February 27, 1865. TO LET OR SELL. THOSE commodious buildings, now in course of completion, known as the Panama Hotel, containing about twenty bed rooms, several parlours, dining room, &c, &c. Also, a splendid twelve Stall Stable. The lessee or purchaser can commence business at once. For further particulars apply to JOHN MARTIN, Manners-street.
Panama Hotel: All the best houses of entertainment seem to be creeping up in Te Aro, and the Thorndon end of the City remains blessed with its ancient hostelries. Among the best of the many new houses, we notice with great pleasure the Panama Hotel, which is situated at the corner of Ingestre and Taranaki streets. The Panama was built by Mr John Martin, and has been opened regardless of expense by Mr Bannister, late steward of the Wellington Ciub. The commercial room is one of the most comfortable and homely little rooms we have met with in the colony. When the lamps are lighted in these cold and wintry days, with drawn curtains and a blazing fire, this snug room will compare favourably with any in Wellington. The bedrooms and refectory are scrupulously clean, the cuisine excellent, and the yards and outhouses the picture of neatness. At present we should imagine mine host is now driving a very lively trade, as the locality is quiet, but when the town extends still further Te Aro-wards, as it is doing day by day, there is no doubt but that this house will be a favourite. We wish Mr Bannister every success, and trust that the Panama Hotel will be as great a success as its management deserves.
29 June 1865: JOHN EADES BANNISTER, formerly of the Crown and Anchor Hotel and late of the Wellington Club, begs to inform his friends and the public generally, that the ABOVE HOTEL IS NOW OPEN.
Nov 1865: Bailiff's closed the hotel when the leasee was found to be bankrupt. In May 1866 a court ruling was made and owner John Martin again leased the Panama, this time to John Lamont, from the Empire Hotel, Dunedin.
Nov. 1866: Panama Hotel: For the information of those of our readers who haunt the Te Aro end of the town, we may state that an addition has recently been made to this commodious and really comfortable hotel. A new billiard saloon has been attached, with a suite of rooms below. The saloon is lofty and well ventilated, contains one of Thurston's very best billiard tables, is elegantly furnished, and commands one of the prettiest views in Wellington.
19 Apr 1871: Jas Nesbit became lessee Panama
Mar 1874: Panama HOTEL, TARANAKI STREET. NOTICE. W. LIGHT (late chief steward of steamers Phoebe and Ladybird) begs to inform the inhabitants of Wellington and others that he has taken the above spacious and commodious premises, and having made several alterations and improvements therein, he is enabled to offer superior accommodation to families, commercial travellers, or gentlemen visiting Wellington. The Billiard Room is a large and comfortably fitted apartment, containing one of Thurstons best tables. An attentive marker in attendance. First-class Stabling Accommodation.
The hotel under landlord Light hosted sports and meetings of interest to Te Aron residents and gained gained a reputation for attention to detail and fine dining and wine excellance
Feb 1875: A farewell dinner held at Panama Hotel to owner, John Martin. The toast "to a man who had arrived without capital, and by his own energy, pcrseverence, and ability had, unaided by fortuitous circumstances or external patronage, won his way from one of the lowest rungs of fortune's ladder to one of the highest. He had benefitted the community as well as himself and one of the most successful of Mr. Martin's ventures was that of a steamship owner which had greatly benefitted the port. He had left Ireland thirty-five years ago a poor lad, and was now returning a rich man. Well wishes were extended for a safe voyage and speedy return.
Licensing transfers over the following years:
Jan 1877: William Light, the popular host of the Panama Hotel purchased the lease of Barrett's Hotel, Lambton Quay - the price is understood to be £1800. His successor G S Nicholls
Sept 1878: H J Williams from National Hotel
Feb 1879: Mr. Robinson, steward of the Government steamer Hinemoa, to-day took possession of the Panama Hotel, having purchased Mr Williams' interest for £2500.
Jun 1879: Mr. Geo. S. Nichols, proprietor of the Panama Hotel, has purchased the Union Hotel, Willis-street. Host Robinson
Apr 1880: Panama Hotel changed hand to Messrs William McCleland and Carey
Sep 1881: McClelland to Horace Ames William Patten
1882 Fred Clemens, publican, declaration of insolvency, temporary hotel licence to Walter Bishop
Sep 1882: The licensing committee granted a further extension of permission to Mr, Bishop ±o carry on the business on condition that the promised repairs be finished. Sergeant Anderson said he believed the place had been kept in better order since Mr. Bishop had been in possession, as before it was in a very dilapidated and shockingly dirty state. The roofing had been re-done, the rooms had been fresh papered, and other necessary improvements undertaken.
Apr 1883: Walter Bishop taking possession Oxford Hotel Lambton Quay and sold Panama to James Thomas
Jun 1885: James Thomas (bankrupt) taken lease of Wellington Hotel - license Panama Hotel to Patrick O'Shea
Jun 1886: Thomas White applied for a new license for the Panama Hotel. The police reported that the house was an old one and required rebuilding. The Bench were of opinion that the house should be rebuilt, and it was decided to grant a license on condition that it was rebuilt within twelve months. The Bench stated that if at the end of six months if no steps were taken in that direction the license would be taken away.
March 1887 The quarterly meeting of the Te Aro Licensing Committee. THE PANAMA HOTEL: The question of rebuilding the Panama Hotel, as ordered by the late Committee was considered. Mr. Gully appeared for the Hon. John Martin, the owner, and explained that a contract had been let for the rebuilding of the promises, and the timber had been put on the ground. However, due to a difficulty between the landlord and the tenant (Mr. Thomas White), the work had not yet begun. The tenant objected to the premises being rebuilt while he was in possession, and consequently the work could not be commenced until Mr. White's tenancy expired in two or three months. The Committee agreed to allow Mr. White to continue his business on the understanding that if a commencement was not made with the rebuilding of the hotel before next meeting the license might be cancelled. Mr. Gully said that would be done as it was obvious the place must be rebuilt.
Mar. 1887 White to Star Hotel (this used to be the Crown and Anchor site)
June 1887 Sergeant Morice, Inspector of Licensed Premises, reported that when he visited tho Panama hotel three weeks ago he found it in a tumble-down state. The roof leaked through being in bad repair, and the house was unfit to be licensed. Mr. J. Coombe, builder, was called, and proved that a contract had been let to him for the erection of a new hotel, and he had done all possible preparatory work and received progress payments from the Hon. J Martin to the extent of £lO5. After some discussion Mr. Gully asked the Bench to grant the license conditionally upon the contract being performed before the next quarterly meeting due to the difficulty in which the landlord was placed.
Dec 1887: Edward Sullivan of the Panama Hotel licence to John Prosser - Hotel alterations to be completed shortly
28 Jan 1888: The new Panama Hotel, situated at the corner of Inglestre and Taranaki streets, is in every respect a marked improvement upon the building which formerly occupied the same site, besides being an important addition to the accommodation provided for the travelling public. The new structure is a two-story wooden building, finished off in plain but substantial style. On the ground floor there are, in addition to the bar, which is divided into six entirely separate compartments, ensuring strict privacy if desired, a commodious and well-lighted dining room, measuring 30ft by 18ft, besides the parlour, commercial room, and a well-appointed kitchen. The bedrooms on the upper floor, ten in number, are airy and comfortable apartments, and there is also a sitting-room, besides two bath-rooms, to which both hot and cold water are laid on, and other conveniences. Every bedroom is provided with a rope fire-escape, and rope ladders have been placed at each end of the passages. Mr. John Coombe was contractor for the erection of the building, and the internal fittings were carried out by Mr. J. S. Philpott. The licensee (Mr. John Prosser) has long been a caterer for the Wellington public, having kept the old Crown and Anchor Hotel as long as 20 years ago, on the site now occupied by the Star Hotel, Lambton-quay, and having ever since been connected with caravanserais in different parts of the provincial district.
Oct 1888: Sale - The Bank Hotel, Manners street, was passed in at £5500, and the Panama Hotel at £6000; the highest bids did not reach the reserve price.
Mar 1889: An application for the permanent transfer of the license of the Panama Hotel from John Prosser to James Prosser was granted. The police pointed out that on one occasion recently the beds had not been made at 3.30 in the afternoon.
Mar 1889: In reference to the statement made by the police at the Licensing Committee meeting on Saturday, to the effect that on one occasion the beds in the Panama Hotel had not been mado at 3.30 p.m., Mrs Prosser writes to us stating that when the Inspector of Public houses visited the premises, there were only two beds unmade, and these were occupied by two sick children, who, in the restlessness induced by their illness, had thrown off the bedclothes. Mrs. Prosser is not unnaturally indignant that after 20 years' experience in hotelkeeping in Wellington and Rangitikei, such an imputation should have been made regarding her capabilities as a housekeeper. Mrs. Prosser is so well and favourably known as a hostess, that it will readily be concluded that the police comment was probably made without due enquiry into the circumstances.
May 1889: TO LET, the Panama Hotel, opposite the Skating Rink free house terms easy. Apply to JAMES PROSSER, Proprietor.
July 1889: Mr. James Prosser has sold through Messrs. Dwan Bros, all his Interest in the Panama Hotel, corner of Taranaki and Ingestre streets, to Mr. Thomas Taylor, a well-known dairyman of South Wellington. The new landlord took possession this afternoon.
12 Aug 1890: The Panama Hotel has changed hands. Mr. E. J. Searl, late of Masterton, having purchased, through Messrs. Dwan Bros., the well-known hotel brokers, Mr. T. Taylor's interest therein. Mr. Searl is now in possession.
..................................... The years passed until .....
21 May 1931 Harry Hyde, hotel licensee died as a result of injuries received during the fire which burnt down the Panama Hotel.
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