Henri Citron had been in business in Akaroa as a dispensing chemist and druggist for five or six years when he moved his business, in 1883, into brand-new, larger premises on Rue Lavaud.
The two-storeyed, hip-roofed shop was designed for Citron by a Christchurch architect, Thomas Cane (who also designed the Grand Hotel at about the same time). The building’s Italianate style is emphasised by the Classical detailing – pilasters and a moulding between the floors – on its street frontages. Most of Akaroa’s commercial buildings have housed different businesses in succession, but this building has been a chemist’s shop for its entire life.
Between 1881 and 1926 it was run by the members of one family, the Dodds. More remarkably, the business was bought in 1935 by Richard Stewart and in 2007 his son, also Richard, was still the town’s chemist.
The building nearly burned down in 1940 when an aircraft crashed into a nearby shop. The Rue Croix frontage was severely damaged, but was rebuilt.