Foresters' Hotel

Situated at 262 Oxford Terrace, the Foresters' Hotel first opened in 1862. Rebuilt in 1903, it was demolished in 1990.

Foresters' Hotel, 262 Oxford Terrace
Foresters' Hotel, 262 Oxford Terrace. Donor (dnr): Albert James North, Photographer (pht): Albert James North. In copyright

The hotel was initially situated on Town Section 561 and part of 562. While both sections had frontages to Oxford Terrace, section 562 also had access onto Armagh Street to the south. 

Section 562 was occupied by the Foresters’ Hall. At a ceremony held on 6 January 1858, the foundation stone of the hall was laid by Edward Jerningham Wakefield, who had donated part of Town Section 562 to the Order of Foresters. The building was completed by May 1859.

In April 1862, John Mills, who was also a member of the Order of Foresters, applied for a wine and beer license to operate from an unnamed house on Oxford Terrace East. This was granted on 13 May. By 1864, he was operating a hotel, known as Mills’ Hotel, which adjoined the Foresters’ Hall. The hotel offered a bar, a dining room, eleven bedrooms, a skittle alley, and a quarter acre garden. As it was opposite the Avon River, boats could be hired for use. The property also contained a four bedroom house which fronted onto Armagh Street. 

In September 1865, Mills sought to lease the property. The management of the hotel was taken over by Joseph George Osborne, who was granted a license in May 1866. In October 1867, the property was advertised for sale. By January 1868, Joseph George Osborne was declared bankrupt. 

In June 1869, the license was transferred from Osborne to Daniel McGuinness who was in partnership with William Savage trading as D. McGuinness and Co. The partnership was dissolved on 9 June 1870. By October 1872, the hotel offered new stables.

In October 1873, architect Frederick Strouts advertised tenders for alterations and additions to be made to the hotel. After McGuinness applied to change the name of the hotel to the Foresters’ Hotel, the application was granted on 10 January 1874. In September 1876, the license was transferred from McGuinness to William Berti.

On 13 September 1881, the license was temporarily transferred from Berti to Benjamin Searle. Searle was granted the license on 19 June 1882. He continued to operate the hotel until his death on 29 May 1887. His wife, Ann, continued to operate the hotel. On 19 August 1890, she married William McLeod. He applied for the hotel’s license on 5 May 1891.

On 6 December 1893, Harry Priston applied for the license to be transferred from William to himself. On 1 September 1897, the license was transferred from Priston to John Charles Kearney. At this point the property was owned by Ward and Co. On 10 September 1897, Kearney applied to transfer the license to Arthur John Beauchamp. He did so, however, without the approval of the landlord.

Although John and his wife, Grace, had only been married since April 1897, by October 1897, they had separated, and John had left New Zealand. In his absence, Arthur John Beauchamp operated the hotel as a temporary manager. Grace was declared bankrupt, and a meeting of creditors was held on 28 October 1897. The license was officially transferred from John Charles Kearney to Beauchamp on 1 December 1897.

Beauchamp applied to transfer the license to Daniel Ashton on 17 December 1897. On 7 December 1898, the license was transferred from Ashton to William Charles Morgan. Morgan applied to transfer the license to George Bone on 1 November 1899. On 6 March 1901, the license was transferred from Bone to Robert McNeely.

At a licensing committee meeting held on 5 June 1901, a renewal of McNeely’s license was objected to because of the inadequate quality of accommodation offered. Ward and Co decided to erect a new hotel. Although the contract for the construction of a new building had been made by June 1902, the construction could not start until November. In October 1902, Tonks, Norton, and Co advertised for the removal of the building. The new hotel was open by August 1903.

Robert McNeely died at the hotel on 26 May 1905. By April 1906, the manager was Hector Gatherer, and on 7 June 1906, the license was granted to Robert’s wife, Jane McNeely. She continued to operate the hotel until 18 April 1916, when she applied to transfer the license to James Shanahan. On 2 December 1927, the license was transferred from Shanahan to Robert Christopher Dobson. 

On 6 June 1932, the license was transferred from Dobson to Vincent Stewart Goulding. In April 1934, Goulding faced charges of selling liquor after hours. The result of the charges took a financial toll on him, and in June 1934, the license was transferred to William John Alfed Clay. By September 1934, the hotel was under the management of John Watt, and on 3 December 1934, the license was transferred from Clay to Watt. 

By January 1939, Frederick James Kent held the license for the hotel when he was charged with selling liquor after hours. However, by May 1940, the license had returned to John Watt. 

On 7 March 1949, the license was transferred from John Watt to David Cherry Bain. On 6 December 1949, the license was transferred from Bain to Neville Charles Gawler. On 10 May 1951, Gawler applied to transfer the license to Darcy Amistice Uren. The license was transferred from Uren to Colin McGregor on 31 July 1953. On 7 December 1954, the license was transferred from McGregor to Leonard Stanley Kirk.

On 31 August 1956, Kirk applied to transfer the license to John Molloy Freeman. On 19 August 1957, Freeman applied to transfer the license to William Clifford Carberry. In September 1960, the license was transferred from Carberry to Patrick Stuart Hayden. On 17 December 1962, Hayden applied to transfer the license to John Molloy Freeman. On 22 April 1963, John Molloy Freeman applied to transfer the license to Reginald Thomas Benyon. Benyon died 2 October 1966 and in March 1967, Darcy Armistice Uren applied for the license again. 

By June 1974, the hotel had been purchased by Gollin NZ Limited which had established a subsidiary company, Gollin Wines and Spirits Limited. However, by 1976, financial losses incurred by the parent company of Gollin NZ Limited meant that the company’s assets were eventually sold.

Maurice C. Bailey and his wife, Maureen Bailey, took up the ownership of the hotel by December 1977. A drive through bottle store was added to the hotel, which could be accessed from either Oxford Terrace or Armagh Street. 

By October 1986, the building had been purchased by Prime West Corporation Limited. The property was sold again in the following year. By September 1987, the hotel had closed. Abandoned, the hotel was frequented by homeless people. On 10 October 1989, an arsonist set the building on fire. The damaged building was eventually demolished in January 1990 to make way for a car park.