In 1949 the old Grammar School building on Symonds Street was completely destroyed by fire.
At the time of the fire the building housed the Workers’ Educational Association, the Goodwin Marionette Theatre and Elam School of Art. Elam had occupied the premises from 1932.
The damage incurred, to Elam School of Art property, amounted to nearly £50,000, the equivalent of $3.2 million today.
While the fire had a significant financial impact on the school, arguably the biggest loss was on the artistic level. The fire destroyed the artworks and art materials of a number of students and staff. The most affected was the artist and teacher John Weeks who lost a collection of nearly 200 original paintings, watercolours and sketches.
Click on the link to view a list of the artworks lost to the fire.
Linda Tyler’s recent article published in the June issue of The University of Auckland News discusses the fire and the painting John Weeks created in response to the witnessed destruction (Tyler, 2010).
Fine Arts Library
Tyler, L. (2010). From the collection. The University of Auckland News, 40(6), 7. Retrieved from http://www.auckland.ac.nz/webdav/site/central/shared/for/the-media/publications/university-news/2010-issues/uoa_news_issue_6_2010.pdf