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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

Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand

Current Status: Demolished in 2005, replaced by commercial buildings

Active as a live music venue: 1971 – 1990

Bar Manager: –

Capacity: –

With DB Breweries taking over ownership of the Gladstone in 1971, it quickly became a popular music venue.

During the punk and post-punk era the Gladstone Hotel was the hot ticket for Christchurch underground music with the likes of the Pin Group, the Gordons, Playthings and the Clean playing there to packed crowds. However the site itself had quite a long and storied history as a hotel:

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

Come 1990 The Gladstone was re-dubbed the Durham Arms, however public opinion on the venues direction wasn’t always positive:

As for the Gladstone’s change of image to the Durham Arms, complete with tacky designer interiors and suburban and western music, the pub was displaced as the Christchurch music venue some years back. Awful as the current setup must seem to old patrons from the early 1980s, it’s certainly no worse than the Gladstone’s previous incarnation as a headbangers’ hangout. Besides which, the pub was always an atrociously ugly building anyway.

‘The Christchurch Music Scene: 1990’ from W. S. McCallum (aka Venetic).


  • 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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