Bingham placed in liquidation

Members of the public inspect masonry equipment during the Bingham and Co liquidation auction in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Members of the public inspect masonry equipment during the Bingham and Co liquidation auction in Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Bingham and Co, one of Dunedin's oldest companies, has been placed in liquidation after battling to keep afloat because of high business costs and the illness of managing director Bruce Blucher.

The company was started in Dunedin, by Henry Sydney Bingham, about 1911, and has been involved in much of the major stonework in the city and its environs.

Liquidator Iain Nellies, of Insolvency Management Ltd, said the company was involved in the construction of a private mausoleum for overseas investors in the Mackenzie Country which proved "uneconomic".

Prices had been fixed for the project meaning the company was hit by rising costs in materials.

It was put into liquidation on July 7 after a resolution by the five shareholders, including Mr Blucher.

He declined to comment when contacted yesterday.

In its early days, H. S. Bingham Monumental Masons, as the company was known until 1980, worked on almost all the building jobs in Dunedin where stonework was required including First Church renovations in 1933, Knox College, St Matthew's Church renovation, Caversham Presbyterian Church, Hanover St Baptist Church, Olveston and the Savoy building.

The company also created various war memorials, including the cenotaph at Queens Gardens and the McKenzie Memorial Cairn on Puketapu Hill above Palmerston.

Henry Sydney Bingham built the marble stairs in the Otago Museum and Regent Theatre.

He arrived in Dunedin, from London, in 1905, and secured work at one shilling and sixpence an hour, on the new Dunedin Railway Station.

He found work as a mason with George Lawrence, who was building the Musselburgh School.

When this job finished, Mr Bingham bought into Munro Monumental Masons in Moray Pl, at some stage changing its name to H. S. Bingham.

The company's involvement in significant stonework continued in recent years.

Ian Bingham, the grandson of Henry Sydney Bingham and son of Claude Bingham, was involved in the company for 44 years including 28 years as owner.

He sold the company to the present shareholders in March 2003.

In 2001, Ian Bingham sculpted the Millennium Cross which was placed at Queens Gardens.

In 2007, the company replaced each of the 14 chimneys on Larnach Castle, on Otago Peninsula, and repaired the 88-year-old Rongahere War Memorial, near Beaumont.

Mr Bingham said it was disappointing the company had been put into liquidation especially as it still bore his surname.

Mr Nellies said in a report 45 creditors were owed money, including 40 who were unsecured.

The total amount owing and whether a dividend would be paid to creditors had yet to be established.

Much of the company's debt related to advances made by the five shareholders, he said.

Yesterday, many of the company's assets were put up for sale at an on-site auction at its Vogel St premises.

For sale were granite slabs, headstones, plinths, and obelisks as well as tools and vehicles.

The money raised from the auction would be put towards any outstanding debts.

Bruce's Masonry

I worked with Bruce on the great Arrowtown castle project, building a mansion out of schist. We had a remarkable crew of untrained masons. This was early 1980's. He was/is an excellent mason, and I was deeply saddened to hear about the demise of his business. Where is he now?

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