The Antigua Boats Sheds are such a great Christchurch icon and they are even more special for two other reasons: they are the only surviving 19th century river boat sheds built for commercial boat hire in New Zealand and secondly, the sheds are still doing just that, 135 years later (2017)!
The sheds were built in 1882 by two Lyttelton boat builders, Albert Shaw and J.T. Tidd. The boats that were up for hire were built on site, a tradition that has lasted over 100 years.
In 1907, fire ripped through the sheds and destroyed the western half of the buildings. The rebuild was quick and the surviving eastern end received a second story. It is believed that the stove used to steam the timber used for boat making was the cause, though not proven officially.
The sheds survived the quakes beautifully and have not stopped its hiring of boats to the public.
A rental bike service and a fine restaurant also call the Antigua Boat Sheds home today.
For a more in depth look at the Antigua Boat Sheds, please check out the following link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/the-antigua-boats-sheds/
* Image courtesy of Welcome Aboard – http://www.punting.co.nz/