Gladstone Hotel

NOTE: This post probably contains quite a few errors and an inaccurate timeline – there is very little info online about old Christchurch venues, so I welcome all corrections and additions!

Also known as: Gladstone Tavern, Durham Arms Hotel, DB Gladstone, The Christchurch Club, The Devonshire Arms, The Glad

Location: 328 Durham Street, Central Christchurch

Center map

Current Status: Demolished in 2005, replaced by commercial buildings

Active as a live music venue: 1971 – 1990

Bar Manager: –

Capacity: –

The DB Gladstone at its peak in the 1980s. Photo by Darryl McKenzie

The Gladstone has the doubtful distinction of being the last hotel in Christchurch to host a post mortem. The examination was carried out in July of 1901 by a Dr. William Diamond, who told the coroner that there was extreme difficulty working in such cramped and unsuitable quarters as those provided by a hotel and he sincerely hoped that something would be done about it soon. His wish was granted, for on that very day the eminent architect Mr. S Hurst-Seager, designer of the new morgue, had handed the keys to the completed building to the City Council.

– Stephen Symons’ ‘The Watering Holes’

The Durham Arms prior to demolition (Photo from Fairfax article on lost venues)

History

  • 1856: First Meeting of the Christchurch Club in the original building on the corner of Durham and Peterborough Streets’, Owned by George Woodman. The 1st Liquor in Christchurch is acquired a couple months later.
  • 1862: The Christchurch Club moves to Latimer Square, the original building becomes the Devonshire Arms
  • 1875: Christchurch Hotels are forced to accept cadavers prior to burial.
  • 1876: Original building is replaced with a new larger, 2-Story Hotel under John Barrett’s ownership and christened the Gladstone Hotel.
  • 1901: Christchurch’s last autopsy performed at a public house is done at the Gladstone, just days before the City morgue is opened.
  • 1970: The Gladstone is purchased by DB Breweries.
  • 1971: Under Gary Lings’ proprietorship the Gladstone becomes a popular live music venue.
  • 1985: A proposed development on the site fails to eventuated when funding falls through, accommodation is closed and the Hotel becomes Gladstone Tavern.
  • 1990: Renamed the Durham Arms.

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