Eliza's Manor Boutique Hotel History
The history of Eliza's Manor goes back to the foundation of the city of Christchurch and spans three centuries.
The land at 82 Bealey Avenue was originally purchased on 7 February 1856 by George Gould, one of the founding fathers of Christchurch. At that time Bealey Avenue formed the north belt of the city that was established in the mid 1850s.
The house was built in 1861 by C W Wyatt, who was a member of the Provincial Council in 1857 and of the Executive Council in 1859.
In 1863 the property was purchased by Maurice Harris a merchant who had started M Harris and Son. Harris became President of the Jewish Synagogue in 1856. Later in 1885 he built another house at No 96 Bealey Avenue and his son, Henry, took up residence at No 82. Together they owned the property for 45 years.
In 1908 F H Pyne bought No 82 and began an exciting period of history for the property. Pyne had established Pyne & Co in 1887, which later became the Pyne Gould Guinness company which still serves the rural community of the South Island today. Pyne was famed for his immaculate appearance, freshly pressed suits, laundered linen and polished shoes.
In 1910 Pyne began carrying out extensions to the house, including the installation of the magnificent staircase in the entrance foyer. This had been constructed in Scotland from New Zealand Kauri timber which had taken to the United Kingdom as ballast in the ships of the time. While it was the Pyne residence, No 82 became one of the social centres of Christchurch. In 1915, the reception for the marriage of one of Pyne's daughters was held at No 82.
In the 1920s No 82 took on a different focus becoming a boarding house for St Margaret’s College, a private hospital and then a boarding house letting rooms to gentel ladies. From the time that is was a private hospital it was owned by Misses S Hanna and M Coates. The mother of Miss Coates, who was the grandmother of one of New Zealand’s famous World War I soldiers, Charles Upham VC and Bar, also lived there with her daughter.
Then around 1950 the property passed to a nurse, Mary Puller, a spinster who let rooms. Apparently she had lots of cats, always had the doors open, rode a push bike and had the house full of antiques including a display of old smoking pipes. In the late 1970s the house was sold and again became a family home for a short period of time. At that time some of the residents who were moved out had lived at No 82 for over 20 years.
In 1981 John and Roz Smith bought No 82. They restored the house and converted it into luxury holiday accommodation and a wedding venue. It was named Eliza’s Manor House, after Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, and traded through into the 21st century.
In 2002 the property was purchased by Ross and Alison Ruddenklau who developed the café and Garden Room. During this time the name was changed from Eliza’s Manor House to The Manor to give it a new image.
In April 2004 No 82 was bought by Ann Zwimpfer and Harold Williams and was soon after renamed The Manor on Bealey to help differentiate it from other similar named establishments. The past link with Eliza, both locally and internationally, proved to be very strong and so in July 2005 the name altered again to Eliza's Manor on Bealey.
No. 82 has a Category 2 classification from the New Zealand Historic Places Trust
The most recent significant event in Eliza’s history has been the series of Earthquakes that shattered Christchurch in 2010 and 2011. Following the 7.1 magnitude earthquake on 4 September 2010 Eliza’s suffered significant damage the repairs of which were virtually complete when a devastating 6.1 magnitude aftershock occurred on 22 February 2011, with another significant aftershock of 6.3 magnitude on 12 June 2011. Over 11,000 aftershocks have been experienced from 4 September 2010 until July 2012.
Eliza’s suffered further significant damage after the February 2011 aftershock and again began a period of rebuilding. This time it was a much longer and exhaustive process, with Eliza’s being fully operational again by November 2011. Fully rebuilt on the inside and meeting all the new relevant structural building codes Eliza’s is now one of the safest buildings in Christchurch and looking forward to the next 150 years. The beauty and strength of a timber construction is demonstrated by Eliza’s survival through a truly difficult time.
In mid 2016 Eliza's was bought by the current owners, and is now managed by Cathryn Williams following the same traditions and standards developed over the years.
For a fuller version of Eliza’s history click here.