Shamrock Hotel

Shamrock Tavern, Indus restaurant

224 Tinakori Road, Thorndon, Wellington
Map
  • Constructed

    1893

  • Architect(s)

    Peter Frank Jacobson

  • Builder(s)

  • The Shamrock has architectural value as one of the oldest remaining hotel buildings in Wellington - although it no longer fulfils this purpose. It is a now rare example of a two-storey hotel, built on a prominent corner site – a once a common building type in Wellington and New Zealand. 

    The hotel/ tavern has been associated with the hospitality trade for over a century and for much of its history was a special place for those of Irish descent in Wellington. It was also well patronised by residents of Thorndon and the wider city, including members of Parliament. 

    Although relocated from its original site in the early 1980s, the building shares similarities of age, typology, materials, use and history as its Thorndon neighbours, and now sits well within the context of historic Thorndon. 

  • close History
    • The Shamrock Hotel is one of Wellington’s oldest remaining hotels, although no longer fulfilling its role as a public hotel. It is a now rare example of a two-storey timber hotel, built on a prominent corner site, that was once a common building type in Wellington, and indeed more widely in a number of New Zealand towns and cities. It was relocated to Tinakori Road from its original site in c.1981.

      The Shamrock Hotel, or The Shamrock Tavern, was for 90 years was sited on the corner of Hawkestone and Molesworth Streets. A previous hotel – the Galatea – built by Thomas and William Nicholas, had occupied the site from as early as 1869. The Galatea was understood to have been named after the ship that came into Wellington in April of that year. The Galatea appears to have changed hands a number of times before being demolished in 1892.

      A new building was proposed for the site designed by architect P.F. Jacobson and constructed by a Mr Hunt for licensee of the time Mrs Kate Herbert. The work was completed in 1893. The Shamrock is a two-story timber building, L shaped in plan. It has regularly spaced double hung windows on the first floor and a plain entablature above, capped by a wooden parapet which rises over the corner and Tinakori Road entrance doors. Timber pilasters flank these two entrance doors and continue on the first floor. The ground floor has a pattern of single and paired double hung windows with keystones above each. As the name of the hotel suggests, it served mainly Thorndon’s working class Irish. The hotel was frequented by politicians and the wider Thorndon community, particularly before the motorway divided the suburb. It retained its Irish connections throughout its time as a hotel and then as a tavern, even serving green beer on St Patrick’s Day.

      As the city developed and the commercial district moved into Thorndon, properties on Molesworth Street became increasingly valuable. The Shamrock was sold for redevelopment in 1978, with the Wellington City Council reluctantly agreeing to a proposal to construct a 10 storey commercial building on the site. The hotel looked likely to be demolished until Wellington businessman, Rex Nicholls, purchased the building and relocated it to its present site on Tinakori Road in 1981. This was one of the first successful attempts top move a threatened heritage building in New Zealand. The interior of the building was extensively modified at this time to house a restaurant and commercial space as well as residential units on the first floor where the hotel rooms had once been.

      In Wellington, only the Thistle Inn (1866) and the Shamrock are reasonably authentic nineteenth century wooden hotels. The Shepherds Arms (1870) could also be included, but it has had extensive alterations. Presently it houses the Indus Indian restaurant, a solicitors’ office, and a number of residential units.

    • Modifications close
      • 1893
      • 79 Molesworth Street, Shamrock Hotel (00053:8:257)
      • 1955
      • 79-81 Molesworth Street, alterations to hotel kitchen (00056:500:B37497)
      • 1955
      • 79 Molesworth Street, retaining wall (00056:548:B40330)
      • 1956
      • 79 Molesworth Street, retaining wall (00056:548:B40330)
      • 1969
      • 79-81 Molesworth Street, hotel alterations (00058:626:C29176)
      • 1975
      • 79-81 Molesworth Street, bar alterations (00058:960:C42158)
      • 1981
      • 224-230 Tinakori Road [230a Tinakori Road], move shamrock Hotel stage 2 (00058:1350:C56701)
      • 1981
      • 79-83 Molesworth Street, remove shamrock hotel (00058:1355:C56879)
    • Occupation History close
      • 1893
      • Shamrock Hotel
      • 1981
      • Relocated – converted to mixed used commercial and residential
  • close Architectural Information
    • Building Classification(s) close

      Not assessed

    • Architecture close

      The Shamrock is a two-storey timber building, L-shaped in plan. It addresses the street and corner in the same way that it did on its previous site, but now the long façade faces Tinakori Road and the short façade, Harriett Street. The main facades have an interesting pattern of paired and single double hung windows, each with strongly moulded architraves and curved heads, and the ground floor windows also have keystones. The main entrance is defined by pilasters and with a pediment at the parapet. The weatherboarding is rusticated and is divided by a string course at first floor level and a cornice and plain parapet at roof level.

      Inside the ground floor, spaces have been renovated but some of the original panelling and windows and joinery remain. A kitchen and toilets are attached as a lean to. The upstairs rooms, previously hotel accommodation, are now three flats and access to them is via outside stairs and a verandah that runs along the length of the building overlooking a courtyard.

    • Materials close

      Visible materials are painted timber and rusticated weatherboards.

    • Setting close

      Situated on a prominent corner site on Tinakori Road, opposite a motorway on-ramp, this building is a local landmark. Although relocated from its original site, the building shares similarities of age, typology, materials, use and history as its Thorndon neighbours, and now sits well within the context of historic Thorndon. It has high streetscape value, and although situated outside of the Tinakori Road Heritage Area, can be read as a part of a nationally important area of early timber buildings.


  • close Cultural Value

    The Shamrock has architectural value as one of the oldest remaining hotel buildings in Wellington - although it no longer fulfils this purpose. It is a now rare example of a two-storey hotel, built on a prominent corner site – a once a common building type in Wellington and New Zealand.

    The hotel/ tavern has been associated with the hospitality trade for over a century and for much of its history was a special place for those of Irish descent in Wellington. It was also well patronised by residents of Thorndon and the wider city, including members of Parliament.

    Although relocated from its original site in the early 1980s, the building shares similarities of age, typology, materials, use and history as its Thorndon neighbours, and now sits well within the context of historic Thorndon.

    • 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 Shamrock has architectural value as one of the oldest remaining hotel buildings in Wellington - although it no longer fulfils this purpose. It is a now rare example of a two-storey hotel, built on a prominent corner site – a once a common building type in Wellington and New Zealand.

      • 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?

        Although relocated from its original site in the 1980s, the building shares similarities of age, typology, materials, use and history as its Thorndon neighbours, and now sits well within the context of historic Thorndon.

      • 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?

        This building has significant townscape value as it is situated on a prominent corner site, opposite a motorway on-ramp. It is a local landmark, demarcating the Tinakori Road Village and shops from the more residential area.

    • Historic Value close
      • Association

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

        This building has significant historic values as a representative of a once common, but now rare, building type in Wellington and New Zealand. It has been associated with the hospitality trade for over a century and for much of its history was a special place for those of Irish descent in Wellington. It was also well patronised by residents of Thorndon and the wider city, including members of Parliament.

    • Scientific Value close
      • Archaeological

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

        High Risk of accidental discovery. Central City NZAA R27/270. The area known to have been occupied by various Iwi pre – 1900.

      • Technological

        Does the item have technological value for its innovative or important construction methods or use of materials?

        The building has some technological value as a rare example of a 1890s, large-scale, timber-framed public house that has remained in reasonably authentic condition.

    • 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?

        The Shamrock Hotel is a heritage building that contributes to the sense of place and identity of ‘historic’ Thorndon.

      • Public Esteem

        Is the item held in high public esteem?

        This building has been connected to Thorndon for over a century, is a local landmark, and is held in relatively high public esteem – this can be seen in the effort that was made to relocate the building when it was threatened with demolition in the 1980s.

      • Sentiment Connection

        Is the item a focus of community sentiment and connection?

        The Shamrock was the focus of sentiment and connection for the Irish community in Wellington for many years until its relocation in 1981. This sense of connection has somewhat diminished in the years since the tavern closed.

    • 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?

        This building retains some authenticity as it retains significant amounts of its original exterior fabric and interior joinery on the first floor. The building has, however, been relocated and has lost its historic connection to its site.

      • Local Regional National International

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

        This building is locally important with some nationally important associations. It is an example of a now rare building type. Despite its relocation from its original site, retains a great deal of authenticity. It has a long social history and contributes to the sense of identity and place of historic Thorndon.     


      • Rare

        Is the item rare, unique, unusual, seminal, influential, or outstanding?

        This building is a now rare example of a large timber corner hotel.

      • Representative

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

        This building is a good example of the type of timber commercial buildings that were once common in central Wellington in the mid 19th century.

    • Local / Regional / National / International Importance close

      Not assessed

  • close Site Detail
    • District Plan Number

      18/ 307

    • Legal Description

      Lot 1 DP 52715

    • Heritage New Zealand Listed

      1428

    • Archaeological Site

      High Risk of accidental discovery Central City NZAA R27/270 The area known to have been occupied by various Iwi pre - 1900

    • Current Uses

      unknown

    • Former Uses

      unknown

    • Has building been funded

      No

    • Funding Amount

      Not applicable

    • Earthquake Prone Status

      To be assessed

  • close Additional Information
    • Sources close
      • Morell, Vivienne. ‘Shamrock Tavern (Former)’. Historic Places Trust, unpublished summary report, 30 October 2012.
      • Wellington City Council. Wellington Heritage Building Inventory 2001: Non-Residential Buildings. Wellington City Council, 2001.
      • 00053:8:257
      • 00056:500:B37497
      • 00056:507:B37987
      • 00056:548:B40330
      • 00058:626:C29176
      • 00058:960:C42158
      • 00058:1350:C56701
      • 00058:1355:C56879
    • Technical Documentation close

      Not available

    • Footnotes close

      Not available

Last updated: 30/09/2016 2:19:11 a.m.