30 Drews Avenue And 3 Rutland Street, Whanganui
List Entry Information
List Entry Status
List Entry Type
Historic Place Category 2
Able to Visit
13th December 1990
Date of Effect
13th December 1990
Extent of List Entry
Extent includes the land described as Lot 1 A 594 (RT SRS 358025), Wellington Land District, and the building known as Cosmopolitan Club thereon, comprising the original 1900 building and 1911 extension. Refer to the extent map tabled at the Rārangi Kōrero Committee meeting on 30 May 2019.
Horizons (Manawatū-Whanganui) Region
Lot 1 A 594 (RT SRS 358025), Wellington Land District
Whanganui’s Cosmopolitan Club, built in 1900 and extended in 1910, possesses architectural significance as well-executed and intact example of the Italianate style. It represents the development of Whanganui as a regional centre and has historical significance for its long association with the working men’s club movement.
Whanganui is home to Ngāti Tūpoho, Ngāti Tūmango and Ngā Paerangi, hapū of Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi. Ngā Paerangi were early inhabitants and intermarried with the descents of Turi, captain of the ancestral waka Aotea. What became the city of Whanganui was the second settlement founded by English immigration firm the New Zealand Company after Wellington. Land was purchased in 1840 and the first Pākehā settlers arrived the following year. The purchase was contentious, with conflict occurring between Māori and Pākehā in the early years of the settlement, and the Whanganui region went onto become a major site of conflict during the New Zealand Wars period of the 1860s.
Following the end of conflict, Whanganui grew rapidly to become a regional centre over the last decades of the century. In 1893 the Whanganui Cosmopolitan Club, the town’s second working men’s club, was founded. British imports, these clubs were social and self-improvement organisations for working class men, with self-improvement receding over time in favour of drinking. ‘Commensurate with a daily increasing membership’, local architect William Pinches was commissioned to design a new club building, which opened on 18 August 1900.
Pinches’ two-storey building was Italianate, a style commonly used for social clubs throughout the British Empire. Characteristic features included the porticos, pediments over the ground floor windows, ornamented cornices and conspicuous chimneys. The curved roof was unusual on a New Zealand building. In 1910 a major extension designed by Whanganui architect George McLachlan doubled the size of the club. It shared many of the same decorative features of the 1900 section but the rusticated stonework around the ground floor windows and main entrance and increased use of pilasters were points of difference. Amenities included a library, reading room, a billiards room, a cards and games room, bowling greens and a bar. The cosmopolitan club was in residence until 1979, when a new building was opened on Ridgway Street.
The Cosmopolitan Club’s exterior is largely intact. One of the ground floor pediment windows of the 1900 building on the Rutland Street side has been partially replaced with a door and modern portico and the service lane arch of the 1910 wing has been covered over. In 1992 the top-lit space on the roof of the 1910 wing, originally the billiards room, was badly damaged by fire and replaced.
No biography is currently available for this construction professional
Roof of 1910 addition
16th September 2020
Report Written By
J Rolfe, In the club: a history of the Chartered Club movement in New Zealand; Celebrity Books, Auckland, 2000
Wanganui Cosmopolitan Club: Golden Jubilee (50 Years of Progress), Whanganui, Wanganui Chronicle Print, 1946.
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 Central Region Office of Heritage New Zealand.