This substantial corner building was constructed in 1919 as offices for the Wanganui Jockey Club, one of New Zealand’s oldest sporting organisations. Soldiers of the regiments garrisoned in Whanganui helped to organise the first race meeting here in December 1848 on a sandy area outside town that later became the Wanganui Racecourse. Today the Wanganui Jockey Club is the oldest racing club in New Zealand that still uses its original grounds.
At the end of the First World War, Whanganui experienced a building boom when a number of new shops and offices were constructed. The Scottish-born architect, George Maclachlan, designed this building for the Jockey Club to serve as offices for the club and other organisations whose premises could be accessed by the separate St Hill Street entrance. The two-storey building, constructed by AG Bignell for £4,911, was completed by early 1920. The ground floor had two strong rooms, one for the use of the Jockey Club whose Board Room was located on the first floor. Other early tenants of the building included the Whanganui College Board of Trustees and the Matipo Land & Building Company. Local accountant, Stan McCallum, had his offices here by the 1940s.
In 1986 the building was renovated extensively for its new use as a Chinese restaurant. At this time the distinctive pagoda-style portico was built on the corner to serve as the entrance to the restaurant. Raymond and Eileen Ng named their new restaurant the Beijing and it was opened in October 1986 by the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Zhang Longhai.