Occupying its special site, right across the road from the Timaru Police Station, the Queen's Hotel dates from 1879 making it one of the older buildings in the CBD. Designed by Frederick Marchant it makes a bold statement, and not by its elevated name alone.
With the rich decoration of the Victorian era beginning to taper off, the Queens exploits its corner location with a subtle turret, flanked by smooth plastered walls that rely upon good proportions with minimal decoration. The only significant decoration is the grooving of the plasterwork on the ground floor to resemble pointed stonework. The distinctive turret originally contained a clock, with a flagstaff above.
Marchant went on to form a partnership with Herbert Hall, designing Timaru landmarks such as the Hydro Grand Hotel (1912) and the outstanding core building at Timaru Boys High School from the same time period.
Throughout the era of vigorous manual labouring work in the Timaru economy, the Queens was a popular watering hole at the end of a trying day, but the ground floor bar areas were not ever loudly promoted as in today's café scene. Rather they were discreetly located behind a restrained amount of glazing as was the custom throughout that period. The overall impression is one of permanence and composure, so well presented by the designer's hand.
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