Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, Volume 2, Issue 2, 1988

19th Century Nelson Hotels—Part Two

19th Century Nelson Hotels—Part Two

page 16

The Wakefield Arms was on section 12 Wakefield Quay, next to the New Zealand Company's office and immigration barracks. It was licensed in 1842 by Joseph Hoare, who Isaac Mason Hill records as the first man to drive a gig in Nelson (1). Hoare retired in 1843 to become a merchant. Subsequent landlords included John Goodman and George Schroder.

In January 1848 there was a report of moa bones being left there by a ship's captain. The Wakefield Arms was advertised for sale as a going concern in June 1848, but no further references to it have been found.

The Pier Hotel was built on section 34 at the Port by Hooper & Co in 1859. It was licensed by Joseph Winterburn and had nine rooms. In 1885 a new Pier Hotel was built alongside the existing building. The Pier closed 9 September 1967 and was demolished 1 October 1967.

Pier Hotel about 1887. Original building at left. Tyree Collection NPM

Pier Hotel about 1887. Original building at left. Tyree Collection NPM

page 17

The Albion Hotel was over the road from the Pier, at the entrance to the Albion Wharf. It was licensed by Frederick Stock in April 1859. Later landlords were Hugh Cottier and Samuel Wadman. It ceased operating as an hotel in the 1880s. The building was demolished in 1910 and the site was later used for the Port police station.

The Ship Hotel was licensed in 1866 by William Wright, in a building put up in 1861 and added to in 1865. It was on section 35 at the Port and later landlords included James Jacks and Joseph Moreling. The name changed to the Tasman Hotel in 1912 and the hotel closed 16 July 1966, making way for the present Tasman Tavern.

The Customhouse Hotel was built in 1865, opposite Akersten's store at the Port. John Hitchcock was the first licensee and others included Mrs Beaver, John Gilmer and then his wife. In the early hours of 26 November 1903 the hotel was gutted by a fire, which also destroyed the Union Steamship Company's Office. Frank Dakin the landlord, his family and other occupants escaped with minor injuries, but Mr Bridle lost his bicycle.

In 1904 Mr Dakin advertised that he would be in possession of the new Customhouse Hotel on the first of June, and that it would include electric light throughout. This building has survived.

The Haven Inn was licensed by William Crowther in 1854 and stood on section 39 Haven Road, at the bottom of Russell Street. In September 1856 Crowther respectfully advised lovers of the sport of skittle-playing that a large and commodious covered skittleground was now attached to the Haven Inn.

In the Police Court in April 1858, William Crowther accused Charles Hamilton of forcibly entering the Haven Inn and assaulting him. Crowther had hit Hamilton over the head with a soda bottle. The case was dismissed and both men were bound over to keep the peace.

At the licensing meeting in April 1858 the name was changed to the Northumberland Arms. John Marsden took the hotel over from Crowther in March 1860 and changed the name to the Steamboat Tavern. The hotel was rebuilt about 1864, with Henry Silvester Bush as landlord. Frederick Stock took over in 1872, but died two years later. The Steamboat Tavern had closed by 1887.

The Sutherland Arms was built on section 60 at Auckland Point and was licensed by Alexander McKay in April 1843. In 1844 it was advertised to let, "being on the principal landing-place, commands the safest and most respectable business in Nelson." Thomas Bryant, a freemason, took over and, in 1845, provided the New Year dinner for the Oddfellows. Bryant was followed by William Taylor, who changed the name to the Freemason's Arms. Taylor presided from 1846 until his licence was suspended in 1850. The suspension resulted from an inquest into the death of Joseph Phipps, who died from a fall after drinking in the Freemason's Arms. There was controversy over Taylor's role in the affair, in continuing to serve alcohol to a man who had had enough.

Taylor was followed by Henry Williams and Stephen Adam, with the name changing to the Sir Charles Napier Inn in the late 1850s. In 1857 the property was purchased by Frederick Stock who built a new hotel next door and the old hostelry closed. The building survived as a private residence, until it was taken by the Provincial Government as part of the gasworks site in 1871.

The London Tavern, built in 1857 on section 60, was double-storeyed, with thirteen rooms. In January 1858 the Nelson Examiner reported that Mr F. Stock had opened his spacious hotel with a sumptuous dinner, and the toast drunk "success to the landlord". It suffered a succession of landlords and by 1873 had ceased to operate as an hotel. It became a boarding house and private residence, until finally taken for school grounds in the 1970s.

page 18

The Shipwright's Arms, on section 61 Haven Road, was licensed by Frederick Freeman in 1860. The six-roomed mud and wood house had been built in 1856. It was taken over by Stephen Adam in 1861 and renamed the Anchor Inn in 1862. Adam died in 1864 and the hotel was then run by his widow, Ann, until the late 1870s. A new Anchor Inn was built in 1883, with Benjamin Osborne becoming landlord and a name change to the Clarendon Hotel. It closed in the 1890s and became a boarding-house.

In the 1960s it became the Glyn Rae Guesthouse and, in 1983, the building was moved to Founders Park, where it was refurbished as the Anchor Inn.

The Bridge Hotel was built on section 71, opposite Saltwater Bridge, in 1856. It had sixteen rooms and was run by the shortlived partnership of John Taylor and Isaac Freeth. In 1860 the name changed to the Victoria Hotel and, in 1861, James Hesketh advertised that a skittle alley was now open at the hotel. The building had gone by 1873, the site later being used for the Haven Road School.

Globe Hotel about 1894. Maguire Collection NPM

Globe Hotel about 1894. Maguire Collection NPM

The Globe Hotel was built on section 72 in 1872 and licensed by George Naylor in June 1873. Timothy Devine presided from 1887 until 1902. In May 1904 J W Jacobs advertised that the Globe had been lately rebuilt and newly furnished.

The Post Boy Hotel, at the corner of Vanguard and Gloucester Streets, was licensed by George Potter in 1868, in a house built in 1866. His widow continued to run the hotel for several years after his death in 1872. The building was condemned by the Licensing Committee in 1930 and a new hotel opened in December of that year, with the name The Club. In March 1939 the name reverted to the Post Boy. The Fleece Tavern was built at the corner of Nile Street and what is now Rutherford Street in page 19
Post Boy Hotel about 1887. Tyree Collection NPM

Post Boy Hotel about 1887. Tyree Collection NPM

1858. George Richardson held the licence until his death in 1869. The name changed to the Golden Fleece in the early 1860s. The hotel was the venue for Nelson Building Society meetings for many years. In May 1904 Alexander Handel advertised that he had taken the Golden Fleece, which had been thoroughly renovated and refurnished — "accommodation and liquor will speak for themselves".

The hotel was rebuilt in 1916. An application was granted in December that year for the Golden Fleece to carry on in temporary premises. The new building was half completed, but the contractors were experiencing difficulty in obtaining bricklayers. On the application of Mr E Moore, the name was changed to that of the Dominion Hotel.

The Rising Sun Hotel, in Waimea Road near the corner with Van Dieman Street, was built in 1857 and licensed by John Goldsworthy in 1858.T Martin presided in the 1860s, followed by H Hall, J R Gilbert and Alfred Bradley. The hotel was rebuilt in 1883 and continues in the same building.

The Prince of Wales Hotel was in Collingwood Street, between Nile and Manuka Streets. It was run by Joseph Edwards, in a five-roomed cottage, from 1864 to 1867. Its moment of fame came in August 1866, when a barman rescued nine year old Henry Webb from a runaway horse and took him into the hotel. Henry suffered broken bones, but there was hope of a recovery.

The Baker's Arms stood in Nile Street East, midway between Alton and Tasman Streets. The census of 1849 recorded it as a brick building. In July 1849 Edward Laney page 20advertised that he had obtained a licence for the Baker's Arms, where he would retail the best ale, wines and spirits to be procured in the settlement. Good beds were available and also a stockyard for the accommodation of bullocks.

On Boxing Day 1849 Christmas sports were held on an acre adjoining the Baker's Arms, consisting of jingling, running for a pig, jumping in sacks, bobbing for treacle loaves, etc. Andrew Devaney took the licence in 1851, followed by Miles Simpson in 1853. Simpson changed the name to the Prince Albert Inn and the hotel closed in 1857. The building was used to house refugees from Taranaki in 1860/61 and was demolished in 1862.

The Prince Albert Hotel was built in 1857, a little further along Nile Street East from its namesake. Owned by Hooper and Dodson, the first licence holder was Joseph Edwards. He was followed by G Herwin and William Good. The Prince Albert was rebuilt in 1888, opening on 12 November of that year, and this building survives today.

The Bush Tavern, on section 282 Grove Street, was built in 1858 with nine rooms Thomas Gaukrodger was the first licensee and James Saunders presided through the 1860s. The hotel was rebuilt in 1884 and in January of that year there was a report of an accident at the new Bush Tavern. A workman fell 17 feet from the roof into a cellar, suffering bruises and broken ribs. The Bush continues in this same building.

A number of relatively short-lived establishments sprang-up in the 1860s. Alfreds Amos and Parmenter licensed their workshop in Trafalgar Square as the Builders Arms in 1866.

In Trafalgar Street, Edwin Smallbone licensed Blue Posts in 1865 and John Lewthwaite took the Nelson Family Hotel the same year. This was next to the Bank of New Zealand and changed its name to the Criterion, before closing in 1866.

On the north side of Bridge Street, between Trafalgar and Collingwood Streets, were the Lord Nelson (1865–1872) and the Geelong & Ballarat Hotel (1865–1868).

Further along Bridge Street the Prince Alfred enjoyed a brief existence, between the Thistle Hotel and the present Provincial Lane, in 1859–60.

Information on a fire in the old Royal Hotel, Bridge Street, in March 1915, has been found since writing part one of this article. The replacement for this building combined with the Metropolitan Private Hotel on the corner, to open as the new Royal Hotel in 1916.


1. Hill, I.M. Diary 1843/44 NPM.


Nelson Board of Works Rating rolls 1857–1876. NPM

Nelson Breweries Ltd Archives 1865–1972. NPM