The Scott Brothers' Atlas Foundry, circa 1885 (Christchurch City Libraries)
Mysterious Colombo Street Furnaces
beneath the car park at 550 Colombo St
In 2012, six furnaces were found buried on the old Smith City site at 550 Colombo Street. The furnaces were photographed, sketched, measured, and generally documented in detail. Then they were covered up again with clean sand, which is the internationally accepted best practice for preserving archaeological sites.
They remain in situ, out the back of what is now Coffee Supreme.
The most likely explanation is that they were part of the Atlas Foundry which was run by the Scott Brothers and operated from 1876 until the 1940s. Foundries use furnaces to heat metal and these could have played part of the manufacturing process. The Atlas Foundry made Atlas ranges (stoves), farm machinery, street lamps, and locomotives from cast steel.
Find out more
550 Colombo Street, Christchurch: Report on Archaeological Monitoring, by Andy Dodd and Graeme Richardson, 2012 (Authority No 2012/202eq) is available for download through the Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Digital Library
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