Aug 14, 2008

Christchurch: Warner's Hotel Restoration


The main block of Warner's Hotel was built in 1900, but 17 years later the Left hand third was demolished to make way for a cinema (below), which was in turn demolished in 1996. As part of a high-rise hotel development on the site the original neo-classic facade is now being restored.


The Liberty Cinema, 1930

8 comments:

kuaka said...

Apparently the cinema, The Liberty, later the Savoy, was built as a buffer between Warners and The Lyttelton Times building because the latter's printing presses kept Warner's guests awake (May, Our Environment, CCC, Winter 1998). Now it'll just be drunken backpackers keeping the new guests awake...

Canterbury Heritage said...

I'd love to know what happened to the huge Art Nouveau window of the old cinema. It was lit from behind and was one of the great features of the Square for a couple of generations.

kuaka said...

A wry touch that 2nd pic - the feature being "Scandal"...

Anonymous said...

I remember the neon curtain of circles when it was latter known as the Savoy. Indeed the square was full of neon

Canterbury Heritage said...

The Square began as a barren no mans land between official Christchurch to its North and the main shopping precinct to the South. From the 1880s to the later 1960s it was the central focal point of the city with about a dozen theatres and cinemas in its immediate environs. With all of the Neon illuminations, the Square was a glamorous place on a Friday and Saturday night. But the idiot box killed off the cinemas and now its granite paved no mans land between the tourists to the north and the drunken yokels to the south.

Daza said...

Great photographs and information. For a few more details on Christchurch cinemas check out Christchurch Cinemas at the Canterbury Film Society's website

Anonymous said...

The Savoy was demolished in 1993, not 1996. There are now Wikipedia articles for Warner's and the Lyttelton Times:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyttelton_Times_Building
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warner%27s_Hotel

Canterbury Heritage said...

It is noted that the the Savoy cinema closed on the 30th September, 1993, after which time the photographic record indicates that the ground floor of the building was converted into a shopping arcade.

Accordingly, in pursuit of the accuracy of the historical record, a citation or reference to the source of your anonymous opinion that the cinema was demolished in 1993 would be appreciated.