Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Queens Hotel site, Eden Terrace

Of the Eden Terrace pubs of old, there's the Edinburgh Castle of 1864 (still existing today), the Eden Vine of 1866 (first building gone, second building now retail) -- and third the Queens Hotel of 1867. Of the three, this is one whose traces are completely wiped out.

The original wooden Queens Hotel, at the northern corner of Symonds Street and Khyber Pass, was completed in May 1867 for Peter Robertson (Southern Cross 29 May 1867). He let it to one W H Ripley from around June that year, then took back the licence in March 1868.

Southern Cross 15 June 1867
A meeting of the residents in the Kyber Pass and Newmarket districts was held last evening at Robertson's Hotel, to consider whether the Newmarket portion of the district should be constituted a separate district. There were about thirty persons present ...
SC 23 September 1868

By around 1869, Joseph Rose appears to have both purchased the hotel, and was the publican.A bit more study into the land history would be needed to confirm this, but the Auckland City Council valuation records from as late as 1912 refer to the hotel as being owned by the Rose estate (ACC 213/171d, Auckland Council Archives). J Hanson was publican there for a time from 1877, then George J Panter, who transferred to the wonderfully named George Frederick Brimblecombe in September 1881.

Brimblecombe had arrived in Wellington just five months before, immediately meeting with a newsworthy mishap.

James West, seaman, was charged with stealing an umbrella, value 30s, the property of George Frederick Brimblecombe. Mr Brimblecombe, who arrived in Wellington by the s.s. Rotorua this morning, said he went into the Pier Hotel for refreshment shortly after his arrival, and left his umbrella on the counter in order to visit the back of the premises. On his return, two minutes afterwards, he found his umbrella had been stolen. Constable Laurie deposed that he succeeded in tracing the properly to the prisoner, who said he had taken it for a lark. The prisoner was evidently under the influence of drink, and his Worship considered him too "boozey" to know what he was about, and discharged him.
Evening Post 29 April 1881


Observer 22 September 1883

He seems to have quit the hotel a year after a disastrous fire along Khyber Pass and Symonds Street in September 1882 which missed destroying the hotel but still left a considerable amount in damage costs.

Next was Michael O'Connor, who in 1884 transferred his licence for the Queens Hotel  to James Hawkins. Hawkins seemed to have real trouble from those who reckoned he was trading on a Sunday -- and also due to his outdoor urinal.


Mr Cotter applied on behalf of Mr James Hawkins for a transfer of the license of the Queen's Hotel from Michael O'Connor.—Superintendent Thorn offered no objection to the applicant, who, he believed, had done his best. He might mention, however, that the granting of the extension of time until 11 o'clock had been somewhat inconvenient to the police, as it necessitated the placing of an extra constable there on Saturday evenings.—Mr Laver considered that an extra constable in the locality would be of greater service on Sunday nights, although Mr Hawkins had nothing to do with the drunkenness which prevailed on the Sunday. —Mr Aickin complained of the urinal by the side of the footpath, but which the applicant would remedy.—Mr Cotter suggested the propriety of extending licenses generally to 11 o'clock, which would remedy effects of which complaints had been made to Mr Thomson, —The Chairman did not agree with Mr Cotter's suggestion. The extension should only be granted where it was required.—The application was granted.
Auckland Star 8 September 1884

Queen's Hotel. Mr T. Cotter, on behalf of James Hawkins, applied for a renewal of the license of this hotel. The Chairman said that something had been said about additional stable accommodation required. Mr E. Cooper appeared on behalf of Mr W. H. Connell, the trustee of the premises, and said that the stable was not required. The Bench decided to grant the application and leave the other matters to be arranged. Mr D. Robertson testified to the excellent manner in which the hotel had been kept by the present licensee. He considered that the urinal required attention, and he thought for the sake of the hotel the stable accommodation ought to be improved. Mr Hawkins said that he had removed the urinal three times in five years. It was decided to leave these matters to be remedied by the licensee. Mr Cotter asked permission to extinguish the light in front of this hotel at 10 o'clock at night, which was granted. It was also decided that the urinal should be built of brick.
AS 8 June 1889

"Children standing on the pavement outside the Queens Hotel at the corner of Symonds Street (foreground) and Khyber Pass (right)", c1890s, reference 4-RIC347, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries.

Hawkins transferred to George Symons Budge in 1895, and Budge in turn transferred yp Charles Reinhardt in 1898. In 1903, Victor Cornaga was the licensee. By 1912, it was George Henry H Foster, followed by Stuart Garland c.1925.

A forewarning of the ultimate fate of the hotels here on this site came in 1924, when the Council arranged for the dedication of part of the hotel's site as a road. But still, the site's owners at that stage forged ahead, and in 1929 built a brick hotel in place of the old wooden one for £24,000. Stuart Garland remained as publican when the hotel reopened as the Astor from 1930, but first Dominion Breweries in 1931, then NZ Breweries and Hancock & Co took over around 1939/1940.

I haven't really been able to find a shot of the Astor Hotel which I can use here. If any readers have one I could use, I'd appreciate it. But the end for the Astor, successor to the Queens Hotel, came in 1996. It was demolished for a Council planned revamp of the Upper Symonds Street area and to improve traffic flows.

Today, the site is that of the Citta Apartments of 2005, by McLeod Group. "Citta, on the corner of Khyber Pass and Symonds St, has 105 apartments and 90 car parks, as well as commercial premises on the ground floor." Most famous person connected with the building? Current leader of the Act party, Don Brash.



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