The Gladstone Hotel

The Gladstone Hotel was built on the site of the Devonshire Arms on the south-east corner of Durham and Peterborough Streets in 1876. One of the city’s longest-lasting hotels, it held the dubious distinction of hosting the last post-mortem before the Christchurch City Council opened a purpose-built mortuary in 1901.

Gordons poster. Designer: John Halversen. In copyright. CCL-Posters-Music-80s-31
Gordons poster. Designer: John Halversen. In copyright. CCL-Posters-Music-80s-31

Fame as a music venue

The hotel had a series of owners over the years and was purchased in November 1970 by Dominion Breweries. It was during that decade that it became, according to The Press, ‘a meeting place for all the young people who like to listen to up-tempo music and dance to their hearts’ content’1.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s the pub was the hub of the home-grown music scene, featuring live bands most nights. The Gladstone hosted a plethora of local bands such as the Gordons, the Clean, the Verlaines and the Vauxhalls. International acts such as Nick Cave, The Saints and Jonathan Richman also played there. Christchurch band Fat Sally were later resident at the pub for many years.

In 1985 the accommodation part of the hotel closed and it became the Gladstone Tavern. In 1990 it became the Durham Arms. The building survived an early morning arson attack in 2003, but was eventually demolished in 2005 to make way for a new office building, although parts of the original structure were incorporated in the new building.

Pin Group. Designed by Ronnie Van Hout. In copyright. CCL-Posters-Music-80s-15
Pin Group. Designed by Ronnie Van Hout. In copyright. CCL-Posters-Music-80s-15

Do you remember this venue?

Do you have memories of going to events or gigs at this venue? We’d like you to share your stories so that we can add to our archive of stories about the development of Christchurch’s music scene. Email us with your story.


[1]. 27 July 1972 p5 cited in Steven Symons’ The Watering Holes.

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See also

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