Holmes' A1 Temperance Hotel

Erected in the 1880s, the building at 58 Manchester Street served as a temperance hotel and a private hotel until its demolition in the 1960s.

It is possible that a building existed on the site of what is now 58 Manchester Street (originally 54 Manchester Street) prior to the formation of George Street (Southwark Street) in 1872.

By 1874 the corner of Manchester and George streets was occupied by a cabinet maker, Joseph L. Kimbell, who had a timber yard and workshop. Following Kimbell’s bankruptcy in 1877, it became the site of a railway steam cabinet and turnery works operated by John Hofmeister. However, by June 1878, Hofmeister had also gone bankrupt.

In August 1879 Simeon Stoddard had been granted a building license for works on Manchester Street. It is possible he was seeking to extend the original building. Throughout 1880 he advertised that additions to his temperance hotel, known as ‘Stoddard’s Temperance Family and Commercial Hotel’, were nearing completion.

When the additions were finished, the refurbished hotel consisted of eighty six bedrooms (thirty six single, twenty one double, and six family sized), four dining rooms, sitting rooms and smoking rooms. Stoddard put the hotel up for sale in September 1881 as he was supposedly leaving Canterbury. Despite this, his name appears connected with the hotel in the city directories until 1885 when Thomas J. Green appears to have taken over, with the hotel becoming known as Green’s Temperance Hotel.

An article in November 1885 mentioned that under Green’s management, the hotel had been deemed unsafe by the council inspectors, with them forbidding the use of the upper storey. Following this, the hotel was sold by the lessee and remained unoccupied until it was taken over by James Coulter. Coulter, at the time of the article, had started to make repairs to the building, replacing the scrim and paper walls with lath and plaster, and reducing the number of bedrooms from one hundred to sixty three. During Coulter’s time the hotel was already known as the A1 Temperance Hotel.

By 1892 the hotel was operated by Ann (also known as Annie) Holmes, a widow. She married Joseph Westerman in 1894. Despite the marriage, the hotel still bore the name ‘Holmes’ when a photograph was taken c.1900. Following the death of Ann Holmes in 1908, the hotel still remained known as Holmes’ Temperance Hotel until the late 1940s when it was renamed Manchester Private Hotel.

W.A. Sutton captured the hotel in his 1954 painting Private Lodgings. By then the building was in a poor condition. After being condemned by the council in 1963, it was subsequently demolished. Prior to the Christchurch earthquakes the site of the former temperance hotel was a car yard.