Vulcan Lane

Ref: 4-377, looking west towards Queen St, Auckland Central showing the south side of Vulcan Lane, 1880s, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Vulcan Lane. Just the name has nifty ring to it although interestingly, the city never actually did come up with the name intentionally – it was simply a nickname that stuck. According to the Auckland City Street Names Index, it was “Previously Victoria Lane. Named after the Vulcan Foundry, High Street” (see p.31)

Ref: 4-1776, looking west from O'Connell St showing Vulcan Lane, 1919, Sir George Grey Special Collections
The lane has an interesting history - a fire destroyed much of the area in 1850, and two prominent hotels (still standing today) opened in the decades following - the Queen's Ferry Hotel in the 1860s (pp. 31, 54) and the Occidental Hotel in the 1870s (pp. 31, 53). By the 1890s the lane was overcrowded and getting rather a bad reputation, although there were still professional offices in the street.
Ref: 7-A4199, looking east from Queen St towards High St, showing Vulcan Lane before reconstruction as a mall, 1968, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Auckland Council’s Bush Index, a searchable database, tells us more about Vulcan Lane’s evolution in the 20th century. In 1923 it was recommended that Vulcan Lane become a one way street, and in 1964, 27 retailers petitioned council to make it a pedestrian only thoroughfare.

Ref: 580-16047, Looking east showing the laying of the footpath in Vulcan Lane, Auckland, 1968 , Sir George Grey Special Collections
In 1967 the council allotted $13,000 to pave Vulcan Lane as a pedestrian only street with seats and trees. Before the decade was out, the project was completed.  Now, half a century on, Vulcan Lane is a much loved part of Auckland, as much for its quaintness, as for its usefulness in getting from High Street down to Queen… or for pausing for a drink at one of the establishments down the lane.

Ref: 580-16056, Looking west showing the laying of the footpath in Vulcan Lane, Auckland, Queen Street, 1968, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Author: Joanne Graves, Auckland Research Centre


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