“Clink!” The sound of another recreationalist scoring in a round of frisbee golf. Though Chingford Park is now a leisurely playground for disc enthusiasts and the annual Creek Fest, the land was once a private estate of P.C. Neill.
This stone doll house was once the stables of Neill’s grand home, proof of the empire he had built for himself in a matter of decades. A Northern Irish immigrant, Neill founded Neill & Company in 1866, quickly growing as a top importer of wines, liquor, and other sundries.
At the company’s height, its massive headquarters towered over downtown Dunedin. Known as the Universal Bond building, it was so prominent that it gave its name to Bond Street in the city, which even exists to this day though the building has since been destroyed.
Though he was running one of the top companies in the city, P.C. kept busy, presiding over the Chamber of Commerce, remaining an active member of the Harbour Board, and even was an honorary consul to France.
Though Neill’s stables may no longer “neigh,” they are quite neighborly serving as event space for gatherings for the surrounding community. For a man who made quite the impact on this coastal city, it only makes sense his old estate is a gathering place for generation upon generation of city dwellers. Just watch your head for the frisbees.
Written by: Seamus McMahon