Queen's Hotel (Former)

115 Thames Street and Wear Street, OAMARU

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Rising from the ashes of an earlier building the Queen’s Hotel (Former) sitting on its prominent corner site on Thames Street in Oamaru is one of Forrester and Lemon’s exuberant designs which reflect the prosperity of Oamaru in the early 1880s. The first Queen’s Hotel was built in the mid-1870s but was severely damaged by fire with the loss of one life in 1880. Owner James Markham was determined to build a new edifice which would reflect the standing of the business in Oamaru. Forrester and Lemon, who also designed the earlier Northern Hotel and the Criterion Hotel, were outstandingly significant in their contribution to Oamaru’s White Stone buildings. Markham owned the hotel until the mid-1880s when it was taken over by Robert T. Waters. Waters undertook ‘extensive renovations’ in 1888 before the licence was transferred to Alexander Johnston in 1889. The new century saw a profound change in the circumstances of the hotel when Oamaru voted ‘No-License’ effective in 1906. The Queen’s Hotel lost its licence along with other licensed premises. The building became known as the Queen’s Private Hotel throughout the first half of the century. In 1962, on the return of licensing in Oamaru, the Oamaru Licensing Trust bought the property and renamed it the Brydone Hotel, a name it retains in 2012. The Queen’s Hotel is a two-storey building on the corner of Wear and Thames Streets in the main shopping street of Oamaru, notable for its surviving Victorian streetscape. In common with hotel designs of the time it was located on a corner site, with access to the bar, lounge and dining room on the ground floor, and the first floor was taken up with bedrooms. Forrester and Lemon’s Criterion Hotel formed the basis for all later designs and many of their commercial buildings – the façade was divided into bays which ran through two floors, there were arched windows, with doorways marked by distinct window decoration. The Queen’s Hotel was, according to McCarthy ‘the best of their hotels’ and ranked as ‘one of their finest commercial buildings’. The Queen’s Hotel (Former) has significance as an important element in the Victorian townscape of Oamaru and as one of Forrester and Lemon’s designs. Architecturally the building represents the heyday of Oamaru illustrated in the exuberant architecture of the period. As a hotel the building has provided a social gathering place and accommodation for over 120 years and so has historical and social significance. In 2012 the former Queen’s Hotel is known as the Kingsgate Hotel Brydone Oamaru and continues to provide accommodation, dining and a meeting place in its central Oamaru location.

Queen's Hotel (Former) aka - Brydone Hotel, Oamaru. Image courtesy of www.flickr.com | PhilBee NZ - Phil Braithwaite | 09/04/2012 | Phil Braithwaite
Queen's Hotel (Former) aka - Brydone Hotel, Oamaru. Decorative figure and columns in the dining room. March 2012 | Heather Bauchop | Heritage New Zealand
Queen's Hotel (Former) aka - Brydone Hotel, Oamaru. Undated, North Otago Museum, NOM 1206 | Unknown | North Otago Museum



List Entry Information


Detailed List Entry



List Entry Status

Historic Place Category 2


Private/No Public Access

List Number


Date Entered

10th October 2012

Date of Effect

10th October 2012

City/District Council

Waitaki District


Otago Region

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Sec 16 and Pt Sec 15 Blk IV Town of Oamaru (RT OT222/239), Otago Land District and the building known as the Queen's Hotel (Former) thereon. The registration does not include the 1975 extension. (Refer to map in Appendix 1 of the registration report for further information).

Legal description

Sec 16 and Pt Sec 15 Blk IV Town of Oamaru (RT OT222/239), Otago Land District

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