Miller’s Temperance Hotel (Former)

20 Ross Place, Lawrence

  • Miller’s Temperance Hotel (Former). 1993. Image included in Field Record Form Collection.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand . Taken By: Lois Galer.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 5213 Date Entered 19th April 1990


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Sec 10 and Sec 43 Blk XLII, Town of Lawrence (CT OT226/2 and OT205/152), Otago Land District, and the buildings known as Miller’s Temperance Hotel (Former), thereon.

City/District Council

Clutha District


Otago Region

Legal description

Sec 10 and Sec 43 Blk XLII, Town of Lawrence (CT OT226/2 and OT205/152), Otago Land District


Built in 1886 as Miller’s Temperance Hotel, this two-storey brick building on the main street of Lawrence, has historical and architectural significance as it provides a reminder of the nineteenth century temperance movement, and of the provision of travellers’ accommodation.

Hotelier James Chalmers was the first grantee of this land. Chalmers was a resident at nearby Wetherstons in the 1860s and in later years ran Lawrence’s Royal George Hotel. Bootmaker John Davidson bought the land in January 1873 for £200. Davidson had a ‘shop and dwelling on Ross Place, later widening his trade to include drapery and other goods.

The property was sold to Samuel Miller in 1886. In January 1887, the Tuapeka Times reported that Mr Miller was building a ‘temperance hotel’ on Ross Place, one of two new brick buildings being built at that time, that were ‘of an imposing character, and [would] greatly improve the appearance of the street.’ The Miller’s hotel presumably had an owner’s apartment, accommodation and space for shops - painter B. Winn’ advertised his shop in ‘Miller’s Temperance Buildings’ in 1891. Temperance was one of the ‘most divisive social issues in the late nineteenth century – social reformers argued that alcohol was the cause of many social ills, and urged abstinence and prohibition, a movement that was gaining momentum in the 1880s.

Samuel’s wife, Mary Miller (nee Walpole) (1834-1898) seems to have run the business. There had been calls for a temperance hotel in Lawrence in the mid-1870s, with a correspondent of the Tuapeka Times writing that there was nowhere in Lawrence to stay for a person of such sober habits. Mrs Miller was involved in the temperance cause, running a coffee stall at the United Bands of Hope Picnic in 1881. She also had her own business as a confectioner, fruiter and coffee room proprietor. On Mary’s death, Frederick Miller offered the property for sale, describing the ‘desirable BRICK PREMISES in Ross Place, Lawrence, carried on by the late Mary Miller as a Temperance Hotel and Dining Room.’

The former hotel is a two storeyed structure with a shop to the street front and what would have been living space above, and a veranda to Ross Place. Constructed from double-brick, it has fire walls to either side and a corrugated iron hipped roof. Three double hung timber-framed windows with plaster surrounds, are spaced on the top storey, with a dentil course above. Plastered brick posts frame the shop windows. This is one of the significant nineteenth century buildings on Ross Place, and as the only two storey building on the north side of Ross Place it provides an important reminder of the scale of earlier buildings. There are single storey buildings to the rear.

Dunedin draper Harry Winmill bought the hotel in 1898 and converted it to a ‘First-class Draper’s Shop,’ advertising his new premises and the ‘extensive alterations and additions made.’ He opened his drapery on 16 January 1899. After Harry Winmill’s death the business was run by his son Harry Noel Winmill. In 1929, Dunedin tailor Robert Anderson took over the business, which continued to operate as Winmill’s Drapery until the mid-1960s when it began trading as Winmills General Store. In later years, it has been home to a hardware store.

In 2015, Miller’s Temperance Hotel (Former) is home to retail premises.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Miller, Samuel Augustus

Samuel Augustus Miller (1830-1910)

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1886 -

1898 -
Conversion to drapery store

Completion Date

7th July 2015

Report Written By

Heather Bauchop

Other Information

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.

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Otago/Southland Office of Heritage New Zealand