Antigua Boatsheds

The Antigua Boatsheds (1882/1907) is an example of a Victorian commercial pleasure boat shed, the only one remaining in Canterbury.

Antigua Boatsheds
Antigua Boatsheds. Christchurch Star - no known copyright

In 1882, Albert Shaw and John T. Tidd, boat builders from Lyttelton, requested permission from the Christchurch City Council to erect boat sheds on the northern banks of the Avon River between Hospital Bridge and Montreal Street. Opening in August 1882, the boatsheds were named after the nearby Antigua Street.

Built in a similar appearance to the former Montreal Street boat sheds (1875-1929), the Antigua Boatsheds featured Carpenter Gothic finials and bargeboards, with Elizabethan half timbering. There were rest rooms for customers and refreshments were available on site.

In the following year, by the time of the first anniversary, the business had around forty boats in use on the river.

In November 1896, Samuel Anstey became the owner.

A fire, possibly caused by the furnace used to steam the timber for boat construction, destroyed half of the boat shed building in May 1907. Despite the damage, the business continued to operate. Following this setback, the boat sheds were rebuilt, and the eastern two bays were built as a double storey structure. Further changes were made to the building in 1920, with the addition of a shop on the western end.

Another long owner was Bill Dini, who operated the sheds between 1948 and 1978.

The Antigua Boatsheds suffered minimal damaged in the 2011 Canterbury earthquake and continue to operate in their traditional role.