Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

09 November 2009

Provincial Hotel, Christchurch

I wrote and illustrated ‘The Good Old Kiwi Pub’. It was published in 1995 and was a snapshot of some New Zealand pubs as they were at the end of the 20th century. I have decided to share some of the entries from the book from time to time on this blog

The east side of Christchurch city lacks the leafy charm of the Hagley Park end where government and university buildings confidently - and with a distinct air of superiority - reflect a stately English heritage. The pity of it is that the Provincial Hotel rubs shoulders with dreary, small manufacturing units and industrial warehouses rather than being at the ‘hotter end’ of town for, architecturally, it is one of the more unusual pubs in New Zealand and would look well among willows on the grassy banks of the Avon.

It has been described as ‘Dutch-style’ but just what mode it really expresses is a bit of a mystery. Records show that its architects were Clarkson and Ballantyne - two good Canterbury names - but I suspect that the job was given to a promising young designer who, to show off his potential, mixed vaguely Elizabethan and Jacobean styles and threw in some baroque cartouches and Georgian windows to produce what I can only describe as an enormous piece of architectural fun.

The first licence on this site was granted to Robert Warner in 1865 but the present pub probably dates from 1904 as tenders were called for the ‘re-building of the Provincial Hotel’ in 1902 after it was condemned by the licensing committee.



  1. This building was condemned by the Licensing Committee in 1902 and rebuilt. See Early Christchurch hotels / compiled by Jim Watson

    And christchurchcitylibraries.com/Heritage/photos/disc10/IMG0024.asp

  2. Thank you for that comment Ms Paul. I have changed the text. (That post has been around for a long, long time!)




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By Don Donovan