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Estimated shortfall $1.0 - $1.5 million
154 Worcester Street, Christchurch (Corner of Latimer Square)
Christchurch Club Trustees
Registered with the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a Category I Historic Place (Register Number 292)
Listed on the Christchurch City Council City Plan as Group 1
Website link to Christchurch Club
Insurance Shortfall - estimated $1.0 -$1.5 million
WHY THE CHRISTCHURCH CLUB MATTERS
The Christchurch Club was formed in the city's earliest phase by a group of wealthy landowners seeking a venue for accommodation and convivial association, and represents a direct translation of the particular British phenomenon of the gentlemen's club. Having had amongst its members some of the most powerful and influential men in the Canterbury, the club has served as a centre of the province's social and political life. Early members included the author Samuel Butler, and geologist Sir Julius von Haast. The Christchurch Club thus serves as an important reminder of the city's colonial history. After 150 years it continued to provide a social venue for a sector of Canterbury society; and the Club wish to retain their building.
The original architect of the Club building, Benjamin Mountfort, is renowned as the progenitor of Christchurch's Gothic Revival tradition, designing such seminal works as the Provincial Government Buildings. Acknowledging the Italian Palazzo style of many prominent London club buildings however, Mountfort departed from his usual ouvre, and designed his sole Italian villa. Later additions took their design cues from Mountfort's building. As a predominantly Mountfort building, the Christchurch Club therefore has great architectural significance for the city.
The Christchurch Club building relates closely to the adjacent open space of Latimer Square. Prior to the Canterbury earthquakes, the Club was part of a precinct of significant heritage buildings surrounding the square, including other important colonial buildings, the Occidental Hotel and St John's Church. This precinct has been entirely swept away, leaving the Club building as the only historical reference in the area. Across the city, the Club is also one of the very few colonial buildings remaining extant. One important building with which the Club still relates is fellow gentlemen's club, the Canterbury Club, founded in the 1870s by the city's mercantile and professional men.
Which aspects of the building will benefit from the money fundraised?
While the entire Clubhouse retains a Category 1 heritage classification, the original Mountfort-designed portion of the building is understood to have the greatest heritage significance.
As a result of the Christchurch earthquakes it will be one of the few remaining Mountfort buildings in New Zealand, and of these one of the very few remaining timber buildings.
The USAR emergency demolition of February 2011 resulted in the loss of much of the historic Clubhouse, however a significant portion of the original Mountfort building remains intact, though damaged.
Money raised would be applied to repair, reinstate and restore the original Mountfort Clubhouse; both to reinstate the intricate interior and exterior decorative elements, and to strengthen the exterior envelope and foundations to meet current code requirements.
In completing the works every effort will be made to use original material remaining in-situ; as much of the existing and recovered original fabric as possible will be used in the reinstatement of damaged elements. Any materials which have been lost or which are beyond repair will be accurately replicated from those elements remaining or fragments recovered from the earlier USAR demolition.
The Christchurch Club, like Christ's College, is almost unique in New Zealand; it maintains a continuous and original use by an original commissioning entity on an original site. Its members have resisted development proposals at numerous points in the Club's history, each time in favour of retaining and repairing or upgrading the original buildings. It is hoped that the restoration of the historic clubhouse will allow future generations to have the opportunity to experience the charm and intrigue of one of Mountfort's most well-loved and last remaining buildings in the city.
1856: Canterbury pastoralists form a gentlemen's club based on British models, to be called the Christchurch Club.
1858: A site on Latimer Square purchased for premises.
1859: Architect Benjamin Mountfort designs the new club a building.
1860-1862: Construction of the first phase of the building occurs
1863: Additions made by Mountfort.
1874-75: Further additions by architect Alexander Lean.
1966-68: Service rooms are demolished and replaced.
1985-86: Buttery and Manager's Flat added. Architect - Sir Miles Warren.
1991: Orangery added. Architect - Sir Miles Warren.
2011: The Christchurch Club premises sustain major damage in the February quake.