filling in the open space to the back shed which was improved. 

When this shed was built is unknown but probably was partly built over the years. The stairway was shifted from beside the corner shop to the south side in 1963. For many years the frontage had an island window which was removed in 1963. The family business was conducted by Messrs Alec and Ian Shaw from 1960 to 1985. From then Mr Alasdair Shaw [corrected to: Alec son] conducted the business. 

Upstairs one of the first coffee bars in Levin, often open until the late hour of 1-2am, was operated by Mrs Di Mattina as the Green Door from about 1958 or 1959. 

The Levin Taxation Service now uses part of the floor. The remainder is the Levin Jaycee Lounge. 

K. Shaw Ltd. closed the shop recently. [Hand written at bottom of article: Leader & Watt bought building for whiteware etc. 1990.]

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Shaw Shop History


Creator:Corrie Swanwick
Creation date:30/05/1990
Publisher:The News