The Sandringham Shopping Centre development started with Warings Corner around 1915. This was followed by a number of buildings in the 1920s.
The Western side, close to the intersection of Kitchener Road, was initially developed in the early 1920s with the Eastern side following in the late 1920s after drainage was improved.
Today’s Sandringham Road was known as ‘Cabbage Tree Swamp Road’ until 1877, when the Mt Albert Highway District board resolved, “at the request of the inhabitants” to change the name to the Kingsland Road.”
The name ‘Cabbage Tree Swamp Road’ however, appeared to have initially extended much further, including the Western Springs Road, leading from New North to Great North roads in 1851.
Whereas original crown grantees of land in the 1840s in Auckland were usually merely speculation investors, in 1857 Henry Hardington purchased allotment 45, to the South-East of the Sandringham area, and appeared on a list of occupiers in 1862 petitioning for a special rate to improve the road. He sold his farm two years later but his presence indicated the beginnings of the period of European occupation of this part of the district.
Another early land owner in the Sandringham area was Rev Alexander French, who arrived in Auckland in 1858. He was the first master of Mt Albert District School. By 1864, he owned a farm extending from the corner of St Lukes Road and Sandringham Road to Fowlds Avenue (including the site of Edendale School); and allotment 161, which covered a part of the area of the present day Shopping Centre.
The Mt Albert Highway Board apparently placed one of their two toll gates at the corner of the Cabbage Tree Swamp Road and Page’s original wooden store on New North Road, to earn revenue for their road maintenance and construction budget.
From the turn of the Century, the district came to be known as Edendale. This may have originated from the names given to the subdivisions of the farms at the time, a number known as ‘Town of Edendale Extension.’
Kingsland Road became known as Edendale Road by 1912. The name Sandringham Road was used from the early 1930s.
The Sandringham area was described as desolate, strewn with boulders and flooded in parts almost all year round from Eden Park to the present Sandringham Shopping Centre. The area was mainly used for dairy farms and to provide road access over flooded areas a number of stone bridges were formed including Newbolds Bridge near Eden Park and Gribble’s Bridge near Gribblehirst Park.
The subdivision of the larger farm allotments into residential sites and the formation of side streets off Sandringham Road in the area of the Shopping Centre occurred between 1908 and 1910. The early pattern of original allotments has resulted in the bend in Sandringham Road in the heart of the Shopping Centre.
The provision of the electric tram service along Sandringham Road was later than Dominion Road, which started in 1908, because a rail over-bridge had to be constructed near the junction with New North Road in Kingsland.
The extension to the Sandringham Shopping Centre was completed by March 1925. The tram service was an important catalyst for further commercial development, particularly during the 1920s, clustered around the intersection of Sandringham and Kitchener roads.
Surrounding residential development also increased and included a large number of state houses built in the area in the 1930s Throughout the 1920s to 1950s, the shops catered for most of the daily needs of surrounding residents and included butchers, bakers, fruiterers, drapers, dairies, fishmongers, chemists and stationers.
As the residential population in surrounding streets steadily increased the range of services provided in the Shopping Centre expanded to include the Mayfair Picture Theatre in 1929, the Sandringham Reserve in 1925, public toilets in 1930 and a purpose built Post Office in 1956.
The Centre retains its early buildings including intact groups of one and two storied 1920s – 1940s buildings. A number of the buildings in Sandringham Shopping Centre have been designed by well-known architectural practices such as A Sinclair O’Connor, Massey Hyland and Phillips and R A Abbott.
The Shopping Centre has a number of good examples of the shop-with-dwelling type that was built in many commercial centres around this time.
Source: Auckland City Council