Chancery Square is a special little place in the heart of Auckland city.
Nestled in between beautiful Albert Park and the bustle of midtown, Chancery Square has always been an intriguing part of Auckland city. Since the first land sale in 1841, it has constantly evolved along with the city, experiencing both the ups and the downs. Today it is a vibrant, thriving and charming modern village square, where people can step out of the busy, loud city and into a more intimate place to connect, relax and reenergise.
Whether you have minutes to spare or hours to spend, each visit to Chancery Square brings intriguing new discoveries.
There’s something for all occasions, appetites, tastes and budgets from its eclectic range of flavours, to its lifestyle stores and events. Chancery Square is a place that evolves as day turns to night and seasons change. There’s always a reason to be drawn back and explore its charming cobblestone courtyard and lane ways. Chancery Lane reminds us about the little things and about community. It’s a perfect example of why Auckland is the world’s most liveable city.
The History of Chancery SQ
The Court House in High Street, formerly the Wesleyan Chapel, unknown date. Ref 4-774, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library.
NZ Map 91, Sir George Grey Special Collections
NZ Express Company's Central Sample Rooms, top of Courthouse Lane, fronting Victoria Quadrant, from 1906.
New building built in 1990s in place of the Central Sample Rooms.
Documents date the first land sale to the year 1841, making Chancery one of Auckland’s earliest areas of European settlement. It has come a long way since then too, having gone from being one of the worst slums in Auckland to being a crown jewel of the inner city.
Redevelopment of the three city blocks on the south side of Chancery Street provided an opportunity to undertake a detailed archaeological and historical investigation of one of the areas. Excavations uncovered structural remains of the Mechanics Institute, which was established for the education of the working class, but which also served as the meeting place for many other early organisations. Evidence of early timber cottages dating back to the 1840s were also recovered, including the workshop and initial residence of William Bacon, who amongst many other things was Auckland's first ginger beer brewer.
Analysis of 19th century artefacts found during the excavations (including many directly associated with the ginger beer brewery) provided new information on the range of manufactured goods available to early Aucklanders.
Research into the social and topographical history of the site also found documents about the ownership and tenancy use of many of the buildings and allotments.
For more on the history of Chancery: