Historical Significance or Value
The Naval and Family Hotel has historical significance as a licensed premises building in continuous use for over a century, and as a place continually occupied by a hostelry for nearly 150 years. It is also historically significant for its extended association with the Brodie family who were prominent members of Auckland's Roman Catholic community and for its association with colonial brewing company Ehrenfried and Campbell and that company's successors.
Aesthetic Significance or Value:
The Naval and Family Hotel has aesthetic significance for its ornate exterior, as a local landmark, and as a key component of Karangahape Road's visual streetscape.
Architectural Significance or Value:
The Naval and Family Hotel has architectural significance as a late-Victorian corner hotel designed in a decorative Italianate style, and as a possible example of the work of prolific Auckland architect Arthur P. Wilson.
Social Significance or Value:
The Naval and Family Hotel is important as a place of social gathering and interaction for almost 150 years.
(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:
The Naval and Family Hotel reflects important and representative aspects of New Zealand's history including attitudes towards alcohol and the adaptation of the premises to meet changes in social interaction and values associated with liquor consumption over the past century. The hotel reflects the development of Karangahape Road as a commercial centre on the fringe of Auckland's Central Business District in the latter decades of the nineteenth century, as a social venue for nearby workers and as accommodation for visitors to the city.
(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:
The place has some significance for its extended associations with the Brodie family, particularly Patrick Brodie (1868?-1941) a figure of regional significance in the local liquor trade, and with the colony's largest brewery Campbell and Ehrenfried Co. Ltd and its successor companies.
(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place:
A visually ornate structure with imposing facades to two street frontages, the building can be considered a notable example of late-Victorian corner pub design.
(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:
The place forms part of an important historical and cultural landscape in the Karangahape Road and upper Pitt Street area. The surrounding landscape is particularly significant as a well-preserved streetscape of commercial heritage character in Auckland's Central Business District. The landscape contains an unusually larger number of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century buildings including the Pitt Street Methodist Church, a former fire station (now the St John Ambulance National Office) and several retail buildings in the immediate vicinity.
Summary of Significance or Values:
This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: a, b, g, k.
It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category II historic place.
Early history of the site:
Prior to the establishment of Auckland as a colonial settlement in 1840, a track known as Te Ara o Karangahape was used by food-gathering parties travelling between the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours. Te Iringaorauru, near the current Karangahape Road and Symonds Street intersection, commemorates a place where the body of Rauru (a member of Ngati Whatua) was hung in a tree by Waiohua, an event said to have been a contributory cause of the Ngati Whatua conquest of Tamaki Makarau. After Auckland was established, the ridge along which Karangahape Road runs marked the formal southern extent of the colonial town. Karangahape Road itself was created in the 1840s. Its western end formed part of a route connecting the centre of commercial activity in the Queen Street gully with a major road heading north from the settlement - the Great North Road.
Early colonial activity on the ridge included the construction of a prestigious stone house by Auckland merchant David Nathan. The town cemetery was also laid out at its western end, near Partington's Flour Mill. Prior to 1851, land along the full length of the northern side of Karangahape Road was subdivided for sale by the Crown. Located on the corner between Karangahape Road and Pitt Street, the site on which the Naval and Family Hotel was later built was originally part of a Crown Grant of about 3,000 m² (three-quarters of an acre) made in 1855 to Thomas Henry a baker by trade. In April 1858 Henry conveyed his holding to Auckland solicitor Thomas Russell who after subdividing it sold two adjoining lots to innkeeper Patrick Darby (1833?-1910) in January 1861.
Construction of the first hotel:
A timber building later described as being of two storeys with a shingled roof was erected soon after Darby's purchase. In April 1862, the site was licensed to George Pearson as the Naval Hotel, by which time a structure was probably in place. A petition against the granting of a licence attracted the signatures of 90 local residents. Opposition from religious and other groups to licensed premises was a common feature of early colonial New Zealand, possibly partly due to uncommonly high levels of alcohol consumption among certain sectors of society. Pearson's public house (as it appeared in a sketch in 1865) was of a simple Georgian style with hipped roof. It had a centrally located arch-headed entrance from Pitt Street, square-headed windows, and a return balcony on the upper storey. A verandah on the upper storey of the north elevation offered views over the city and harbour.
Pearson purchased the property which included 'a dwelling house and buildings... known as the Naval Hotel', from Darby in May 1863. Prominently positioned to cater for travellers on Great North Road which commenced a short distance to the southwest, the Naval Hotel was the first hotel to be established in Karangahape Road. By 1866 it was just one of several licensed establishments located along the thoroughfare. In 1865 Pearson was advertising 'first-class accommodation and private apartments for families and single gentlemen'.
In 1867 the Naval Hotel was bought by Denis Markham following Pearson's default on the mortgage. During the 1870s and 1880s more intensive urban settlement moved towards Upper Queen Street and Pitt Street, spreading along the Karangahape Road and Newton ridges. In the early 1880s numerous blocks of new shops were crammed together on Karangahape Road, 'so that the utmost farthing could be wrung from the land'. Capitalising on the demand for retail sites, Markham subdivided his property in 1882. That part occupied by the hotel, by this time known as the Naval and Family, was sold to Coromandel hotelkeeper Patrick Brodie (?-1897). This commenced an eight-decade association between the establishment and the well-known Auckland family.
A survey plan prepared in 1882 shows the hotel as a T-shaped building aligned to Pitt Street with a separate structure facing Karangahape Road. On the same plot are two timber structures fronting Pitt Street to the north of the hotel. From 1884, newly introduced horse trams passed the hotel's Pitt Street and Karangahape Road frontages en route to Ponsonby. A decade later the configuration of buildings on the hotel site appears to have changed little. Structures to the west and north of the hotel are identified as 'shops'. On 21 December 1894, the Pitt Street shops were burnt down and the greater part of the hotel destroyed. Contemporary accounts described the hotel as being a timber building with a brick section, the latter presumably being added after 1882. Estimated damage to the hotel was £2,000 there being insufficient water available to extinguish the blaze.
Construction of the current hotel:
A replacement structure appears to have been erected on the prominent corner site between February 1895 and February 1896. Unlike the previous structure, the new building was constructed of brick.
At least two alternative blueprints for the new building were drawn up by prolific Auckland architect Arthur Wilson (1851-1937). Wilson had arrived from London in 1880 and was to design many commercial buildings in the heart of Auckland in the three decades commencing from the late 1880s. Both his preliminary drawings were for a three-storeyed structure with a corner bay and turret. During the 1880s Auckland experienced a hotel construction boom, fuelled in part by the stringent requirements of liquor licensing committees administering the Licensing Act 1881. It was not unknown for entrepreneurs to include a feature such as a tower in building plans for their hotels, even if such focal points were not actually built. As constructed, the Naval and Family did not adopt the turret and the overall design was more Italianate than that originally conceived by Wilson. It was nevertheless built in a highly decorative and visually impressive style, reflecting the prevailing desire of hotel owners to display their premises as useful additions to the streetscape at a time when supporters of alcohol prohibition held strong public backing.
The building featured imposing facades to both street frontages. The prominently-located corner entrance to the public bar was balanced by the guest entrance on Karangahape Road and a formal entrance on Pitt Street. There also appears to have been a subsidiary entrance on Karangahape Road, and a narrow, service entrance at the east end of the Pitt Street façade. Apart from the public bar, the ground floor is likely to have accommodated a dining room, lounges and a more intimate parlour bar. Guest accommodation would have been provided on the upper floors.
The contractor for the project was Yorkshire-born builder Thomas Julian (1843-1921). Actively involved in local body politics as a councillor and later as chair of the Auckland Harbour Board, Julian had arrived in Auckland in 1883 and was to develop a sizeable construction firm.
Subsequent use and development:
In 1895, the year of owner Patrick Brodie's death, the land formerly occupied by the hotel and two shops facing Pitt Street was subdivided leaving the southern portion of the holding as the hotel site. The Naval and Family Hotel was leased to Ehrenfried Brothers, a firm that merged shortly after with John Logan Campbell's enterprise to form the largest brewery concern in the colony. At this time brewers were increasingly buying hotels and taking over the leases of others to secure outlets in a competitive market. The Naval and Family underwent alteration less than three years after its completion with the installation of a large circular bar to better accommodate customers and enhance the appearance of rooms connected with it.
Brodie's son, also named Patrick (1868?-1941), subleased the hotel back from Campbell and Ehrenfried for eleven years from 1915, the first of two consecutive leases he took of the establishment. In 1924, the freehold of the property was transferred to the younger Brodie and his siblings Matthew (the Bishop of Christchurch and the Roman Catholic Church's first New Zealand-born bishop) and Mary Darby. Two years later the Naval and Family was transferred to Brodie Properties.
Patrick Brodie was a prominent figure in the local liquor trade and an office-holder in the United Licensed Victuallers Association which is now the Hospitality Association of New Zealand. The Association had formed in 1902 as a voluntary trade organisation for the hospitality sector during a period of comprehensive regulation of the liquor trade when triennial local options polls came close to achieving national prohibition. Brodie stepped down from the national presidency of the Association in 1922 when the Auckland branch seceded from the national body concerned at the latter's perceived lack of effort in ensuring that prohibition did not resurface as a major issue in the elections of 1925. Brodie retired from the industry early in the 1930s following the difficult depression years during which many hoteliers reduced their beer prices in bars in an effort to keep customers and remain in business.
In 1936 the Naval and Family Hotel was leased to New Zealand Breweries, who later bought the property in 1962. Conversion of a network of rooms and connecting corridors at ground floor level to two large rooms, a public and a private bar, was proposed - probably in the 1930s. The public bar was served by a large island-shaped counter and the private bar by a smaller, horseshoe counter. The alterations designed by the architect Daniel B. Patterson were probably built before January 1937, when floor traps in the public bar were inserted. Changes also appear to have been made to the ground floor toilets, and additional ablution and toilet facilities were added at first floor level. The guests' entrance appears to have been relocated to the west end of the Karangahape Road façade and the public bar's distinctive corner entrance converted to a window by this time. Some time before 1940, a verandah with pressed metal ceiling was added along the footpaths on both frontages.
In 1960, commencing a decade which brought far-reaching changes to an industry facing increasing competition from chartered clubs and restaurants, application was made to 'carry out alterations to Lounge Bar' of the Naval and Family to the value of ₤1945. The building's staircase appears to have been replaced around this time. By 1964, the first floor area of the hotel was being used as a lounge bar, and mostly comprised a large open space. This facility may have been created or enlarged as part of the work done four years earlier. Changes undertaken in 1964 appear to have included provision of downstairs women's toilets for the first time. These were accessed from a passage between the public and private bars, and their small size contrasts with the two larger male facilities accessed directly from each bar area. The second floor still retained guest rooms. By 1972, however, the establishment had become the Naval and Family Tavern, Licensing Control Commission requirements that city hotels provide a prescribed minimum of 10 rooms for guest accommodation having eventually given way as taverns increasingly gained acceptance. A narrow area towards the western end of the hotel's Karangahape Road frontage providing for 'bottle sales' in 1978 may have served this function from 1964 or earlier. While the building's external appearance above verandah level remained little altered, the lower storey of the Karangahape Road and Pitt Street facades was modernised with the introduction of large metal framed windows, modern doors and tiling to the exterior.
In 1995 the Naval and Family, one of a dwindling number of Victorian-era corner hotels in Auckland's Central Business District (CBD), was purchased from Lion Nathan (the successor to New Zealand Breweries) by private individuals. By 2005, the division between pubic and private bars had been removed and a single space created. Alterations in 2006 prior to renaming of the establishment as 'The Crest Hotel' included a re-facing of main facades at ground floor level and reintroduction of sash windows. Ground floor toilets were relocated westward to make room for a kitchen which served bars on the ground and first floors via new rear stairway. On the first floor a small deck was developed over the former toilet area to accommodate alfresco drinking and an outdoor area for smoking.
The Naval and Family Hotel is located on the Karangahape Road ridge in the southern part of Auckland's CBD. Karangahape Road is a major east-west thoroughfare connecting the suburbs of Grafton, Newton and Ponsonby, and contains a very large number of late nineteenth and early twentieth century buildings. Although the western end of Karangahape Road has been modified by the construction of a major motorway, the remainder forms the best-preserved streetscape of commercial heritage character in the CBD. The special character of the Karangahape ridge has been recognised by the Auckland City Council in its District Plan provisions.
The Naval and Family Hotel occupies a corner site at the crossroads between Karangahape Road and Pitt Street, another major thoroughfare linking the ridge with the western part of the CBD. Buildings of late nineteenth or early twentieth century date occupy the holdings that comprise the four convergent points of this node, a key focal point of the precinct.
The site comprises 266 m² on the northwest corner of the junction. The hotel covers the whole of the legal title. The building is an ornate three-storey structure fronting directly onto the pavements of both streets. It is a significant local landmark, adjoining structures of lesser height to the north and west which reinforce the building's visual prominence. Archaeological deposits associated with the earlier hotel on the site may survive beneath parts of the current structure. It is unclear whether a basement within the eastern section of the hotel incorporates elements belonging to this earlier activity. Numerous places of recognised heritage value lie in the immediate vicinity of the site, including George Courts (Apartment Building) (NZHPT Registration # 580, Category II historic place), and the H.B. Building (NZHPT Registration # 586, Category II historic place) both located in Karangahape Road; the Pitt Street Buildings (NZHPT Registration # 625, Category II historic place), Pitt Street Methodist Church (NZHPT Registration # 626, Category II historic place) and St John Ambulance National Offices (NZHPT Registration # 117, Category I historic place) all located in Pitt Street.
The main structure of the hotel is rendered brick, and is Italianate in design. The main facades have a verandah at street level and round-headed windows at first and second floor levels. The building has a complex multi-gabled roof, clad with corrugated iron. The three main gable ends and adjoining pilasters connected by a balustraded parapet are topped with decorative orbs. The southeast corner of the building is tapered to address the street junction and incorporates a gabled parapet with relief lettering, 'The Naval and Family Hotel'. The main ground floor façades incorporate large recently installed sash windows and four main doorways. The position of two of the doorways is marked above by triangular elements incorporated into the architrave between first and second floor level. The main facades are otherwise embellished with ornate cornices and fluted pilasters. Compared with the exterior of the ground floor and uppermost storey, the second storey is more lavishly detailed with decorative plasterwork in the arches of the window heads.
Other than for a pair of rectangular chimneys on each, the facades at the west and northeast ends of the hotel's second floor are plain. The western section of the rear (north) wall has a number of window openings, some infilled with smaller aluminium windows insertions, others retaining timber frames and casement or sash windows. The cladding of the west-face of the upper floor has wall-board secured by random battens suggesting the infilling of a small timber framed area on the building exterior, perhaps circa 1940s.
The building interior incorporates an underground basement; a bar gaming room, toilets and a kitchen on the ground floor; an office, bar and toilets on the first floor; and staff accommodation on the second floor. The main stairway between the three floors is not an original feature.
The basement, which is accessed by a steep flight of (possibly concrete) stairs consists of a series of interconnected spaces and has plastered walls. There is evidence of one bricked up arch-headed external opening, and the shadow of a former stairway.
At ground-floor level is a recently fitted out bar and a gaming room. Kitchen, toilet and bar facilities are very modern. Three chamfered concrete columns, visible in the public bar are original structural elements. Suspended ceilings recently installed on the first and second floors conceal board and batten timber ceilings and ornate ceiling roses. At ground floor-level they hide simple leadlight windows.
On the first floor is a modern bar with new toilets, small outdoor deck and internal back stairway to the ground floor. The two outer walls are unlined exposing bricks laid in English bond. Original sash windows have plain metal pulls.
Off the north side of the dog-leg hall on the second floor are modern ablution and laundry facilities and one habitable room. On the south and east side of the hall, architraves, skirtings and doors with scratch-plates appear to be original features. The basic form of a hall arch and a board and batten ceiling survives in the northeast wing. The interiors of the rooms on this level were not inspected.
Construction of timber building possibly with cellar
Post 1882. Brick addition
Demolished - prior building
Demolition of building following destruction by fire
1895 - 1896
Current brick building erected
Large circular bar installed (ground floor level)
Pre-1937? Removal of small rooms, install horseshoe and island serving counters (ground floor level)
Pre-1940. Verandah added to Karangahape Road and Pitt Street frontages
Pre-1965. Conversion of first floor into lounge bar
Division between public and private bars removed
Concrete foundations, columns and beams, brick walls, timber floors, corrugated iron roof, plastered brick basement
16th October 2008
Report Written By
Martin Jones and Joan McKenzie
Auckland Weekly News
Auckland Weekly News
10 June 1882, p.28(3)
18 April 1862, p.4(2)
18 April 1862, p. 4(2); 1 September 1862, p. 1(2); 18 October 1865, p. 1(3)
Bill Brien, 100 Years of Hospitality in New Zealand: The People, the Politics, the Passion, Wellington, 2003
Nicholas Reid, James Michael Liston: A Life, Auckland, 2006
A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Northern Region Office
Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.