Tucked away on the left hand side, as you head west on Yaldhurst Road and as the last of the houses give way to the paddocks of the Canterbury Plains, stands a monument to the working horse, to which without, man would have never tamed the wildness of Canterbury. From the very beginning, the horse and bullock broke the land and cattle and sheep put Canterbury on the industrial map – we were made on the backs and fleeces of these creatures.
Animals weren’t just kept in the paddocks and fields either but were also used in the city – pulling our trams, taxi cabs, drays and transporting our descendants from A to B on Christchurch’s earliest streets. Not sure whether this is about Christchurch or not but I have never forgotten hearing about today’s taxi drivers breaking the law every time that they work. In this so called by-law it states that every taxi driver is required to have a bale of hay aboard his cab so his horse also gets its lunch break too. This law has never been deleted and I hope it never does.
As early as 1855, the Canterbury Provincial Council – who were mainly gentlemen farmers themselves- always had the welfare and the industry of Canterbury’s animals in mind in all decisions. Whether there had been previous problems with drunk herdsmen attempting to round up wandering hoof stock or other colonies had passed on a lesson learned, those who wished to attain a license to open a public drinking establishment had to also think of the accompanying animal stock as well as serving the two legged consumers.
So here it goes, here was what had to be supplied by law in 1855 for a rural hotel:
- A weather tight shed with the ability to house six horses.
- A good supply of water for the house and all animals concerned.
- Oats and Hay were to be available for sale.
- A stockyard that could hold up to 50 cattle.
- A moveable sheep corral that could hold up to 2000 sheep.
I like these two laws too:
- Two burners had to be lighted from sunset to sunrise and had to be visible from a distance.
- The licensee was to be sworn in as a constable to help keep peace and order.
Odd to think that beyond Hagley Park was considered rural in those days (and decades after) but it wasn’t beyond the drinking hotels in Christchurch to supply at least a stable. The White Hart Hotel in Lichfield Street (1851) certainly did as well as the Bush Inn Tavern (1866) on Riccarton Road.