Topic: Red Lion Hotel

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The first hotel in Rangiora was the Lion, which opened in 1857 on land that Thomas Wilberfoss Foster had bought from George Hanmer. Hanmer had bought the land from Charles Torlesse in December 1856. lot was situated on the corner of the accommodation track that led through the middle of Torlesse's first subdivision down to William Ivory's land.

The Lion soon became an important social centre after it opened in May or early June 1857 on the Harewood Forest road. It was an alternative meeting place to the town’s first community building, the Anglican chapel in Victoria Street. The first proprietor was Thomas Wilberfoss Foster. The Lion was ideally placed to become the stage coach, freight and mail depot. It was also the scene of the first stock auctions and the centre for displaying public notices.

It is believed the first Lion hotel was a corrugated iron building which served until an English style two-storey wooden building with dormer windows was built. This building was destroyed by fire in 1871 – the first major fire in Rangiora. The licensee at that time was James Bassingthwaite. The new hotel, now called the Red Lion, opened in May 1873. It was designed by architect S C Farr, and was built at a cost of £1520. The new hotel was two-storey with 11 rooms upstairs and a balcony to the street frontages. 

The current building no longer has its balconies but is still a prominent landmark at the corner of High and Ivory Streets.The Red Lion closed in 2012 as it was deemed to be earthquake-prone and dangerous.



Hawkins, D N (1983). Rangiora: the passing years and people in a Canterbury country town.
Rangiora Photographic Society (1993). Rangiora: an early pictorial record.

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Red Lion Hotel