Columbia Private Hotel

Lloyd’s Hotel, Columbia Apartments; 30 Cuba Street, 32 Cuba Street, 34 Cuba Street, 36 Cuba Street

30-38 Cuba Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Map
  • Constructed

    1908 - 1908

  • Builder(s)

    E and A Reynall

  • The Columbia Private Hotel is a particularly good representative example of a grand Edwardian hotel. It is notable for its strongly modelled and symmetrical street-façade.

    The primary historic value of the building derives from the fact that it was built as, and remained, a private hotel for over 80 years.

    The building also has historic value for its association with the Dwan Brothers, who were well-connected and successful Wellington businessmen. It was designed by prominent local architect J. M. Dawson.

    The buildings ornate Edwardian Classical façade, distinctive for its strong modelling and symmetrical composition, makes a significant contribution to the lower Cuba Street townscape, and the Cuba Street Heritage Area.

  • close History
    • The Columbia Private Hotel c 1930 (ATL, Ref: 1/1-015621-F)

      The Columbia Private Hotel was designed by J.M. Dawson and was built for the Dwan Brothers in 1908.

      The Dwan Brothers entered into business together in 1879 as hotel brokers and land and commission agents. Based on Willis Street, the business was very successful over the next forty odd years. The brothers became some of Wellington’s most prominent business men of the time, and were also known as successful racehorse owners and breeders.

      The Columbia Private Hotel opened in January 1909 and boasted every modern convenience, such as: hot water, a night and day porter, heaters throughout the bedrooms, and an electric elevator. The front portion of the building was five storeys high with a roof top garden which had a commanding view of the city and harbour. The back portion was six storeys high, with the extra storey accommodating the kitchen and servants quarters. On the ground floor there were three large shops which were let out to various tenants. A spacious lounge hall led to a 100 person dining hall at the rear of the building. The hotel had over 90 bedrooms, twelve bathrooms, and several smoking, sitting and writing rooms.

      The hotel operated as the ‘Columbia Private Hotel’ until it was sold in 1938 and reopened as ‘Lloyd’s Hotel’. Lloyd’s Hotel made the news in February 1940 when a fire broke out and a young waitress employed at the hotel was killed. It was thought the fire started on the ground floor and spread quickly throughout the floors above, via the disused dumb-waiter shaft and a stairwell. Ownership changed hands in 1947 and again in 1965, and from the 1970s the hotel was again known as the Columbia Hotel.

      The building has undergone several alterations, the most notable being its conversion to apartments in 1995, with two further floors of apartments added in 1999. The ground floor has been converted to retail, with a new shop front being added.

    • Modifications close
      • 1908
      • Building constructed (00053:143:7955)
      • 1940
      • Building damaged by fire
      • 1942
      • Erect parapet (00056:277:B22383)
      • 1943
      • Reinstatement after earthquake (00056:287:B22987)
      • 1966
      • Alterations (00058:477:C20540)
      • 1995
      • Building and alterations, hotel converted to apartments, extension with balcony added (00061:102:13313)
      • 1999
      • Addition of two new floors - levels 5 and 6 added (00078:435:52921, 00078:435:54180)
      • 2008
      • Repairs (00078:3370:171403)
      • 2010
      • Remove and replace existing shop front window (00078:3898:204472)
    • Occupation History close
      • 1909 - 1938
      • Columbia Private Hotel Columbia Private Hotel (Stones 1910-11, 1915-16, 1920, 1925, 1930, 1935)
      • 1938 - c.1968
      • Lloyd's Private Hotel cLloyd's Private Hotel (Stones1940, 1945, Wises195051, 1955, 196162, 196768)
      • c.1968 - c.1990
      • Columbia HotelMotel ccColumbia HotelMotel (Wises197172, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990)
      • 1995
      • Converted to apartments
  • close Architectural Information
    • Building Classification(s) close

      Not assessed

    • Architecture close

      The Columbia Hotel is a five-storey building with an ornate Edwardian Classical façade. The building was converted to apartments in 1995, and is now capped by a somewhat graceless modern roof-top addition that dates from c.1999.

      The original five-storey hotel is distinctive for its strong modelling and symmetrical composition, with three vertical bays divided by rusticated pilasters at the sides and fluted pilasters to the central bay. Below the verandah, the original shop-fronts have been replaced. Above the verandah, the façade is divided into three principal storeys and a fourth storey above a strongly projecting cornice. The cornice is supported on large corbels atop the pilasters dividing the bays, with small consoles between. The windows to the first floor are arched with heavy architraves under elegant curved second-floor balconies; in the centre is an angular oriel window. At the second floor, the windows are square on the sides, with a pair of arched windows in the centre. The third floor windows are all square with the central windows letting out to a square balcony. Above the cornice is an entablature of sorts (where evidently a substantial original parapet has been partly removed).

    • Materials close

      The construction is load-bearing brick masonry on concrete foundations and piles, with timber floor joists.

    • Setting close

      The Columbia Hotel is on the western side of lower Cuba Street, between Wakefield and Manners Street. Its strong modelling makes a significant contribution to the lower Cuba Street townscape.

      The immediate area has a heterogeneous mix of buildings of different ages, scales, types and styles which assemble to create a varied and interesting streetscape.

      The building is flanked to the south by the former MED building, a sparsely detailed ‘60s modernist alteration of an original 1920s building of a similar height to the Columbia but only five storeys. Immediately to the north of the Columbia Hotel is a modern temporary two-storey building, which is too small in scale for its site and breaks the street edge with a projecting bay above ground level.

  • close Cultural Value

    The Columbia Private Hotel is a particularly good representative example of a grand Edwardian hotel. It is notable for its strongly modelled and symmetrical street-façade.

    The primary historic value of the building derives from the fact that it was built as, and remained, a private hotel for over 80 years.

    The building also has historic value for its association with the Dwan Brothers, who were well-connected and successful Wellington businessmen. It was designed by prominent local architect J. M. Dawson.

    The buildings ornate Edwardian Classical façade, distinctive for its strong modelling and symmetrical composition, makes a significant contribution to the lower Cuba Street townscape, and the Cuba Street Heritage Area.

    • Aesthetic Value close
      • Architectural

        Does the item have architectural or artistic value for characteristics that may include its design, style, era, form, scale, materials, colour, texture, patina of age, quality of space, craftsmanship, smells, and sounds?

        The Columbia Private Hotel is a particularly good representative example of a grand Edwardian hotel. It is notable for its strongly modelled and symmetrical street-façade.

      • Group

        Is the item part of a group of buildings, structures, or sites that taken together have coherence because of their age, history, style, scale, materials, or use?

        The building is one of a group of Edwardian commercial buildings which make a positive contribution to the character of the Cuba Street Heritage Area.

      • Townscape

        Does the item have townscape value for the part it plays in defining a space or street; providing visual interest; its role as a landmark; or the contribution it makes to the character and sense of place of Wellington?

        The building is one of the grand and ornate Edwardian Classical buildings that is typical of, and contributes to the character and sense of place of, the northern end of the Cuba Street Heritage Area.

    • Historic Value close
      • Association

        Is the item associated with an important historic event, theme, pattern, phase, or activity?

        The building also has historic value for its association with the strong growth and development of Cuba Street during the Edwardian period, which resulted in the building of many fine commercial buildings.

      • Association

        Is the item associated with an important person, group, or organisation?

        The primary historical value of the building derives from the fact that it was built as, and remained, a private hotel for over 80 years.

        The building has historic value for its connection to the Dwan Brothers, who were well-connected and successful Wellington businessmen.

        It was designed by prominent local architect J. M. Dawson.

    • Scientific Value close
      • Archaeological

        Does the item have archaeological value for its ability to provide scientific information about past human activity?

        The building is located in the Central City archaeological site reference NZAA R27/270.

    • Social Value close
      • Identity Sense Of Place Continuity

        Is the item a focus of community, regional, or national identity? Does the item contribute to sense of place or continuity?

        This building is part of a group of Edwardian commercial buildings on Cuba Street which contribute to the sense of place and continuity of the Cuba Street Heritage Area.

    • Level of Cultural Heritage Significance close
      • Authentic

        Does the item have authenticity or integrity because it retains significant fabric from the time of its construction or from later periods when important additions or modifications were carried out?

        The façade of this building retains a high level of architectural authenticity, despite modifications to the ground floor shop front and the addition of two extra storeys.

      • Representative

        Is the item a good example of the class it represents?

        The Columbia Private Hotel is a good example of a grand Edwardian hotel.

      • Importance

        Is the item important for any of the above characteristics at a local, regional, national, or international level?

        This building is of local importance for its contribution to the Cuba Street Heritage Area.

    • Local / Regional / National / International Importance close

      Not assessed

  • close Site Detail
    • District Plan Number

      17/ 72/1

    • Legal Description

      Lot 1 DP 85816

    • Heritage New Zealand Listed

      2/ Historic Place 3636 and Cuba Street Historic Area

    • Archaeological Site

      Central City NZAA R27/270

    • Current Uses

      unknown

    • Former Uses

      unknown

    • Has building been funded

      Yes

    • Funding Amount

      $3,000.00

    • Funding Details

      July 2011 - Grant of $3,000 awarded as a contribution towards washing the building façade.

      Funding Type: Preservation/Other.

    • Earthquake Prone Status

      Not Earthquake Prone

  • close Additional Information
    • Sources close
      • Historic Places Trust, “Dawson, Joseph McClatchie.”, Professional Biographies, accessed 4 September 2012,
      • Kelly, Michael, and Russell Murray, Cuba Street Heritage Area Report (Wellington City Council: Unpublished report, prepared for Plan Change 48, 2006), 28.
      • Wellington City Council, “36-38 Cuba Street,” Wellington Heritage Building Inventory 2001: Non-Residential Buildings. (Wellington City Council, 2001), CUBA 2.
      • Wellington City Council, Cuba Street Heritage Area spreadsheet (blocks 1-3). (Wellington City Council: Unpublished report, prepared for Plan Change 48, 2006).
      • Newspapers: “Another Private Hotel,” Progress, Volume III, Issue 8, 1 June 1908, Page 276
      • Newspapers: Evening Post, Volume LXXVII, Issue 9, 12 January 1909, Page 2
      • Newspapers: Dominion, Volume 2, Issue 463, 23 March 1909, Page 6
      • Newspapers: “Mr. T. B. Dwan,” Evening Post, Volume CXV, Issue 77, 1 April 1933, Page 12
      • Newspapers: “Obituary”, Evening Post, Volume CXXIII, Issue 125, 28 May 1937, Page 11
      • Newspapers: “Fire Tragedy,” Evening Post, Volume CXXIX, Issue 35, 10 February 1940, Page 12
    • Technical Documentation close
    • Footnotes close

      Not available

Last updated: 20/04/2017 3:59:50 a.m.