Charles Fearnley Collection


Documenting the urban streetscape

The urban streetscape is frequently overlooked as we go about our daily lives. Often we don’t stop to take in, or appreciate our surroundings.

Charles Fearnley (1915-1988) was not someone who saw our urban centres and buildings as mundane, utilitarian, and passive objects which should fade into the background. Instead Fearnley, who was an architect and keen amateur photographer, made streetscape the main focus of his photographs. Going on long walks around the Wellington district, Fearnley made it his mission to document these overlooked areas. Although he was one of a small group of architects to bring in and adapt European Modernism to Aotearoa/New Zealand, he was interested in and passionate about the preservation of heritage buildings.

Taken in the 1980s, our collection of photographs by Charles Fearnley managed to capture central and suburban Upper Hutt. A lot of the buildings in the photographs no longer exist, or they have undergone significant alterations and adaptations. 


Vissers Garage Ltd; corner of Camp Street and Fergusson Drive, 1982


Shops on Fergusson Drive, 1983


Te Marua Stores; corner of Plateau Road and State Highway 2, 1981



Maidstone Mall interior, 1981



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