Rutland Hotel

Rutland 1The building now housing the Rutland Arms was built in 1903 as a substantial addition to the brick part of the hotel constructed in 1899. The hotel and office additions were designed by Alfred Atkins and built by Russell and Bignell for £12,000. Government Life Insurance moved into their new Ridgway Street office in January 1904, placing their coat of arms on the gable above their premises – where it remains today. The hotel itself had more than 50 bedrooms, a dining room with conservatory, bars and a billiard room. The name “Rutland Hotel” inset into the marble steps of the Avenue entrance is a reminder of the hotel which was one of Whanganui’s best loved watering holes. The building was saved from demolition in the early 1990s and altered to provide new shops and offices as well as the pub.

In 1847 a stockade was built on Queen’s Park to house the 58th Rutlandshire Regiment. In April 1850, Major Wyatt of the 65th Yorkshire Regiment, acting as Resident Magistrate, issued a licence for the “Rutland Hotel” to Cornelius Campion, a discharged soldier who later became a farmer. Other early licensees were John Gotty and an ex-Royal Artillery sergeant, WS Russell, who is often credited with building the first Rutland Hotel which he began advertising in the Taranaki Herald in February 1859. This hotel burnt down on Christmas Day 1868 while it was run by Peter Chavannes, who promptly rebuilt it and then went bankrupt. Chavannes later sold out to Frank Evans, who had to rebuild the hotel again after another fire in August 1880. Fires continued to feature in the history of the Rutland with a gas explosion in 1910 and another Christmas Day fire in 1947, after which the top floor of the corner building was removed.