How the mighty have fallen.

Posted on 10/14/10 in General, 10 Comments

I went through a property this morning, it’s on the market as a bit of a steal.

The reason for the nice discount when you purchase this property is the maintenance issue’s with the building, it just hasn’t had any done for a lot of years.

This is really sad because at one point in the 1930’s this building was the very best hotel accommodation in New Zealand.

Let me show you what I mean.

Built in the 1930’s this landmark hotel was the flashest diggs in town for many years and attracted most of the top international visitors for a number of years until the the James Cook was built on the Terrace in the 1970’s.

Violinists Yehudi and Hepzibah Menuhin stayed at the St George in July 1951. Here they autograph photos for fans. Evening Post Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library.

Members of the English cricket team “relax” (in suits!) in one of their rooms at the Hotel St George. In the 4 day test match against New Zealand at the Basin Reserve, Wellington between 24 – 28 March, 1951, England won by six wickets. Spectators must have got a lot of sleep in during the match with an average run rate of 2 runs per over being posted by both sides.

Any my personal Favorite:

The Beatles stayed at the hotel on the 20th of June 1964, for their two concerts at the Old town Hall.

This Photo taken from the 3rd floor above the balcony shows how their visit in the hotel effectively closed down Willis street.

If your interested in any more history of this Era a great place to start is the national archive or HERE.

This is how the property looks today:

This is a photo Of the Famous Beatles Balcony Taken from inside the building:

And the rooms don’t look all that flash anymore either:

It struck me while I was walking round in here that it would be a great place to remake the movie the Shinning but also how sad it is when a regal old building gets left to get so run down.

I think to a degree the council heritage building regulations are to blame for this, there really needs to be the ability to give some financial benefit to any development of these great old buildings so that the history is saved.

At the moment this building is simply sitting here slowly falling into a worse condition every day, even if there was a rebate available that would allow the rates on the building to be discounted by a percentage of the money spent on renovating the building it would help.

Maybe Wellington’s brand new mayor might be interested in helping save a large piece of city history.


  1. Rick

    What a beautiful building. I hope that an investor will restore (and repaint!) it, soon.

    Posted 10-14-2010

  2. zerodtkjoe

    Thanks for the info

    Posted 10-20-2010

  3. roclafamilia

    Helpful blog, bookmarked the website with hopes to read more!

    Posted 10-21-2010

  4. badmash

    I just signed up to your blogs rss feed. Will you post more on this subject?

    Posted 10-23-2010

  5. Steven

    Hi Badmash, will do 🙂

    Posted 10-23-2010

  6. Steven

    A quick update on this property.

    Posted 12-8-2010

  7. Steven

    Another group of purchasers that missed out on the St George building.

    Posted 12-13-2010

  8. douglas mckeown

    you may be interested to know i was an assistant Mgr of the George in the early 70’s. I remeber arranging a function that the Russians were coming to and it was just like the spy movies.all the Security and these guys looked as though the would shoot at a moments notice. we had the Nova Bar which was the latest and greatest at the time and certainly was the place to stay at the time.
    I was also a mgr down at the Waterloo and believe it or not that was the tallest commercial building in Wellington when it was biult.
    my first week at the George there was a fire alarm down in the public bar .turned out to be smouldering ash trays but i had to run down each floor getting people to evacuate .when i got to the House bar everybody just sat there even with the Siren going and Fire engines blaring people didnt believe it. Then the fireman couldnt get in….what a shambles. Easy to see in those days how disaster could happen.
    Someone was killed in the Public Bar of the W/loo while i was there and you got a constant stream of ciustomers from the train every morning getting thier little 48’s as we called them of Spirits for the day. One guy used to come into the Bar and undo his tie, put one side on the glass with his hand around it and pull on the tie with the other hand to get the drinks to his lips then he was right to go to work then. The good old days………i hope they keep the character of both places alive.

    Posted 1-18-2011

  9. Steven

    Thanks for the comments Douglas.

    It is truly an amazing old building that holds a lot of history for a number of people me included.

    My Grandfather was a policemen who held meetings in the bar of the hotel with striking wharf workers in the 60’s.

    One of my favorite buildings in Wellington is the History places Trust headquarter on Boulcott Street just up the road from this hotel.

    It was a grand old mansion and family home and now it’s in the middle of lots of high rise office towers.
    It makes you wonder what the view from that building would have been when the owners could still see the waterfront.

    Posted 1-19-2011

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  1. By St George Hotel Update | Steve Goodey on December 8, 2010 at 1:03 am

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