Bell Tea Corner, Dunedin NZ

On the corner of Hope and Carroll Streets stands a very distinctive industrial building with a bell on top. This is the Bell Tea Company which produced tea for the South Island until 2014. Sadly the owner had to abandon tea production here when it was found to be too costly to upgrade the building to the new standard required after the Christchurch earthquake. (Their Christchurch building was destroyed by the earthquake and subsequently demolished – fortunately no-one was injured).

Dunedin has been producing Bell Tea since 1898 and in this plant from 1924.  The company was founded by Norman Harper Bell who was born in Melbourne, Australia and arrived in Dunedin in 1894. The trademark Bell Tea was registered in 1898.

Credit: I gleaned most of this information from an article in the Otago Daily Times 22 April 2014 Bell Tea to close Dunedin factory


Bell Tea Building, Dunedin, New Zealand

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Text and Photos by Liz; Exploring Colour (2018)

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9 thoughts on “Bell Tea Corner, Dunedin NZ

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  1. How sad that the owner could not afford the necessary upgrades on this magnificent old building. One would think that there should have been some resources available to assist, as it is an old company. It appears to be the largest building on the street. I love that bell! Thank-you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What an interesting chunky building with lovely big windows. It would be neat to see it from the inside and how the light plays around in what looks like massive space. I like your last image that shows the buildings to the right with the arched entries stepping up the hill.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s very typical of Dunedin old residential buildings in the city area. Terraced houses on a slope as there’s lots of hilly streets. They were often very nicely designed to begin with in terms of street appeal and many have been ‘done up’ and are attractive to look at. Ones that are very close to the Octagon (city centre) generally have businesses in them. Further out they’re more likely to be student flats as the university is just north of the city centre.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. With luck another use will be found for the building. Many of the older buildings in Charleston have met that fate several times over. Because of the city regulations many of the old, and historic, buildings can only be renovated, not demolished.

    That does keep the city with an old time southern charm, until new cracks appear. Then it’s close, repair, start again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Old buildings can be really problematic here. A few decades ago they could just be demolished no problem and we lost some lovely buildings. Now the Historic Places Trust has a lot of power and there’s the local Council consents to navigate and there’s strict fire and earthquake regulations. Sometimes an owner finds its too expensive to renovate, they may not be allowed to demolish, and a building will just sit there looking a complete eyesore and slowly decaying – ‘demolition by neglect’ is a term I’ve heard. A few years ago the Dunedin Council got a really amazing City Planner who worked hard to enable progress with the historic buildings and it made an incredible difference. He’s gone now but set the groundwork for big improvements.

      Liked by 1 person

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