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.

Links

The Androidss

Biography

The Androidss were world famous in Christchurch. This band was very important on the local scene for it’s melodic post punk Rock/Pop sound, a la Television.

They were a regular performing outfit at the Gladstone. They reportedly had a large set of wonderful tunes, most unfortunately lost to history save the¬†Accident Compilation¬†track Mr Fish, taken from a live recording of a Gladstone performance and a double A-side single “Auckland Tonight / Getting Jumpy” on Ripper Records.

Eric and Steve were twins, Neil and Mark were brothers. The band had some strange aura associated with them, a couple of the band had done time in jail and there was this drug connotation that connected itself to their gigs, but not necessarily their music. Undeniably the band produced some standalone great music, pure guitar pop.

Bassist Frankie went on to work with Rex Visible in Not Really Anything.

I never saw the Androidss perform live and never actually met any of the band members directly, so the band is a bit of an enigma to me, just their reputation and their music left to impress me. One band I really wish I’d caught live.

– Rob Mayes on Failsafe RecordsWebsite

Members

  • Frankie Steentjes (Bass, 1979 – 1983)
  • Mark Wilson (Vocals/Guitar, 1979 – 1983)
  • Neil Spence (Guitar, 1979 – 1983)
  • Mark Spence (Keyboards, 1979 – 1983)
  • Eric Marsden (Drums, 1979 – 1983)
  • Steve Marsden (Guitar/Vocals, 1979 – 1983)

Discography

  • Getting Jumpy 7″ Single (1981, Ripper Records, RIP020)
  • Auckland Tonight 12″ Single (2009, Self-Released)

Links