Black deeds in Draper Street

Today, through the wonders of archaeology and Papers Past, we bring you the story of Charles Henry Cox, a man whose crime has been buried – literally – for over 100 years. But let’s not get too carried away. As crimes go, it wasn’t such a serious one. And probably largely victimless, as it doesn’t seem to have been terribly successful.

Before we found Cox’s little rubbish pit, we didn’t have a sense of who he was or what he was like. He wasn’t like some of the other men we’ve featured here, who were frequently written about in the paper and were probably quite well known about town. But he was someone who – like so many of us – wanted to get ahead, financially and/or socially. This was in the mid-1880s, so he may have lost his job in the depression that was affecting so much of the country at the time, and it may have been this that forced him to turn to crime. Or maybe he just thought he’d hit upon a cunning get-rich-quick scheme.

Cox wasn’t that badly off in the first place, though. He had sufficient money to buy himself and his family a block of land (where we found the incriminating evidence) in Richmond in 1885 and he took out a mortgage against it that same year, possibly to build a house on the land (LINZ 1885).

Now, here’s where it gets a bit confusing, so pay close attention.

The section Charles bought in 1885 was on a street known by a variety of names until the 1940s, when it became Harvey Terrace. It was known as Salisbury Street and Windsor Terrace and possibly – just possibly – as Draper Street (CCL 2013: 39; LINZ 1885). The possibility that it was known as Draper Street is important, because newspaper advertisements tell us that Cox lived on Draper Street (e.g. Star 29/1/1886: 2, Star 23/1/1896: 3). Even if Cox didn’t live on the section he bought in 1885, Draper Street was literally just around the corner and the archaeology tells us that he was definitely using the section on what is now Harvey Terrace. He owned this section until at least 1911 and newspapers place him and his wife – who was constantly advertising for servants (e.g. Star 29/1/1886: 2Star 23/1/1896: 3) – on Draper Street from 1885 until at least 1900.

Mrs Cox advertising for a servant, 1900 (Star 5/3/1900: 3).


Mrs Cox advertising for a servant, 1900 (Star 5/3/1900: 3).

So what did we find? Well, at first glance it was an odd but seemingly innocuous rubbish pit that contained a large number of shoe polish bottles. A minimum number of 110 artefacts were found in the pit, over half of which were shoe polish bottles. There were two types of these bottles: the standard stoneware blacking bottles and glass bottles embossed with “HAUTHAWAY’S PEERLESS GLOSS”. This was a shoe polish made by Charles Hauthaway in Bridgewater, Massachusetts, from 1852 (Hauthaway Corporation n.d.). It was advertised for sale in New Zealand from at least 1879 until at least 1894 and claimed to be “a necessity in every family” (New Zealand Herald 19/6/1879: 4, Ellesmere Guardian 22/8/1896: 1).

Two stoneware blacking bottles. Image: K. Bone.


Two stoneware blacking bottles. Image: K. Bone.

 Two Hauthaway's Peerless Gloss bottles. Image: K. Bone.


Two Hauthaway’s Peerless Gloss bottles. Image: K. Bone.

At first we thought that maybe there’d been a shoe shop on the site – but there were no shoes in the rubbish pit. So then we thought, maybe it was just a general store of some sort? But the other artefacts from the feature didn’t suggest that. Then we found an advertisement for “Cox’s Pioneer Gloss”, which was being sold wholesale by the manufacturer from Draper Street from October 1886 to January 1887 (Press 30/10/1886: 1, Star 10/1/1887: 1). We didn’t find any evidence that Cox was selling anything else from Draper Street, such as other brands of shoe polish.

 Advertisement for Cox's Pioneer Gloss (Press 30/10/1886: 1).


Advertisement for Cox’s Pioneer Gloss (Press 30/10/1886: 1).

 The advertisement that Cox placed in the Star (Star 10/12/1886: 4).


The advertisement that Cox placed in the Star (Star 10/12/1886: 4).

The stash of blacking and shoe polish bottles found at the site suggests that Cox’s Pioneer Gloss was not a product that Cox had developed, but that Cox was on-selling Hauthaway’s product in a different container (such as the stoneware blacking bottles, which were not associated with any particular brand). It is also possible that Cox was blending the no-brand blacking and Hauthaway’s shoe polish to make something slightly different. Maybe Cox’s product contained other ingredients as well, but no evidence was found to suggest this. Searches to find the recipe for Cox’s patent were unsuccessful – it is quite likely that Cox never patented his product, but that this was simply an advertising ploy.

Cox’s illicit venture was not a long-lived one, which suggests that he lost money on the scheme, and certainly didn’t make the profits he’d no doubt hoped for. There’s no evidence in the historical record to suggest that he was found out. No doubt the bottles – and other artefacts – were buried early in 1887, in the hope that no would ever know. He didn’t count on archaeology though.

Katharine Watson

References

Christchurch City Libraries, 2013. Christchurch street names: H. [online] Available at: < http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/Heritage/PlaceNames/ChristchurchStreetNames-H.pdf>.

Ellesmere Guardian. [online]. Available at: www.paperspast.natlib.govt.nz [Accessed April 2013].

Hauthaway Corporation, n.d. History. [online] Available at: < http://www.hauthaway.com/history.php> [Accessed 21/8/2013].

LINZ, 1885. CB79/259, Canterbury. Landonline.

New Zealand Herald. [online]. Available at: www.paperspast.natlib.govt.nz.

Otago Witness. [online]. Available at: www.paperspast.natlib.govt.nz.

Press. [online]. Available at: www.paperspast.natlib.govt.nz.

Star. [online]. Available at: www.paperspast.natlib.govt.nz.

Fizz, bang, pop!: Christchurch’s early soda water industry.

Coke. Fanta. Lemonade. Lemon and Paeroa. Mountain Dew. Ginger beer. Dr Pepper. Seven Up. Ice-cream soda. Coke and raspberry. Lift.

Cartoon of soft drink rivals Coke and Pepsi battling it out. Image from Neatorama

Cartoon of soft drink rivals Coke and Pepsi battling it out. Image: Neatorama.

Fizzy drinks, or sodas, are everywhere in our society. In all the flavours and colours of the rainbow, they grace our televisions, billboards, magazines, movies, and our fridges. They are (to the chagrin of so many nutritionists) a staple of the modern diet. They are also, in a slightly different way, a staple of 19th century archaeology. Locally and internationally, soda-water (or aerated water) bottles are common finds on archaeological sites and can be some of the most informative artefacts we recover.

Advertisement for Schweppe’s aerated water from the Lyttleton Times, 5/02/1862.

Advertisement for Schweppe’s aerated water (Lyttleton Times, 5/2/1862).

The soda water industry has its origins in the latter half of the 18th century. It began as a medicinal product, created and sold by apothecaries for ailments like “putrid fevers, scurvy, dysentery, bilious vomiting etc” (Emmins 1991: 9). The first person to artificially carbonate water is believed to have been Dr Joseph Priestly, who wrote a book called Directions for Impregnating water with Fixed Air in the 1760s. Later, in 1792, Jacob Schweppe (yes, that Schweppe), established his first commercial scale soda water factory in London and the fizzy drink industry as we know it was born (Emmins 1991: 10).

Even after Schweppe started the ball rolling on the non-medicinal consumption of soda waters, the industry was still somewhat restricted by the available methods of bottling and storing their product. Glass and stoneware (ceramic) bottles were both used, but difficulties were encountered because of the internal pressure generated by the ‘fizz’ of the drink. Manufacturers had to use bottles with thick glass and find ways to seal the soda bottle and keep the cork or seal from being pushed out by the carbonation.

Two 1887 paintings by William Henry Hamilton Trood, showing the somewhat explosive uncorking of a torpedo shaped soda water bottle. Image: Munsey 2010: 3-4.

Two 1887 paintings by William Henry Hamilton Trood, showing the somewhat explosive uncorking of a torpedo-shaped soda water bottle. Image: Munsey 2010: 3-4.

In the early 1800s, one solution was the ‘torpedo’ bottle, which was constructed with a rounded or pointed base. This meant it had to be laid on its side, with the liquid inside the bottle keeping the cork moist so that it was less likely to shrink, fly out and unseal the bottle (Emmins 1991; Lindsey 2013; Munsey 2010: 4-9).

A torpedo shaped soda water bottle found in Christchurch and embossed with the details of Thomas Raine, Soda Water Manufacturer, Christchurch. Image: K. Bone.

A torpedo-shaped soda water bottle found in Christchurch and embossed with the details of Thomas Raine, soda water manufacturer, Christchurch. Image: K. Bone.

Lamont style soda bottle found in Christchurch, embossed with Lees & Evans, Reliance, Christchurch (1891-1913). Image: J. Garland.

Lamont style soda bottle, embossed with Lees & Evans, Reliance, Christchurch (1891-1913). Image: J. Garland.

 

Eventually, in the early 1870s, a man named Hiram Codd patented a new kind of soda water bottle, now known as the Codd bottle (or ‘marble bottle’). His invention used a marble to seal the bottle, in combination with the natural pressure of the carbonated liquid and a rubber seal, and quickly became a common and popular method of bottling soda water, particularly in the United Kingdom (Munsey 2010). Other inventions and adaptations were also applied to soda water bottles over the decades, including the Hogben patent, Hutchinson patent and, eventually, the crown finish (which we find on beer bottles today; Lindsey 2013). But none were quite so famous as the Codd patent.

Two different variations on the Codd patent, both found in Christchurch. Note the wide indent on both bottles, there to keep the marble at the top of the bottle after it was opened. The smaller indents above it stopped the marble from resealing the bottle when the drinker tilted it a certain way. The bottle on the left is embossed with T. C. Hill, Waltham, ChCh, Zebra Trade Mark Regd (1904-1914), while the one on the right reads Smith & Holland, Christchurch, Trade Mark (c. 1920-1924). Image: J. Garland.

Two different variations on the Codd patent, both found in Christchurch. Note the wide indent on both bottles, to keep the marble at the top of the bottle after it was opened. The smaller indents above it stopped the marble from resealing the bottle when the drinker tilted it a certain way. The bottle on the left is embossed with ‘T. C. Hill, Waltham, ChCh, Zebra Trade Mark Regd’ (1904-1914), while the one on the right reads ‘Smith & Holland, Christchurch, Trade Mark’ (c. 1920-1924). Image: J. Garland.

 Crown top soda bottle embossed with Ballin Brothers, Trade Mark Christchurch (1914 +). Image: J. Garland.

Crown top soda bottle embossed with ‘Ballin Brothers, Trade Mark Christchurch’ (1914 +). Image: J. Garland.

These bottles, in all their various forms, are the artefacts of the soda water industry that we find on archaeological sites throughout Christchurch. Here, soda water production began in the early 1860s (possibly slightly earlier) with manufacturers like Thomas Raine (later known as ‘Soda Pop Raine’), the Milsom family, and James Swann (among many others). Later, names like Henry Mace, the Sharpe brothers, Lees & Evans, the Ballin Brothers and George Ellingford came to dominate the industry (Donaldson et al. 1990). As the industry grew, it remained the province of small, almost boutique, manufacturers rather than large companies or conglomerates (Wilson 2005). Most of the factories employed only a couple of people to work on the bottling process (Press 20/7/1908: 8) and produced soda water for the local, rather than national or international, market.

An 1885 sketch of McPherson’s Aerated Water Manufactory on the corner of Worcester Street and Cambridge Terrace. Image: Christchurch City Libraries, File Reference CCL PhotoCD 12 IMG0064. Source: Lyttelton Times, 28 June 1851, p. 3.

An 1885 sketch of McPherson’s Aerated Water Manufactory on the corner of Worcester Street and Cambridge Terrace. Image: Christchurch City Libraries, File Reference CCL PhotoCD 12 IMG0064. Source: Lyttelton Times, 28 June 1851, p. 3.

Local soda water manufacturers branded their bottles with their names and company logos, and it’s these embossed designs that make these bottles so informative for archaeologists. As well as using the physical shapes of the bottles to understand the bottling technology being used in Christchurch, we can use the designs and names embossed on the glass to understand the who and the what and the when of the local soda water industry. Alterations to these designs can tell us when a bottle was made and, perhaps, when it might have been placed in the ground. We can see changes in the history of a company, like when it might have passed from father to son or when a new partner was brought on board.

Some of the bottle designs we come across are also tied to personal events or stories in the lives of the manufacturers, giving us a glimpse of the people behind the industry. Henry Mace, who operated a soda water factory on St Asaph Street from the 1880s until his death in 1902 (although the business continued until the 1920s), used a dog trademark on his bottles, supposedly in tribute to a dog that saved a member of the family from drowning (Donaldson et al. 1990: 244-245). Another manufacturer on St Asaph Street, John Robinson, used the image of a bicycle on his bottles in reference to his previous occupation as a cycle engineer (Donaldson et al. 1990: 254).

Left) A Henry Mace stoneware bottle, also found in Christchurch, showing the ‘Dog’ trademark; Right) A crown top J. Robinson bottle found in Christchurch, with the image of a bicycle embossed in the center. Images: J. Garland

Left: A Henry Mace stoneware bottle, showing the ‘Dog’ trademark; Right: A crown top J. Robinson bottle found in Christchurch, with the image of a bicycle embossed in the centre. Images: J. Garland

Yet, these bottles, despite their personal and commercial branding, were not made in New Zealand. The first New Zealand bottle production plant wasn’t started until the 1920s (Auckland Star 11/12/1925: 11), which means that every local manufacturer in Christchurch, and throughout the rest of the country, had to source their bottles from overseas. Fortunately, as well as the name of the contents manufacturer, many bottles were also embossed with the initials, logo or name of the bottle manufacturer. Manufacturers that we’ve come across include Australian, British and American glass-making factories, some of which made bottles for multiple Christchurch companies.

This George Ellingford & Sons bottle, although embossed with the details of the Christchurch based company, was made by Cannington, Shaw & Co, bottle makers based in St Helens, England. We know this, thanks to the C. S. & Co also embossed on the base of the bottle. Image: J. Garland.

This George Ellingford & Sons bottle, embossed with the details of the Christchurch-based company, was made by Cannington, Shaw & Co, bottle makers based in St Helens, England. We know this thanks to the ‘C. S. & Co’  embossed on the base of the bottle. Image: J. Garland.

It’s worth remembering that this also took place long before any kind of high speed communication was common in business endeavours. To get their personalised bottles, Christchurch manufacturers would have had to send off for them months in advance and wait for their purchases, not necessarily knowing whether or not their order had been received, processed or even produced correctly. It shows a kind of risk taking, a leap of faith, that those of us in the present day, with our instant communication and electronic transactions, can’t really comprehend.

There’s an interesting pattern to see here too, in the relationships between the local (grass-roots even) Christchurch soda water industry and the much larger industry of glass making in the late 19th and early 20th century. We’ve talked about global relationships on the blog before, in relation to importing overseas products like Wolfe’s Aromatic Schnapps, various pharmaceutical products and ceramics, and it’s something that leaps out again in this case. No matter how small the scale of production, how local the market, or how personal the branding, the Christchurch aerated water industry was part of a much wider, much more global industry. Frankly, it’s kind of cool that every time we pick up a soda water bottle at a site, we can see that connection right there in our hands, embossed onto the glass.

Jessie Garland

References

Auckland Star. [online] Available at: <http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz>.

Donaldson, B., Hume, G. & Costello, S., 1990. Antique Bottle and Containers of Christchurch and District. Christchurch Bottle and Collectibles Club: Christchurch.

Emmins, C., 1991. Soft Drinks: Their Origins and History. Shire Publications: Buckinghamshire.

Lindsey, B., 2013. Historic Glass Bottle Identification and Information Website. [online] Available at: <http://www.sha.org/bottle/>.

Lyttelton Times. [online] Available at: <http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz>.

Munsey, Cecil, 2010. Codd (Marble In the Neck) Soda Water Bottles: Then and Now. [online] Available at <http://www.sha.org/bottle/pdffiles/coddarticleMunsey.pdf>.

Press. [online] Available at: <http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz>.

Wilson, J., 2005. Christchurch City Contextual History Overview. Theme IV: Industry and Commerce. [online] Available at: <http://resources.ccc.govt.nz>.

Baker, hotel-keeper, confectioner, merchant…..mayor.

Once upon a time, there was a baker (a pie-maker, even) who left his home in Germany and travelled the length of the world to a small country in the South Pacific. There, in a young city built on a marsh, he made his name offering food, drink and lodging to weary travellers and local settlers alike. From near and far, they came to his hotel, his pie shop and his vault of wine until, eventually, he became so greatly esteemed that the citizens of the city on the marsh put forth his name and elected him to be their mayor. After he had retired, he still could not rest and continued to work tirelessly for the city, never once asking for recognition…

Photograph of John George Ruddenklau, taken c. 1892. Image: Christchurch City Libraries, file reference CCL PhotoCD 15, IMG0097.

John George Ruddenklau, taken c. 1892. Image: Christchurch City Libraries, file reference CCL PhotoCD 15, IMG0097.

It may seem a little silly, but the life of John George Ruddenklau, one time Mayor of Christchurch and a man involved in so much of Christchurch’s early history, reads a bit like a fairy tale. Or, at least, like the archetypal tale of the man who sets forth to find adventure and make his fortune in the big wide world.

He was born in the town of Hesse Cassel in Germany in 1829, and “brought up in the bakery business” (Cyclopedia of New Zealand 1903: 107) before leaving for London in the early 1850s. There, he continued to work as a baker until he took a berth aboard a ship to New Zealand in 1857, landing in Lyttelton later that same year (Press 16/12/1891: 5).

In Christchurch, he opened a bakery (also referred to as a pie shop and confectioner’s) and a beer shop at either end of a row of four buildings on the corner of High and Colombo streets, in the heart of the business district (Andersen 1949: 270-71; Lyttelton Times 3/4/1861: 1). Initially, he shared the location with two other businesses (a grocery and an eating house), before gradually taking over the whole corner. As well as operating as a “fancy bread and biscuit maker” (Andersen 1949: 270-71; Press 14/09/1861: 7), he had established the City Wine Vaults there by 1861, offering rooms for refreshment as well as supplying alcohol (Lyttelton Times 17/8/1861: 5).

An advertisement for the City Wine Vaults (left) and a drawing of what became the City Hotel block, with Ruddenklau's pie shop and beer store visible at either end (right). Image: Lyttelton Times 17/8/1861: 5; Andersen, 1949: 270.

Left: An advertisement for the City Wine Vaults (Lyttelton Times 17/8/1861: 5). Right: The corner of Colombo & High streets before the establishment of the City Hotel, with Ruddenklau’s pie shop and beer store visible at either end (Andersen 1949: 270).

An 1864 advertisement for the opening of J. G. Ruddenklau's City Hotel. Image: Lyttelton Times 12/4/1864: 5

An 1864 advertisement for the opening of J. G. Ruddenklau’s City Hotel. Image: Lyttelton Times 12/4/1864: 5

Eventually this part of town came to be known as the City Hotel block, after the hotel that Ruddenklau opened there in 1864. In opening this hotel, Ruddenklau combined his various skills to provide “every comfort and convenience appertaining to a first-class hotel” (Lyttelton Times 12/4/1864: 5). By all accounts the City Hotel was a large, well-furnished establishment, claiming such luxuries as the “best billiard room in New Zealand” (Star 15/6/1868: 1). Its central location must have been great for business, especially after a cab stand, which later grew to include Hansom cabs, set up right outside his front door.

Unfortunately, when we excavated the site of the City Hotel (which later became the Triangle Centre) we found almost nothing in the way of archaeological material, a result of the long history of construction in that location (Hennessey 2012). The wooden City Hotel building that Ruddenklau built in the early 1860s was demolished before 1910 to make way for a stone and brick building known as Mitchell’s City Hotel (Rice 1999: 46).

A photograph of the City Hotel building on the corner of High Street and Colombo Street. This was taken in 1880s, after Ruddenklau's retirement, by E. Wheeler & Son. Image:  Rice 1999: 46

The City Hotel building on the corner of High Street and Colombo Street. This was taken in 1880s, after Ruddenklau’s retirement, by E. Wheeler & Son. Image: Rice 1999: 46

What we did find, however, through archaeological excavations at other sites in Christchurch’s central business district, were fragments of ceramics printed with a pattern specific to the City Hotel and to Ruddenklau himself. The pattern is a rather garish pink and brown design, but the use of both the City Hotel name and Ruddenklau’s initials provides an interesting example of Victorian personal and commercial branding. It also suggests that Mr Ruddenklau was prosperous enough to warrant his own custom china set (which would have been made elsewhere in the world (probably Staffordshire) and imported into New Zealand).

Fragments of a saucer, teacup and mask jug, decorated with the City Hotel pattern and the initials J. G. R.

Fragments of a saucer, teacup and mask jug, decorated with the City Hotel pattern and the initials J. G. R. Image: J. Garland.

 

The spout from a mask jug decorated with the City Hotel pattern and found in a site at the corner of Cathedral Square. Image: J. Garland

A closeup of the spout of the City Hotel mask jug found in a site at the corner of Cathedral Square. Image: J. Garland

One of the fragments, found at a site on the corner of Cathedral Square, formed the spout of a ‘mask jug’, a jug decorated with the moulded relief of a face on the spout. Jugs like this are relatively rare archaeologically (although there are a couple of complete ones in the Canterbury Museum), and can feature a variety of different ‘faces’,including the male bearded face depicted here.

The other City Hotel china fragments include pieces of a tea cup and a saucer, also found at the Cathedral Square site, as well as another sherd from a (different) hotel site on Lichfield Street. It’s interesting to consider how, exactly, such distinctively branded tea-wares (which were presumably, part of a much larger set) ended up in the ground at sites with no known connection to either the City Hotel or to J. G. Ruddenklau.

The most likely explanation probably revolves around the fact that Ruddenklau retired from the hotel business in 1869 and was succeeded by J. Oram, who ran the ‘J. Oram Sheppard City Hotel’ until the late 19th century (Hennessey 2012: 3-4). Ruddenklau’s personalised china would have had no place in the new establishment and may have been sold off, probably cheaply, to those who didn’t mind drinking their tea out of cups and saucers decorated with someone else’s name. The appearance of such china, however, is particularly surprising at another – presumably competing – hotel.

Ruddenklau appears to have retired to his home in Addington after he left the City Hotel in 1869, at the relatively young age of 40 (Press 16/12/1891: 5). However, he apparently found retirement “irksome” (Press 16/12/1891: 5), and set himself up into business as a grain merchant, as well as getting involved in local politics.

Details of a testimonial presented to J. G. Ruddenklau for his efforts as Mayor during the International Exhibition hosted in Christchurch in 1882. Image: The Evening Post 22/11/1882: 3

Details of a testimonial presented to J. G. Ruddenklau for his efforts as Mayor during the International Exhibition hosted in Christchurch in 1882. Image: Evening Post 22/11/1882: 3

He was first elected to the Christchurch City Council in 1863, then again in 1873 and 1877 (Press 16/12/1891: 5). He followed this up by running for and being elected as Mayor of Christchurch in 1881 (Press 16/12/1891: 5) and again (unopposed) in 1882 (Star 22/11/1892: 3). During his time in office Christchurch hosted the International Exhibition, a showcase of exhibits from all over the world held in Hagley Park from April to July of 1882 (Christchurch City Libraries 2013). Numerous accounts of his mayoral career mention the success of this event (Evening Post 22/11/1882: 3; Press 16/12/1891: 5). Later, in 1884, he was exhorted to stand as one of the Canterbury members of parliament by the electors of Stanmore, which he then did as part of Sir Julius Vogel’s party (Press 15/07/1884: 4; Star 17/07/1884: 3).

A photograph of the temporary buildings constructed to house the New Zealand International Exhibition,  hosted in Hagley Park in 1882.

The temporary buildings constructed to house the New Zealand International Exhibition, hosted in Hagley Park in 1882, during Ruddenklau’s tenure as mayor. Image: Christchurch City Libraries, file reference CCL PhotoCD 2, IMG0008.

As well as his involvement in local politics, it seems that John Ruddenklau was also a particularly active member of the local Christchurch community, like so many of the early Christchurch figures we’ve featured here on the blog. He served as the treasurer of the Albion Cricket Club (Lyttelton Times 3/10/1868: 1), Chairman of Christchurch Young Men’s Club Committee (Press 20/12/1883: 2), on the Board of Directors for the Canterbury Brewing Malt and Distillery Company (Press 2/07/1867: 3), and as President of the Christchurch German Association (Press 26/5/1863: 3), along with various other roles.

It was in that last role, as President of the German Association, that he was instrumental in procuring the ‘German Bells’  for Christchurch in 1873. These were church bells made for the German Church (Deutsche Kirche) from gun metal taken from the French by Germany during the Franco-Prussian war and gifted to the Association by Kaiser Wilhelm I (Press 26/5/1873: 3). The site of the German Church, on Montreal Street, was excavated as part of the construction of the Christchurch Art Gallery, which now stands in the same location. Interestingly, the church bells were taken down and melted following the end of World War I, seemingly as a result of anti-German and pro-French sentiments (Dominion 9/06/1919: 4).

John George Ruddenklau died in 1891 at the age of 72, following a long illness (Press 16/12/1891: 5). His name is not one that has endured in the public eye since his death, nor is he one of Christchurch’s more well-remembered figures. Yet his contribution to the early prosperity of this city is undeniable, and his tireless work, as a businessman, as a politician, and as an involved member of the 19th century Christchurch community, makes him a man worth remembering. Thankfully, and it’s one of the greatest things about this job, the archaeological work we’re doing here at the moment gives us the chance to do just that.

Jessie Garland

Bibliography

Andersen, J. C., 1949. Old Christchurch in Picture and Story. Simpson & Williams Ltd, Christchurch.

Christchurch City Libraries, Digital Collections. [online] Available at: <http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/heritage/photos/disc6/IMG0061.asp>.

Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]. 1903. [online] Available at <http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/>.

Dominion. [online] Available at <http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz>.

Evening Post. [online] Available at <http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz>.

Hennessey, M., 2012. High, Colombo and Cashel streets triangle, Christchurch: A report on archaeological monitoring. Unpublished report for Mackey Leighs Demolition.

Rice, G. W., 1999. Christchurch Changing An Illustrated History. Canterbury University Press, Christchurch.

Press. [online] Available at <http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz>.

Star. [online] Available at <http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz>.

‘It isn’t all beer and skittles’

– Thomas Hughes, Tom Brown’s School Days, 1857

It’s hard to picture what many of Christchurch’s buildings looked like before the earthquake. For many locals the torn down remains of a building or an empty lot remind them of a favourite hangout, a birthday or even the best burgers in town. The archaeology that has been excavated and collected from these sites and buildings provides evidence of earlier and equally personal stories and events, proving these buildings were full of life for over a century. One example of this is the Oxford Hotel, also known as the Oxford Family Hotel, the Oxford Victualling Co. and latterly as the Oxford on Avon.

DSCF0385


The Oxford on Avon Hotel post-earthquake, 8 November 2011. Photo: M. Hennessey.

The Oxford Hotel was located on the corner of Oxford Terrace and Colombo Street and was one of the city’s older hotels. Originally established as a boarding house by Antill and Sarah Adley in 1860 or 1861, the hotel gained a licence to sell alcohol in 1862 and began operating as a pub as well as a boarding house. It was at this time that the establishment was renamed the Oxford Family Hotel (Greenaway 2007: 14). Adley had proprietorship of the hotel until his retirement in 1873 (The Cyclopedia of New Zealand 1903) and continued to own the land and lease it out until 1903 (Christchurch Deeds Index C1 c.1853: 616). The hotel lease was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Dann in 1875, who transferred the lease to Mr. Bately, who rebuilt the building in 1883 (this was the building that stood until the earthquake; Star 5/6/1883: 3). What we found from the archaeological data and historical records is that this building not only acted as a hotel but as a central hub for the wider community, which was not uncommon for 19th century hotels in New Zealand.

market place


View from the Colombo Street bridge looking south to the Cathedral: at left is the Oxford Hotel and at right is Market (Victoria) Square, c. 1885. Image: Christchurch City Library, File Reference CCL Photo CD 02 IMG0020.

 


Image: Star 22/4/1878: 4.

The hotel was nice and close to Victoria Square, first known as Market Square and a centre of activity in early Christchurch. This must have been good for business and it allowed the hotel to cater to the wider community, hosting meetings and events, acting as a morgue or emergency room in some cases (Press 15/4/1879: 2; Star 4/2/1890: 3), and all the while supplying cheap alcohol from the pub. During Dann’s operation of the hotel he offered membership to a skittle alley and often hosted skittle and quoit tournaments. Mail and messages could be left at the Oxford by or for patrons (Star 28/4/1869: 3), so it functioned as a post office too. Most importantly, though, the Oxford Hotel was a pub: Dann’s advertisements in the local newspapers constantly mentioned the array of spirits available, with an emphasis on the cheap prices.

Of the 925 glass artefacts recovered from the site, 395 were black beer bottles, 196 were wine bottles and another 99 were other liquor or spirit bottles. There were also 52 porter or stout bottles. Sounds like a lot of alcohol, right? Think again. To put it into context, even if only one bottle of alcohol were drunk a day, this would represent little more than two year’s drinking. So where did all the other bottles go, then? Well, the Avon River was conveniently close…


Adley advertisement. Image: Lyttelton Times 23/8/1862: 3.

 

black


Sample of black beer and wine bottle bases from the site. The black beer bottles that make up the bulk of this assemblage become less common after 1880. As such, it is likely that these bottles were associated with either Adley or Dann’s period at the hotel. Image: K. Webb.

A number of smoking pipes were also found, confirming that the combination of alcohol and tobacco was just as common in the 19th century as it is today. Many of the pipes were made by Charles Crop, a manufacturer from London whose pipes have been found on hotel and residential sites in both New Zealand and Australia (Brassey 1991: 30; Macready et al. 1990: 57). Tantalisingly, the embossing on some of the pipe stems hints at the origins of some of the smokers: “QUEENSLANDER” and “LACHLANDER”. Perhaps the smoker purchased these as a reminder of home.