Mrs. Jane Harris must have had great faith in her son, William Henry Harris, when she agreed to mortgage the family home so he could buy into a partnership with ‘Canterbury Wire Works’.
Her faith paid off when the business became the largest of its kind in Christchurch (the telephone number being 200) and also became the family’s legacy, named ‘W.H. Harris, Sheet Metal and Wireworks’.
William Henry Harris was born in Christchurch on 2nd February 1869. After he finished his schooling, he became an apprentice at a tinsmith. Adding another partnership, with “Wood Plumbers, Gasfitters and Tinsmith” in 1887, he was the sole owner by 1890. Having had shops and factories firstly at Lichfield and Colombo Streets – the company began its trade making tin baths, milking buckets and churns and even baking trays and tins.
Today, known as Harris Home Fires (W.H. Harris Ltd), the Harris family are still at the helm of this Christchurch owned and operated business. The present-day business is renowned for manufacturing the Woodsman range of home heating. The ‘aim of the company is to unite the newest combustion technology with modern design’ with the use of ‘state of art computer operated machinery to manufacture sheet metal components …’.
It is situated at 41 Braddon Street in Addington.
William Henry Harris died in 1938 and is buried at Bromley Cemetery.
*image courtesy of Woodmans – http://woodsman.co.nz*