On 15th March 1856, 12 gentlemen farmers founded The Christchurch Club. Referred to as ‘The Club’ at first, it started its life in a leased building in Durham Street. Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort drew up a design for a clubhouse which resulted in the building of their pre-earthquake location at 154 Worchester Street in 1863 – some of the property facing Latimer Square.
Designed to be a gentleman’s town retreat, it catered to those members who farmed rurally. While they were dealing with their business in town, attending the races or the A & P Show, they had a place of luxury to stay. With strictly no women or children allowed, the families of the members would usually stay at The Occidental (both buildings pictured here) which was once situated a block over on Hereford Street. In its latter years, The Occidental served as a backpackers and was demolished in 2010.
Additions were made in 1863 by Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort; 1874 and 1985 also saw further extensions and restoration. It was badly damaged in the 2010/2011 earthquakes and is currently closed. Sadly, about 75% of the clubhouse had to be taken down and oddly enough it is the original Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort section that has survived.
*image courtesy of W.T. MacAlister – http://wtmacalister.com*