Rendells Dept Store: The Architect

William Alfred Holman

(1864-1949) FNZIA

William Holman was the son of Henry Holman (1812-1893) who had served as colonial architect and superintendent of public works during the administration of Governor William Hobson.

In 1841 Henry Holman married Elizabeth Morris in the Bay of Islands. Elizabeth Anne Morris (1824-1918) was a cousin the very famous 19th century English designer William Morris.

Holman trained under his father and opened his own practice in 1893.

Holman lived in Herne Bay with his wife Rose Gilberd (1860-1924), they had two daughters and one son. One of New Zealand’s most eminent architects, William Gummer, trained under William Holman.

In 1912 Holman was elected president of the Auckland branch of the New Zealand Institute of Architects

Holman retired in 1914 from active practice due to ill health, and remained an invalid until his death in 1949, aged 85.

His firm of Holman, Moses & Watkins was responsible for many commercial buildings; possibly the best known building is the Vulcan Building on the corner of Queen Street and Vulcan Lane, which housed the firm’s offices in the 1920s.