Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, Volume 1, Issue 1, October 1981
As the country area became more settled, travel began to increase, whether by foot or horseback, horse and cart or by sea, travellers were ready for refreshments by the time they reached Richmond. Enterprising settlers soon grasped the situation, and by 1848 two establishments were offering lodgings and hospitality in the form of refreshments, in the Main Street as Queen Street was then called.
Plough Inn – 1848–1899
Situated at the eastern end of Main Street, the Plough Inn was the first hotel seen by travellers from Nelson. It stood where the entrance to W. E. Wilkes' timber yard is today. A small iron plough was mounted on top of the gable overlooking the roadway, proclaiming to all passersby the name bestowed upon it. A skittle alley with a wooden floor was situated behind the building; it was a popular pastime, and the cause of numerous complaints on occasions when games continued till after one o'clock in the mornings. In 1856 it was the venue for the meetings convened to form the first school committee for the Waimea area, when 131 persons were reported to have been present.
Mr William Cleaver was the first landlord, following his death. Mrs Cleaver carried on until 1867. John Ryan 1874, J. R. Dodson 1890, Otto Haase 1893. James Butler 1895, Vernon Mullens 1898. The inn was purchased by Mr Wilkes in 1899 and was used as an office and wallpaper room until demolished after having stood almost 100 years.
Star and Garter – 1848–1981
Lower down Queen Street today, the Star and Garter Hotel still serves the travelling public and local people under the management of Mr Jack Pretty. The present roughcast building was built to replace the old wooden building which was demolished after being damaged by fire in 1950. The first building was sited off the roadway. A curved carriageway was a distinguishing feature of this hotel, only removed when the establishment was rebuilt, although several structural changes had been made. Mr J. R. Dodson was the owner in 1880 and onwards. Numerous landlords have served loyally over the years. Some who were there before 1900 were: 1860 R. Disher, 1865 R. Malcolm, 1867 T. W. Benfield, 1873 W. Tovey, 1886 J. Harris, 1892 Matthew Green, 1895–1903 J. Schroder, who was relieved by Mr Hurley and son. And so the list goes on spanning 133 years of service since George Snow conferred the name of a well known London Inn on the first hotel in Richmond.
Wheatsheaf – 1860–1873
Opposite the Star and Garter, on the corner of Queen and Cambridge Street, the Wheatsheaf was built in 1860. This hotel had a deep ditch in front and was bridged on the Cambridge Street side only. It was the downfall of many unwary travellers. Landlords were: 1860 W. Young, 1861 Charles Gentry, 1865 Mr J. Disher, 1867 Mr Balck. In 1873 it was burned down and not rebuilt.
Red Horse – 1865–1880
Just south of Jubilee Park (1981) stood the Red Horse. Built about 1865 with Mr T. Oxley as proprietor, followed by Henry Warren in 1867 William Ball was there in 1875. Cattle sales were held in the yards in 1880, and it was the depot for packages for H. Haycock's Riwaka Passenger service in 1879. A red horse in a perpetual prancing stance was erected high on the facade.
White Hart – 1867
Built in 1867 by George Moonlight, almost opposite the Red Horse, was the White Hart, displaying a white deer with wide spread antlers. Following George Moonlight was Mrs Kite in 1871, J. Hay 1888, Victor Granville 1889, Henry Satherley 1890, Mr Brocklebank 1898. It, too, was razed by fire and rebuilt as a boarding house. Mrs Windlebourne kept that for a number of years. John Sharp was owner in 1887. The Gladstone Park Motor Camp caretaker lives in the third building to be erected on the site.
On the lower corner of Queen Street and Gladstone Road stands the Railway Hotel, second of the two remaining hotels in Richmond today. It was erected in 1886. later than the others, near the Railway Station. The dining room with chairs for seating fifteen people had folding doors making it possible to enlarge the space to almost double. Saleyards erected on land adjacent to the hotel were the venue for stock sales for the Waimea until the late 1940's.
Mr J. A. Harley was the owner. Like the others it had many landlords over the years. Mr F. T. Lipscombe being the first, followed by A. H. Brind, Robert Disher, A. G. Hook, Alfred Mills in 1887, Felix Green 1888, George Moss 1891, Leon Simon 1893, Morgan O'Brien 1896, Thomas Newman 1897, Charles Mitchell 1898. At the present time it is under the management of Doris Mercer, in the original building.
Elephant and Castle – 1866
Just on the boundary of Richmond, on the main Road to Appleby, stood the Elephant and Castle, the seventh hotel serving travellers in the area. It, too, was named after an inn in South London. Built in 1866, it stood back from the roadway, surrounded by sycamore and elm trees. The dairy, store room and stables were of cobb. Henry Hubbard was the only proprietor listed. After his death in 1872, his wife soon ended the trading and used it as a private dwelling. A clump of elms on Taylor's property (1981) marks the site.