Napier Soldiers' Club

Napier Soldiers' Club

The foundation stone of the Napier Soldiers’ Club on Marine Parade was laid on Anzac Day 1916. The Soldiers’ Club had been established in October 1915 with rooms at the Napier Borough Council chambers. Fundraising to build more substantial premises began early in 1916. The architect Louis Hay drew up the plans without charging a fee. The opening ceremony of the impressive new clubrooms was held on 9 December 1916.

The wording of the foundation stone implies that the building had a memorial purpose: HONOUR THE BRAVE / NAPIER SOLDIERS CLUB / THIS STONE / WAS LAID ON APRIL 25TH 1916 / ‘ANZAC DAY’ / BY HIS WORSHIP THE MAYOR / J. VIGOR BROWN ESQ. M.P. [etc.]  However, the secular nature of the opening ceremony suggests it was not consecrated as such (‘Napier Soldiers’ Club: Opening Ceremony’, Hastings Standard, 11/12/1916, p. 3).

The building was sold in 1930 and extended for use as a private hotel. It has since been used as a restaurant and, at the time of the photograph above (March 2016), was the premises of a Karate school and a budget hotel. The foundation stone remains in place.

The building is listed as a Historic Place Category 1. 

For more information, see: Napier Soldiers’ Club (Former), Heritage New Zealand, 2009; Michael Fowler, ‘Napier Soldiers’ Club: the place to be, Hawke’s Bay Today, December 2016.

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