Accountants’ Chambers

Accountants ChambersThis is one of the few early office buildings in Whanganui still serving its original purpose, having been designed to serve as chambers for a firm of accountants. The architect was Charles Reginald Ford who practised in Whanganui from 1913 until 1923 when he moved to Auckland and went into partnership with William Gummer. The architectural practice of Gummer and Ford was one of the most prominent in New Zealand in the mid-twentieth century.

In 1919 Edwin Martell (Mat) Silk commissioned Ford to design his new building for his accountancy practice of Silk & Haworth. Silk had first established the public accountancy and land agency firm of Fairburn and Silk in Whanganui in 1905, working from premises in Ridgway Street and later Victoria Avenue. After the First World War, Silk took on Arthur Haworth as his partner and they moved into their new offices in Maria Place in March 1920. The building was constructed by Walpole & Patterson and cost £3,470 to build.

In the 1920s, RI (Dick) Sewell joined the practice which became known as Silk, Haworth & Hill until 1937 when Bryan Silk joined his father and the partnership was dissolved. Silk Hill & Silk moved out of Maria Place in 1938 but the partnership of Haworth, Sewell & Haworth remained in the Accountants’ Chambers with Bailey Haworth having joined the firm in the 1930s. In 1946 EH Christie joined the partnership which best became known as Haworth, Sewell & Christie. Angus Wilson joined the firm in 1950 and by the 1960s the firm was known as Sewell & Wilson, the name it still has today. The family tradition continued when Michael Sewell and Douglas Wilson took over from their fathers and both are still involved with the firm today.

Maria Place 26
Whanganui 4500 Manawatu-Wanganui NZ
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