A selection of photographs and a drawing of Millers department store from the collection of the Christchurch City Council Heritage team.
Part of the Cantage Records and Archives Week 2010 exhibition
The Millers Building was designed in 1935 by G A Hart and housed the head office, factory and principal retail store for the successful textile merchant Millers Ltd. When the building was completed in 1939 it was considered the height of modern architectural design in New Zealand. Millers textile and apparel manufacturers company had been established in 1921 by L .B. Miller. By 1939 it was one of the largest retail and manufacturing companies in the country with 23 branch shops. Millers Ltd made thousands of uniforms and great-coats for New Zealand soldiers in the Second World War.
Miller’s claimed to be the most modern factory in New Zealand at the time, and was a leader in catering for staff well-being. Attention was paid to lighting for the machinists, and to air conditioning the building which was guaranteed to “provide air as fresh as one could find in the mountains”. Employees were able to work and play under the one roof with three-quarters of an acre of space in the building being dedicated to staff recreation needs; such work conditions were relatively rare in the country at the time.