Brown's Mill

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The original building was located next door to the Blue Stone in Durham Lane but was demolished in the 1980s

Auckland’s first permanent craft market was Brown’s Mill Market, commonly referred to as The Mill.

Set up by a group of 10 craftspeople, it operated as a collective, gambling on the hope that Aucklanders were interested in craft and in shopping at the weekends - both moderately unconventional ideas in 1968.

With plans to open on Fridays and Saturdays, they were initially curtailed by court action from the Queen Street Business Association who opposed trading on Saturdays. They won that battle and became a role model for others like Cook Street Markets before Saturday trading, which had been banned since 1945, was reintroduced in 1980.

Located in a disused flour mill that was built in Durham Lane on the south side of the Bluestone Room, The Mill still had the original millstones, exposed ceiling beams and a kauri coal-shoot that had delivered the fuel for the steam driven mill.The venture was immediately successful and the 10 members soon became 20, joined by others such as knitwear designer Pierrette Viscoe and her husband artist Warren Viscoe, Gabrielle Sinton who made soft leather bags and fabric artist Susan Holmes, who joined in 1971 and remained there for 12 years. It is here that Susan honed her craft and literally sold thousands of one-off hand printed and dyed dresses, tops, skirts and coats.

Like many other architectural icons in the city in the 1980s, The Mill fell victim to ruthless property developers and was demolished despite a full heritage listing.

Read more at www.nzfashionmuseum.org.nz/browns-mill

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