THE DECLINE AND DECAY OF AN EDWARDIAN BEAUTY

The ROYAL HOTEL has had only one group of owners that I can ascertain? over a short period of  time a few years back it was leased as 'Royal Hotel Management'? In this short period of occupation, there was a effort to tidy the building up somewhat, a few of the rooms being painted, the main front room as I recollect was painted quite an attractive rose salmon shade, but it was dismal failure to rescue her from the appalling neglect of previous years gone by...that went by the board and squatters took over.....


I was so entranced by this beautiful forlorn abandoned building and her plight, that I have written an in depth story on my adventure with the Hotel Royal, called
" A Right Royal Tale" which I hope to publish sometime when this story reaches its happy conclusion

for more insight and some fascinating information and tales of long ago, go to papers past.......and learn something of the history of this gracious old building and the heady days of GOLD RUSH in the Thames area.....


Below are some of my photos taken of the effect of the ROYAL HOTEL'S neglect over the many years..... a huge building such as this needs much love, repair and most important... FUNDS.
.
2009 To date I can happily say that the present owners of the ROYAL have scheduled  quite a lot of work on the interior which I hope to see sometime this month and will keep this site updated with the progress...

UPDATE 2011 The Royal Hotel has now changed hands, I have not had the opportunity to meet the new owners or see over the Royal again, so that is now a closed era...
I wish thank the previous owner Jimmy Pattello for giving me the opportunity to take a record of the Hotel before it is changed forever..thanks so much Jimmy!
May the dear old ROYAL have  a happy future and may she never ever get to the dismal sad sorry state we found her in so many years ago..



Photograph showing the intersection of Brown and Albert Street, Grahamstown Thames New Zealand, circa 1900. To the left is the Wharf Hotel, to the  right is the Bank of New Zealand,  right halfway down is the Lady Bowen Hotel. Next is the Tom Dunbars Barber shop where the proprietor of the ROYAL HOTEL, Samuel Howard, was shot & wounded by James Moore 1901 
At far end in the misty distance is the ghostly image of  the Historic Edwardian Hutch  Hotel Royal Thames NZ.


           Photograph taken by  William Archer Price in the  early 1900's  Credit,
                " Price Collection Alexander  Turnbull Library"
           Permission of the ALEXANDER TURNBULL LIBRARY 
          WELLINGTON NEW ZEALAND, must be obtained before  any reuse of.
            http://timeframes.natlib.govt.nz
                     
email me
Repair in progress, Brown Street  entrance Royal Hotel THAMES
copyright H.G.Blomfield 2009A bad paint job, Brown Street entrance  historic ROYAL HOTEL THAMES NZ, these  lovely old solid doors lead  into a Hotel Bar on the left hand side, 
copyright H.G.Blomfield 2009Royal Hotels Brown Street  Thames NZ entrance to underground  Cellar,being  used a s a rubbish dump,full  of rubbish, some people!
copyright H.G.Blomfield 2009Royal Hotel rotten rusted Guttering shot! Most of the weatherboard damge that I could see in 2001/2 was caused through water running through the rusted out guttering down the walls, it was bad!
c H.G.Blomfield 2009Williamson Street view ROYAL HOTEL THAMES NZ, minus her peak finals, decorations and fretwork
copyright H.G.Blomfield 2009ROYAL HOTEL'S veranda rotten board damage
copyright H.G.Blomfield 2009Rotten boards being repaired Brown Street entrance to Bar, HOTEL ROYAL  THAMES NZ
copyright H.G.Blomfield 2009A slap of white paint cannot disguise window framing rotting away over years of water damage & neglect Royal Hotel Thames NZ
copyright H.G.Blomfield 2009Still more rusted out guttering needing to be replaced
copyright H.G.Blomfield 2009Again a quick slap of white paint to more of the Royal's rotting timber  thats  needing replacing
copyright H.G.Blomfield 2009Badly rotting board & guttering it takes, years and years of neglect to get to this stage.
copyright H.G. Blomfield 2009More rotten boards &  rusted out guttering & roof, it  takes years of neglect to get to this derilect stage, being a heritage listed building one cannot pull down so next best thing... let it ROT!
copyright H.G.Blomfield 2009Historic Hotel rear, showing  rotten old boards being replaced between windows,covered piece used to be coloured windows over stairwell, peak above  window was once a fancy domed arched half circle  roof, gone now with the rest!
copyright H.G.Blomfield 2009Gorgeous dark paneling in the Historic ROYAL HOTEL THAMES NZ, in 2001 this lovely panelling was in the grand entrance foyer and corridors, & one could imagine the hustle & bustle  of the Hotel in the  vibrant Gold mining days of yore..
copyright H.G. Blomfield 2009A sad back door ROYAL HOTEL THAMES NZ
copyright H.G.Blomfield 2009There once were 2 stained glass coloured windows above the stairwell when I looked over the ROYAL HOTEL2001/2, one has gone the way of all the ROYAL HOTEL'S Edwardian fittings..the other I am told is being repaired, they did look lovely over the stairwell!
copyright H.G.Blomfield 2009Now this is a doozy! The case of the vanishing chimney pot???with grand newel post...hmmm? makes you wonder where it all ended up along with many other vanished fittings of the grade 2 listed building , the Royal Hotel Thames NZ???
copyright H G Blomfield 2009Decayed rotting veranda suppots, the Historic  Royal Hotel Thames NZRoyal Hotel Brown St., peeling paint & rusty water damage from the roof rusted out guttering.veranda supports  rot Hote Royal 2009supports veranda rot Royal Hotel 2009Williamson Street Royal Hotel veranda rot over many many years neglect. copyright 2009repair  to top board damage caused by rusted out roof guttering ,back of the Royal Hotel Grahamstown Thames nz  copyright 2009Looking into Royal Hotel's street entrance for Bar cellar, which this day  in January 2009 was full of someones  household rubbish, see other pic., c HGB 2009An  empty frame left where  the  inner set of inner double doors  are missing from Brown Street Entrance to Bar  on right.Royal Hotel, plus all brass handles.
 Grahamstown Thames NZ Frame of missnig double doors, also missing are the big brass handles to these doors,  4 sets of 2 large brass handles .Royal Hotel Grahamstown Thames NZ c 2009Royal Hotel Thames NZ  doors minus of key locks,key covers, finger plates and handles, alas this has been  the fate of all the Royal Hotels doors H.GBLOMFIELD 2009A century of steam, gives an interesting antique atmosphere to the  wash/house/bathroom ceiling
copyright H.g.Blomfield 2009Quaint reminder of days gone by an large old chrome shower head...Smashed lock and missing handle, some of the damage left by squatters..note missing door finger plates.
c H.G Blomfield.View from top of stairs looking out where the coloured glass windows used to be across to Prices Foundry. Also on the landing once upon a time was a very ornate kauri  screen, marks can still be seen on the roof where it has been removed at some time previous.
c H.G.BlomfieldOutside wall rot Royal Hotel Thames NZ, white paint was being slapped over everything at this point in time, happy to say now it is all been repaired and looking lovely. 
c H.G.BlomfieldRoyal Hotels original beautiful kauri woodwork, I for one would love to see this special Hotel restored to its original granduer before  maybe this  disappears forever? I certainly trust not.
cH.G.BlomfieldVisible decay in Royal Hotels veranda, now this has been repaired
c H.G.Blomfield Repair to the little outside room which juts out from the back of the Hotel, from here stairs went down to the Hotel backyard...  which held three out buildings Hotel Thames NZ
CH.G.Blomfieldmissing handles and ornate key locks off  solid old kauri doorsUpstairs old kitchen where taps have been removed, in 2001 there was a old red formica sink bench, partitions and cuboard
c HGBWell here is the now missing Royal Hotel Chimney top? now where did that go, does anyone know?One of the 2001 photos showing rust and severe water damage, Williamson Street frontage, Royal Hotel Grahamstown Thames NZ
Below is a photograph of old Grahamstown Thames New Zealand, showing on the right the Wharf Hotel, 
now a private residence....to the left, the Bank of New Zealand Thames, vanished into Nature's melting pot!  Further down Brown Street on the right, the building with the veranda is the original  LADY  BOWEN HOTEL, now a thriving pack packers Lodge.
And down the street at the end, looking  like a phantom, very ghostly in the misty light, is the ethereal image of the beautiful Historic listed grade 2 Heritage Edwardian ROYAL HOTEL. These are the only three Hotels remaining today from this once thriving Gold mining area of Grahamstown. Thames boasted   a list of 80 hotels in the year 1872!.
In 1864  it was the HOTEL THEATRE ROYAL AND CAFE. which unfortunately burnt down in 1903 and was then rebuilt as the Royal Hotel in 1904/1905.This survivor into the 21st century has had a long hard and colourful history.  It is one of three buildings that have survived  the march of time in this immediate area. The other two  buildings,the original WHARF HOTEL and THE LADY BOWEN have both been  maintained over the years, one being a beautiful private residence, and the other a thriving backpackers, alas the ROYAL HOTEL has not been so fortunate,  neglected and forgotten for over half a century. home only to squatters, and ghosts!
The photograph below is an exciting and colourful window into THAMES rich  GOLD mining era..
Photograph showing the intersection of Brown and Albert Street, Grahamstown Thames New Zealand, circa 1900. To the left is the Wharf Hotel, to the  right is the Bank of New Zealand,  right halfway down is the Lady Bowen Hotel. Next is the   TOM DUNBARS Barbers shop where the proprietor  of the ex Theatre ROYAL HOTEL, Samuel Howard, was shot & wounded by James Moore in December 11th 1901 
At far end in the misty distance is the ghostly image of  the rare Edwardian Hutch Hotel Royal Thames  NZ.
From the first time we saw the Royal Hotel Grahamstown Thames, I have taken photos, unfortunately the 2001 photso were on my old wins 95 and mostly got deleted, these showed in depth the rusted out guttering, rotten boards from water dripping from the roof, water pouring down the stairwell in the rain , raw sewerage overflowing at the side of the building, we did inform the council at that time about the health hazard, now to see this Historic listed 2 building in her beautifully restored present state for me is an utter joy, my mate Jimmy Pattello gave me the run of the place to take photos at will and I am forever grateful for that chance to m,ake and have a record of this Grand Lady's  rescue & comeback!
This site was last updated: November 12, 2016
KINDLY NOTE --ALL MY PRIVATE PHOTOS OF HOTEL ROYAL INTERIOR/EXTERIOR/ANTIQUES/ ETC.,/ARE COPYRIGHT TO ME...AND/OR JIMMY PATELLO/PHIL SAYER/REG BLOMFIELD PAUL SAYER. -2016