The site of the new Waterloo Business Park has a long history of industry.
On 2 November 1869 the first New Zealand meat preserving works was opened on this site and this act launched a major industrial change in the nation. In 1888 John Cooke and James McNeight Watt secured the preserving works property for their Christchurch Meat Company and in July of the following year S.S. Doric sailed with the first shipment of frozen meat from the Islington Works. It was also in 1889 that the Islington township was surveyed.
Over the years numerous buildings were constructed to house the many and varied operations of the works and it wasn’t long before it employed over 500 workers – bringing hundreds of families to live in Islington. Everyone worked at ‘The Works’ and many other community spaces and businesses came about because of the population it brought to the area.
In the 150 years since the site was first developed – fires have destroyed a few buildings, others were brought down to make way for new; the company changed hands a number of times and competitors came and went. Significantly, a number of historic buildings remain to tell the stories of those who have gone before and we are taking a careful approach to their refurbishment and redevelopment. Our hope is that we can retain a number of buildings and keep the story of Islington alive.
It was a pioneering spirit that saw the freezing works become a progressive and prosperous place of business and that same pioneering spirit is at the heart of the latest development on site – Waterloo Business Park.
Check out some historic photos of the site here.