Provincial Hotel

Situated at 274 Cashel Street, on the corner with Barbadoes Street, the Provincial Hotel first opened in 1864. A new building, designed by Clarkson and Ballantyne, was constructed in 1903.

Provincial Hotel
Provincial Hotel front facade. Creator (cre): Moata Tamaira, Contributor (ctb): Moata Tamaira. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ

In June 1864, Aikman and Wilson advertised the lease of a licensed house situated on Town Section 945 at the corner of Cashel Street and Barbadoes Street. The house contained a bar, a kitchen, three parlours, and eight bedrooms. By 20 June, William Styche was advertising that he had held the lease for the hotel which was due to open on 1 July under the name The Provincial.

On 7 March 1865, the license was transferred from Styche to Robert Warner. When Warner applied to renew the license in 1866, his application was adjourned at a licensing committee meeting held on 8 May as it was noted that the hotel did not offer the required accommodation. By 4 May 1867, Warner was bankrupt. In a report given to the committee on 9 May by Inspector Pender, the Provincial was described as closed and unfurnished. 

Thomas Bowhill Thompkins applied for the license on 3 September 1867. This was granted and he remained the proprietor until he died at the hotel on 20 October 1882. On 4 December 1882, the licensing committee gave their approval for Thompkins’ wife, Joanna, to continue running the hotel. Joanna reapplied for the license on 9 May 1883. On 9 November 1885, Joanna applied to transfer the license to James Stephen Lear.

During the proprietorship of Lear, his daughter, Mabel, aged 12, died suddenly at the hotel on 29 July 1886. On 4 May 1889, Lear applied to transfer the license to Benjamin John Wesley Chamberlain. 

The license was transferred from Chamberlain to John Ingram on 4 June 1890. In April 1891, Ingram was charged with allowing the hotel to be used as a brothel. On 7 May 1891, Phil Mohr was granted a temporary license by the licensing committee. Towards the end of his proprietorship, in 1898, Mohr suffered from allegations that he was a habitual drunk and faced a charge of permitting drunkenness to take place at the hotel on a Sunday. On 1 May 1899, David Edmonds applied for the license.

At a meeting of the licensing committee held on 5 June 1901, it was noted that the building was outdated. Plans for a new hotel, designed in the style of Edwardian Baroque, were drawn by architects Clarkson and Ballantyne who offered tenders for its construction in March 1902. The original hotel building was demolished and on 24 April 1902, the timber was auctioned on site by Tonks, Norton and Co. 

The new Provincial Hotel officially opened on 23 February 1903. Edmonds remained the proprietor until he applied to transfer the license to George Iles on 9 December 1909. Iles retained the license until 1 December 1921, when it was transferred to George Herbert Bailey. By May 1923, George Iles had returned as the licensee. On 2 June 1930, the license was transferred from Iles to John (Jack) Griffin.

On 10 June 1935, the license was transferred from Griffin to George Herbert Bailey. In December 1936, the license was transferred from Bailey to Patrick O’Donohue. On 8 May 1940, George Leslie Comer applied for the license. He held the proprietorship for eight years until, on 13 October 1948, the license was transferred from him to Norman Keith Boyd. In December 1953, the license was transferred to Herbert Robert Woodley.

On 15 December 1958, the license was transferred from Woodley to Eric William Bolwell. On 2 April 1962, Bolwell applied to transfer the license to Leslie William Jamieson. Robert Richard Rothwell applied for the license in September 1964. Rothwell retained the license until 1970 when Murray and Joy Atkinson took up the lease.

Recognising that the use of accommodation at the hotel had declined since 1972, in 1975, Murray Atkinson applied for the hotel to become a tavern. He was still the licensee in 1984. During his proprietorship, the hotel was firebombed on 25 December 1981. 

In 2003, the Provincial Hotel was owned by Gavin Abbott. Stephen Cohen purchased the hotel in 2007 with the purpose of restoring the building. He applied for consents which were granted in 2009, and in 2010 earthquake strengthening work began. Despite this, the building was damaged in the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes. 

The building was demolished on 11 March 2011.