Carlton Hotel

1. THE CARLTON HOTEL.

1:01. Mr. Money’s Excellent Establishment.

Alfred Walter Money was an entrepreneur, a colourful character with plenty of ideas and the ability to turn them into action. He took passage for New Zealand from Britain, travelling steerage with his sister aboard the “Zealandia”, finally arriving at Lyttelton on 21st September 1858. He was then aged about 29, and at once secured employment as the second messenger to the Union Bank of Australia. This position did not last very long, and he worked at Cracroft Wilson’s station for six weeks, leaving to make his way to “the diggings” (which ones are not specified; they could have been in the Coromandel or the West Coast) when gold was discovered. A certain John Hall, a local citizen, was not too impressed with Money. He said in a letter that “young Money could do anything but work. I fear he will never do any good” (MacM507). Mr. Hall would be proved both right and wrong; Money seemed to have no trouble acquiring funds, but his mercurial nature meant that he could never stay in one place for very long. He was a restless soul whose mind was always two steps ahead of his hands.

Mr. Money was a keen horseman, very knowledgeable about all matters equestrian, and was quick to turn this expertise to profitable use. Seeing an urgent need for a centrally located livery stables in town, he established a livery and bait stables in Market Square in 1859, an enterprise that prospered handsomely and rapidly. He later leased them to his foreman, a man by the name of Beacher, and they later became known as the Rink Stables. He also gave riding lessons to ladies over the summer, and it would be fanciful to suggest that he met his lady love when young Annie Roberts came to him for riding tuition, but it is certain that Alfred Money wed Anne Elizabeth Vinnicombe Roberts at St. Michael’s Church before the Rev. Alabaster on 9th January 1861. Where the happy couple set up house immediately after their marriage is not recorded, but by April of 1862 Walter Money was living in Durham Street, as he then applied to be put on the electoral roll for Avon; his qualification was that he owned property in St. Albans. His holding is listed as part of Rural Section 311, and he also owned 104 acres at Prebbleton which he most probably utilised as pasturage for his horses.

Mr. Money was an excellent rider, and was deeply involved in the racing industry. He owned a racehorse called Rob Roy, which was a favourite in its day and built up an impressive form. The horse won the Lottery Plate at the Canterbury Jockey Club meeting of 1861, the Grand Stand Plate on another day. and won two more races at the Canterbury Jockey Club meeting of January 1864, the second race with Money himself riding. Shortly after that Money won the Innkeepers’ Purse at Timaru, again riding Rob Roy himself, against one of the leading professional jockeys of the day, a man called Rae on Golden Cloud.

His quick eye and his involvement with road transport soon led Mr. Money to notice the lack of a decent hotel to serve farmers coming in from North Canterbury. The Plough Inn (later the Riccarton Hotel) was strategically placed to serve traffic coming from or travelling into the west, and the routes to Akaroa, Lyttelton and New Brighton were also well covered. Not so the route north.

Rural section No. 6, as laid down by surveyors of the Canterbury Association, was a more or less rectangular fifty acre block with its eastern boundary running along what would become Papanui Road, and its southern side running westwards along the line of the North Belt (later Bealey Avenue), along the Avon River by the Carlton Bridge more or less to Hellmore’s Lane and then north to meet up with the northern side. The block was acquired in the first instance by one Charles Weatherby of Old Burlington Street, London, and a Mr. Henry Gordon of Warwickshire was also involved in the deal. They appear to have intended to be in the first body of colonists, but unfortunately Weatherby died and Gordon seems to have either lost interest or forfeited his rights; property purchased in Britain had to be taken up by the purchaser or it reverted to the Canterbury Association.

Whatever happened, the property came back into the hands of the Association, who sold it on 2nd June 1851 to Edward Gibbon Wakefield for the sum of £150 on Instrument of Conveyance No 2128. After his death, the property came into the hands of his son Edward Jerningham Wakefield who subdivided it and on 23rd September 1863 sold two parcels of land to Mr. Money for £500 on Instrument of Conveyance No 7215. The transaction was arranged by auctioneers Messrs. John Campbell Aickman, William Wilson, and Colin Campbell Aickman, and comprised the triangular section of 3 rods, 31 perches on the corner of Bealey Avenue and Papanui Road, and a more or less rectangular block of 7 acres, 3 rods and 24 perches some 6 chains to the west.

Mr. Money applied for a general liquor license, made arrangements with builders, and towards the end of August 1863 opened the new Carlton Hotel although the actual building was not fully completed until 1865. The reasons behind his choice of name are not now recorded, but it is likely that Mr. Money called his new Hotel The Carlton after the prestigious, exclusive and very conservative Carlton Club that had been founded in London in the 1840’s by no less a dignitary than the Duke of Wellington. The Carlton it was called from the beginning, and is one of the very few extent Christchurch Hotels to have retained its original name throughout its history (others include the Oxford, the Grosvenor and the Club). Mr. Money himself ran the Hotel only briefly in the first instance, leasing it out almost immediately to another colourful member of the liquor trade, a gentleman by the name of George Oram. Just what happened here is obscure, and it may be that Money did not receive his license, although it is hard to see why, as liquor licenses were notoriously easy to obtain in the first two decades of Canterbury’s settlement. It is possible that at first Money ran his premises as a boarding house only. Perhaps, and more probably, he had good reason to believe that he would be granted a license but for some reason the licensing bench considered him to be unsuitable when his application came up for consideration. It is significant that he was applying for a general, rather than a full Hotel, license. Whatever really happened, the fact is that A W Money was refused a general liquor license (Lyttelton Times 5th May 1864, p5). On the first page of that same issue, however, there appeared the following public notice:

“Mr. A W Money begs to thank the Public in general, and inhabitants in the neighbourhood of the Carlton Hotel, for the kind patronage he has received, and also to inform them that he has let the Hotel to Mr. George Oram, late Steward of the Christchurch Club, who hopes to merit their favours by sparing no pains to affort (sic) every accommodation. Comfortable apartments can be obtained on the most reasonable terms, and gentlemen are boarded by the week. The building is about to be considerably enlarged and a Billiard Room added.”(Lyttelton Times, 5th  May 1864, p1).

Mr. Oram had been steward to the Christchurch Club, and had earned a very high reputation professionally, having had experience as a butler in London, but had had something of a disagreement with the Club’s management and had departed that august establishment summarily. He decided to take a Hotel and, Mr. Money’s new premises being about to be available, he obtained the lease and began a very successful career as a publican. He later took the lease on the Lyttelton Hotel, shortly thereafter buying it and changing its name to the Clarendon Hotel. He kept the lease of the Carlton until 1871.

A photograph dating from 1885 shows a sturdy but plain two storeyed wooden building on the site of the present Carlton Hotel. A verandah with a concave iron roof ran along almost the entire length of the southern frontage, and half way along the eastern frontage facing Papanui Road. Three second floor windows overlooked Bealey Avenue and five more, obviously opening out of smaller, single bedrooms, overlooked Papanui Road. The plain, hipped iron roof was adorned with three large signs bearing the legend “Carlton Hotel”, one facing south, another east and the third and largest on the south east corner above the front door that angled across the street corner. A two storey wing extended from the northern end of the west wall and a smaller, one room, two storey wing extended southwards from the end of the west wing. The building housed seventeen single bedrooms, three double bedrooms, and that sine qua non of the 19th century Hotel with any pretensions to gentility whatsoever, a billiards room.

One of the first guests at the new Hotel was, reputedly, the renowned author Samuel Butler. Born in Nottinghamshire, he arrived in New Zealand in 1859 at the age of 24 and took up sheep farming. “A First Year in Canterbury”, a collection of letters, was his first publication and appeared in 1863, and his most famous work “Erewhon” (“Nowhere” spelled backwards) was published in 1872. The satire, a classic of its genre and read world-wide, contains many ideas that Butler had expressed in letters and articles published in Christchurch newspapers, and the “Erewhon” scenery is that of Canterbury. Tiring of New Zealand, he sold his farm in 1869 and, while waiting for the sale to go through, he stayed at the Carlton Hotel. He then sailed for England and never came back to New Zealand.

The new Hotel proved to be very popular and obviously filled a real need. George Oram departed to take up the Lyttelton Hotel, and Mr. Money took an active interest in the Hotel, although the actual Hotel business was in the hands of licensed lessees and Money never again sought to obtain a license in his own right. To enable him to pursue his interests in the Carlton site, Mr. Money advertised his stables in Market Square as being for sale but eventually leased them instead to Mr. Beacher. To diversify the Hotel clientele, Mr. Money organised a free shuttle that ran three times daily from the newly built railway station across town to the Carlton, but it was the trade from the North Canterbury farmers that formed the backbone of his business. Such was the volume of trade, especially on market days, that he decided to take advantage of the considerable paddock space available on the seven acre block close by the Hotel to build a stockyard, which he opened in August of 1867. Again, Mr. Money had struck a chord of perfect pitch; the stockyards proved immensely popular as holding pens for the farmers on their way to the market and before long it was a market in its own right. Auctioneers such as Wilson & Alport, C C Aikman, Matson & Co., and Charles Clark attended and stock was bought and sold at what shortly became a thriving weekly stock market, much valued by the farmers as it saved them the time and trouble of driving their animals across town. Fees from the yards provided a very useful contribution to Mr. Money’s coffers.

Others saw his success and attempted to emulate it; a Mr. W Barnard open stockyards nearby, which induced Mr. Money to advertise his facility as “the original Carlton Yards”. The market prospered until 1874, when the new Addington Stockyards were opened adjacent to the new railway line and the trade moved to the other side of Hagley Park. This would have been a blow to Mr. Money, but proved a windfall to his competitor William Harris of the Plough Inn. Mr. Harris promptly renamed his premises the Riccarton Hotel and began to make plans for extensions and refurbishments.

1:02. More Ventures.

Perhaps in response to this loss of trade, or perhaps because he was abrim with entrepreneurial notions, Mr. Money embarked on other enterprises over the years. He returned to England for a time in 1870 and before doing so, on 11th January 1870, sold by auction at the Hotel a considerable head of stock and a quantity of goods. Under the hammer of auctioneer Mr. J H Bennet at 1:00pm were sold some 13 horses, several milch cows, two Tilburys (light, two-wheeled carriages that were becoming, by the latter half of the 19th century, unfashionable) one hooded and one unhooded, a varied collection of single and double harness, bridles, saddles, headstalls, a tip cart and harness, horse collars, a wheelbarrow, garden tools, a quantity of rails both sawn and round, and sundry other goods. The horses mostly seem to have had conventional names such as Kate or Jack but one, a brown gelding described as a first-class lady’s horse, went by the evocative name of “Gasometer” (Lyttelton Times 5th January 1870, p3).

Mr. Money went back to England again in 1882, primarily to indulge his interest in horses and to have a look at agricultural fairs; he was on the committee of the Canterbury A & P Association at the time. He was given a champagne lunch by his friends to send him off, and he undertook to attend all the English shows possible and be back within a year or two. He was back by 1885 and brought with him some furniture and horses which he found that he could sell at a very handsome profit, which prompted him to make at least two more trips, in 1892 and in 1898. His business ventures continued in all sorts of directions; he was in partnership with a certain Frank Hoskins for a while as a butcher and cattle dealer. He then ran the little steamer “Avonia” up the Avon River from New Brighton, and was briefly involved with the Oxford Hotel (the one at Oxford, not what is now the Oxford Tavern on the corner of Colombo Street and Oxford Terrace). But whatever his entrepreneurial forays, he always returned eventually to the Carlton Hotel.

Alfred Money was continually coming and going, as a consequence of which the Carlton was leased out to a succession of licensees, and there were some interesting characters amongst them. William Hayward took the Hotel briefly in the seventies. A jeweller and watchmaker, he had come to New Zealand aboard the “Roman Emperor” in 1862, but could not find work in his trade. He worked as an ostler for a while, and later took the Miner’s Arms Hotel. He made good money carting along the West Coast Road, but lost it when he moved to Coromandel and the Waihi goldfields. Returning to Christchurch, he took the Carlton Hotel, but failed and had to depart the Hotel. His son, William Jnr, who later became well known in the City, was born in the Hotel. He then started Hayward’s Atlas Buses, and then the Christchurch – Sumner Coach Service. The Haywards took over the Rink Stables, Mr. Money’s old firm in 1895, and later turned the business into Rink Taxis.

C E Paget (MacP20) had had the Leithfield hotel and was another horse racing man, owning a successful racehorse called Barbra; he took the Carlton in 1873 but went bankrupt. Nathaniel Harris (MacH218), yet another gentleman of the turf, took the Carlton in 1870 and while he was there catered for the Addington races; he later opened the Club Hotel at Rangiora and later still removed to Timaru. Philip McDevitt (MacMac99), a former member of the Royal Irish Constabulary, took the Hotel in the 1880’s before removing to the Gladstone Hotel (now the Durham Arms), where he died shortly thereafter.

Money’s love of horses and his involvement in matters equestrian continued unabated throughout his life; he judged the horses at the Christchurch Show of 1868, and the jumping at the Show of 1872. He was present at the first meeting of the Christchurch Hounds, when a drag was towed by Rob Roy, and he was an original steward of the County Trotting Club in 1888. In his later years he made his home on the site of the Carlton Mill, to be close to the public house that was such a long-standing part of his life, and his sister became his housekeeper.

At first the Carlton Hotel was considered by the Licensing Magistrates to be a most excellent house but as the years went by it began to deteriorate. There were no complaints about dirt, or bad characters as Mr. Money’s lessees kept a tight rein on his customers, but the house itself was falling into disrepair, and in 1882 the Licensing Bench noted that it was below standard. Mr. Money seems to have had plans for a new building and managed to convince the Bench that this would happen when funds became available and business improved (New Zealand was, at that time, languishing in a recession), but it was never to happen. The house deteriorated further and further and was still standing in 1900 at which point the Police stepped in and insisted that the Carlton, along with several other City Hotels, either be improved forthwith or be pulled down. Again Mr. Money argued his case; his Hotel was not in the City, he pointed out, and should not have to come up to City standards. The Bench conceded that he had a point and allowed him his license for a further year but insisted that this would be the last time. He would either have to rebuild his Hotel or his license would be revoked.

The fight seemed to go out of the old battler. He was now in his seventies and perhaps he was getting tired of it all. Perhaps funds were a problem, or maybe he had become attached to the building for sentimental reasons, or maybe he was simply pig-headed and believed his premises to be adequate. We shall never know the reasons why, but there is no doubt of the fact that it had all become too much of a bother for him. In 1902 he sold the Carlton to Ward’s Brewery for a total of £5,930, a very tidy sum indeed, and retired to live off the proceeds of the sale. On 7th September 1909 he stepped off a tram outside the Hotel, stumbled, fell, and broke his neck, killing himself almost immediately. He was 80 years old. His wife Annie died less than a year later on 16th August 1910: she was 76.

Mr. Money’s old wooden building was finally demolished in 1906 and work began on a new Hotel. Construction proceeded quickly, as the new owners wanted everything to be ready for one of the most extraordinary events in the history of the Province; The Great Exhibition. The Brewery wanted a fine new Hotel to take the best advantage of the accommodation and victualling needs of the huge numbers that were expected to attend the extravaganza, which was to be conveniently held in nearby Hagley Park.

1:03. A New Beginning.

The new building was designed by that doyen of Hotel architecture, Mr. Joseph Clarkson Maddison, creator of so many fine houses of accommodation such as Warner’s Hotel and the Clarendon, and  was one of half a dozen or so almost identical Hotels built at that time for the Great Exhibition. It was a classical two storeyed building in the Italian Palazzo style, with a chamfered corner facing the intersection of the streets. The windows on the ground floor were round headed with rectangular sashes, while those on the first floor were adorned with elegant Gibbs surrounds.

The hipped roof of corrugated iron was concealed by a cornice and parapet while a name plate emblazoned with the name of the Hotel was built into the parapet above the south east corner of the building to take advantage of its view over a major street intersection. The main door was half way along the southern frontage, leading off Bealey Avenue, and the building itself was constructed of brick and covered with a cement stucco. It had four chimneys, features that would generate some considerable acrimony nearly ninety years later. This building, solid yet elegant, was more than just a new hotel; it was a statement both of the permanence of Christchurch and of the faith of the Edwardian builders in the future growth and prosperity of the City and the Province.

The Hotel was later sold to a Mr. D. Spence, and in 1927 was taken by Mr. A J “Alf” O’Malley. It would remain in the O’Malley family for the next half-century and under their management would see many innovations in Hotel administration and technology. Indeed, the Carlton under the O’Malleys was the site of a number of ground-breaking initiatives that would later would become commonplace but at the time of their introduction were quite revolutionary. The Carlton became famous for its “firsts”.

In 1939 fluorescent strip lighting was installed; not exactly a first, but still a novelty for the time. That same year the old beer engines that drew draught beer from the barrels mechanically were removed and replaced with a systems of taps out of which beer was forced by the pressure of compressed air; for the first time, beer actually came out of a tap. The following year, after considerable technical problems, a stainless steel tank was installed in the cellar and hooked up to a system of compressed carbon dioxide, making the Carlton the first Hotel in New Zealand to receive beer from a bulk beer tanker directly into its own holding tanks, a system that was thereafter rapidly introduced all over the country until it became virtually ubiquitous. Beer taps on flexible plastic hoses were also introduced to the drinking public at the Carlton shortly after the installation of the bulk tank, and immediately proved a huge benefit to barmen when coping with the “Six O’clock Swill”. The patrons were not too keen on this newfangled idea, but then pub patrons are notoriously conservative and the change went ahead regardless, both for its obvious convenience to bar staff and because the O’Malley family had interests in the patent.

More firsts came to the Carlton in the post-war years. In 1947 a beer garden, the first in New Zealand, was built on the sunny north side of the hotel and immediately proved popular. It was built to a rustic design with arbours, a pergola and a high fence built of larch from the Hanmer forest. Elevated flower beds of Halswell stone made an most attractive setting. The beer garden was closed in 1970 and the site remodelled to become the Wagon Wheel restaurant and entertainment lounge. In 1954 the first drive-in bottle store opened at the Carlton, complete with automatic doors. It was a small triangular building sited in front of the hotel on the corner of Bealey Avenue and Papanui Road, an area now occupied by a pedestrian traffic island, a free left turn roadway and flowerbeds. It was built of concrete blocks and was crowned with four wrought iron signs with the word “Carlton” on the flat roof. The Palm Court was opened in 1957 and proved at once to be a very popular innovation, and the public bar was remodelled shortly thereafter.

The O’Malleys did not always manage the Hotel personally, and from time to time licensee managers were employed. Such a one was Robert Broom, who took over the hotel in 1960. A Londoner and a former Royal Navy man who had seen action in the North Atlantic and the Mediterranean during the second world war, he was a man of uncompromising standards and one who appreciated the need for the very best of service in the hospitality trade. Alas, his ideas were very advanced for his time and place, which involved him in several battles with bureaucracy over the years.

He left Christchurch for a while in the 50’s to manage the Wellington Airport restaurant which was situated in a disused hanger at the time and the ambience was rather less than sophisticated. The entrepreneurs who were running it wanted it brought up to a high international standard, but from the first there were problems as Mr. Broom and the operators clearly did not agree on what constituted a “high international standard”; certainly they were not prepared to spend the money on what Mr. Broom considered necessary upgrading. They disagreed, they parted, and he was back in Christchurch in six months. He spent a brief time as assistant manager of the Te Anau Tourist Hotel, then became manager of the Forest Lodge Hotel, the first licensed hotel in the West Otago District in 65 years. Such was the standard of hospitality at the Tapanui establishment under his management, with its silver service, suites from the trolley, and airline-style room service, that people would frequently travel from as far away as Christchurch just for the pleasure of spending a night or two at the Forest Lodge.

He became executive officer of the Canterbury Hotel Association in 1974 and was renowned for his encyclopaedic knowledge of the licensing laws. An outspoken man, he was critical of many of the institutions of the time and was not in the least worried who knew it; in his view the licensing laws were complex nonsense, impossible to administer properly, and needed urgent revision. Trade Unions were still in the flat cap era, according to Mr. Broom; he wanted to see more flexibility on their part, outmoded clauses dropped from the Awards, and a recognition by Union officials that the hospitality industry was a 24 hour day, 7 day week occupation. A casino in New Zealand was a ridiculous notion; a 30 minute flight from Los Angeles offered Americans some of the best gaming facilities in the world. American tourists would hardly go to the time and trouble of a 14 hour flight to New Zealand to visit a casino that could not hope to even approach the glitter and glamour of Las Vegas. They were looking for something else, and that included service and quality. He retired in 1987 due to ill health.

Roy O’Malley, the latest head of the dynasty, sold the Carlton to Inns of Canterbury Ltd., a property and hotel management group which was owned by New Zealand Breweries and Ballins Breweries, bringing it into a corporate stable of Hotels that included His Lordship’s, the Waltham Arms and the Woolston Tavern. The sale took place in August 1976, and the price paid was not made public, although the property had a 1974 Government valuation of $1,150,000. Mr O’Malley continued on as manager for a further year as specified in the contract of sale, and the hotel formally passed to Inns of Canterbury Ltd with the departure of Mr. O’Malley on November 1st 1977.

1:04. The Transformation of Carlton Corner.

Additions and alterations had been going on since the 1930’s and continued regularly under Brewery control. By 1991 the Carlton had become a huge complex, covering nearly eight times the area of the original Maddison building. The Palm Court lounge with its accompanying courtyard was almost twice the size of the original hotel, while the disco lounge, restaurant and adjacent service area were all about the same ground area as the old building. Even more change was in the wind and things started to stir towards the end of 1992 when Mr. Neil Neumann began to make plans for the building and the adjacent areas. Carlton Corner Holdings was formed, with Mr. Neumann as the sole Director, to transform not only the Carlton Hotel but the entire 2 ¼ acre corner site.

Mr. Neumann’s proposal was to sub-divide the entire block into five sites, each with a different character. The Carlton Hotel would be demolished except for the original Maddison building which would be carefully refurbished into a neighbourhood tavern, while a large new service station under the Shell banner would be built on the site occupied more or less by the Wagon Wheel restaurant and its ancillary service area. The existing Liquorland store would be cleaned up but otherwise left unchanged, motel units would be built to the west, and the frontage of Rastrick Street would be redeveloped into town houses. City Council work upgrading the kerbs and channels of Rastrick Street would also greatly improve a rather dilapidated area. Local residents were canvassed, their support was enthusiastic, and a resource application outlining the proposals was lodged with the Christchurch City Council in September of 1993.

By February of 1994 the deal had been settled. Carlton Corner Holdings Ltd. was established with Mr. Neumann as a the sole director, but with capital provided by Christchurch businessman Mr. Rob Hempseed. Mr. Neumann purchased the freehold of the Carlton Hotel from Dominion Breweries for an undisclosed sum, Shell Oil had contracted to construct a Service Station on the Papanui Frontage between the old Hotel and the Liquorland Store, and architects Warren and Mahoney were busily putting the finishing touches to the plans for the Rastrick Street town houses. A 1910 m2  site on the Bealey Avenue frontage was earmarked for an 18 unit motel complex and would be sold on to a developer as soon as the necessary arrangements had been made. The whole site was being redeveloped, new enterprises were springing up, and everything was changing rapidly; it was a situation of which Alfred Money would have thoroughly approved.

The Carlton Hotel was sold to Mr. Rob Hempseed, who had plans to refurbish the old building into two bars, a restaurant and a new beer garden at the back. Mr. Hempseed’s vision of the future of the Hotel was very clear; to create a modern hotel while retaining as much of its heritage as possible. Work began and continued apace but, as is usual with such things, it was not free of controversy; an argument over the chimneys generated a little heat. The old building had had four chimneys, all of which, although superficially sound, were nevertheless in a poor condition. One was demolished, which prompted the Historic Places Trust to remonstrate with the owner; the chimneys were important, the trust maintained, as they were a visual reminder of an essential but now disappearing aspect of the building’s operation, i.e. heating and cooking, and although of ordinary design, were an integral and significant part of the building. Mr. Neumann maintained that under the terms of the Operative Christchurch District Scheme, the protected aspects of the Hotel were its facades and that none of the four chimneys constituted part of that facade. Mr. Lord of the Historic Places Trust maintained that the chimneys were “in superb condition. They could have been strengthened relatively easily to meet earthquake codes” (Press 20th October 1994). Structural engineers, after close inspection, disagreed. Strengthening could be done but the expense would have been too high. The chimneys came down. An Historic Places Trust suggestion that the chimneys be replaced with replicas built of modern light-weight materials did not gain serious consideration.

By November 1994, all was complete to designs by Alun Wilkie of Wilkie and Bruce Architects, and the old inn was launched on a new lease of life. The interior was divided into a corner bar with a conservatory, a café, and a café-bar opening onto a courtyard-beer garden. Luncheons and à la carte dining were offered, the menu including such delicacies as smoked salmon quiche, baked croissant, seafood lasagne and filo strudel with main courses starting at about $19, and a culinary regime designed to attract both the businesspeople in for a quick lunch, or those out for leisurely dining in the evening. A bowl of soup and toast cost $5.50, and snack food, non-alcoholic drinks and coffee were available in both bars to provide for the rapidly evolving drinking patterns of an increasingly cosmopolitan and sophisticated clientele

Murray Faithful was lured from the John Pierre Restaurant in Lyttelton to become chef de cuisine, and Tom Doocey, a man with 25 years experience in hotel management, was engaged to run the business. Mr. Doocey was a keen rugby man, and his many commitments to refereeing and rugby administration meant that he was unable to do full justice to the demanding job of Hotel management so Mr. Hempseed took up the reins himself with the very able assistance of manager licensee Cleone Garnham. The restoration handsomely balanced the old and the new, the aesthetic and the practical; the old exterior was retained very close to its original appearance, and the interior was outfitted and refurbished with all modern conveniences to cater to expectations of the 1990’s.

10th April 2011. The Carlton Club Hotel, licensee James Murdoch presiding, was demolished subsequent to the Great Earthquake of 22nd February 2011. The damage to the structure of the hotel was severe and Civil Defence ordained that it be destroyed. It is to be hoped that a new Carlton will arise from the rubble, but that is anbother story.

 

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