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The Club took entries for its inaugural Race Meeting at Addington up to 10.00pm at its Office in Duncan’s Building, Cashel Street which was rented from Mrs Duncan.
Earlier the Lancaster Park Amateur Trotting Club took its entries at Cokers Hotel and for its Meeting on Saturday, 13th April 1895, at its rooms, Hobbs Building, Cathedral Square. For its Meeting in April 1897, entries were taken up to 10.00pm at the rooms rented by the Canterbury Trotting Club in Duncan’s Building, Cashel Street. Following the amalgamation of the Canterbury and MZMTC, the latter Club took over the offices from the Canterbury Trotting Club paying rent until 1901.
In mid March 1901, the Club moved its rooms from Duncan’s Building to Tonks, Norton & Company’s new building in Hereford Street. Although not fully completed, the arrangements provided a Members Room with seating for up to 50 people. The Secretary’s Room was furnished and complete in every detail. The premises, although accredited to the NZMTC were used by the Canterbury Park (formerly Plumpton Park) and the New Brighton Trotting Clubs each making a rental payment to the NZMTC until the offices were established at Addington Raceway. The Christchurch Racing Club also made a rental payment in 1904.
In August 1909, a sub-committee was formed to enquire into the possibility of obtaining suitable offices to rent or the purchase of a section on which to build. Their enquires resulted in the signing of a lease for offices in the Victoria Buildings, Armagh Street where the three Clubs remained until April 1924 as tenants of Mr G Treleaven and later his estate.
In November 1919, a sub-committee was set up to enquire into the purchase of land at the corner of Armagh Street and Oxford Terrace.
Negotiations were entered into with the Public Trust to purchase their office building in Gloucester Street but were not completed, and finally in October 1921, a further sub-committee was appointed to negotiate the purchase of properties at the corner of Armagh Street and Oxford Terrace at between £3,500 and £4,000.
In November 1921, a deposit of £250 was paid to Mr R McConnell and in December of that year £150 deposit was paid to Mr D G Buchanan. In April of the following year, the final payments for the land were made £3,450 to Mr McConnell and £1,250 to Mr Buchanan.
In July 1922, the Architect was instructed to prepare plans for the Armagh Street office building and in November of that year, Luttrell Bros. submitted plans and estimates for a new office block. In December, a sub-committee was appointed to go into the building of the office and in January 1923, the sub-committee finally recommended that the new office block be proceeded with and Luttrell Bros. be asked to give an estimate of the cost. In February of that year, Luttrell’s were instructed to proceed at once with the construction of the office block at an estimated cost of £6,100. The tenants in the existing building were given notice to quit and the building was sold by public auction for removal. By May 1924, progress payments of £7,500 had been made to Luttrells and in June, a further £1,000 was paid with the balance being paid in August. The total cost of the building was £9,961 and together with the cost of the land at £5,100, the whole project had cost the NZMTC £15,061.
The Annual Report of the Club published in June 1922 stated that since the previous Annual Meeting, the Club had purchased a city property at the corner of Armagh Street and Oxford Terrace with the object of building new offices as the present offices in Armagh Street were proving quite inadequate to carry out the Club’s business.
The New Zealand Racing Conference rented that part of the top floor facing Armagh Street from March 1924 at a monthly rental of £14/11/8 which was increased two years later to £16/13/4. The NZ Racing Conference terminated its tenancy in August 1930 when the controlling body of Racing was transferred to Wellington. The NZ Trotting Association rented the balance of the top floor, the area facing Oxford Terrace, from March 1924 at a monthly rental of £20/16/8. In June 1931, the Canterbury Park and New Brighton Trotting Clubs rentals were increased to £75 and £50 respectively.
After the NZ Racing Conference vacated its premises, the NZ Trotting Association moved into those rooms and in September 1937, as the Club had decided to operate its own totalisator and use the two back rooms upstairs as totalisator offices, the NZ Trotting Association rented the balance of the top floor.
In August 1941, the Architect was asked to prepare plans for alterations to the office building and new plans were submitted and approved. However, the lowest tender amounted to £750, it was decided to postpone the alterations in the meantime.
In September 1942, as a war measure, the Secretary was instructed to have the offices blacked out and to advise the tenants they must do likewise.
In late 1947, it was decided to prepare plans for major internal alterations involving part of the public area, strong rooms and other facilities. Part of the public area was converted to provide additional general office space, the main strong room was extended into the stairwell, the back strong room was concerted into a men’s toilet and washroom, kitchen facilities were provided in part of the main toilet block, the balance of which became a ladies toilet. The contract for these alterations together with essential repairs went to B Moore & Sons Ltd for £2,100.
In July 1950, it was suggested that the vacant land in Armagh Street should be built on to provide accommodation for the off course betting scheme but the Totalisator Agency Board advised in December of that year that they had purchased a building in Worcester Street and therefore were not able to avail themselves of the Club’s offer.
In July 1952, the Armagh Street section was converted into a car park for use by certain of the Club’s Officers and Staff.
In June 1955, it was agreed that certain alterations should be made to the main office to provide accommodation for the totalisator department so that the area formerly occupied by that department could be let to the NZ Trotting Conference who required additional space.
When the alterations were completed the NZ Trotting Conference rented the top floor at £575 per annum. One of the terms of the rental agreement was that the upstairs boardroom was to be available, gratis, to the three Clubs by mutual agreement.
At a meeting of the Joint House and Finance Committee held on 11 December 1962, one of the recommendations made to the Committees of the three Clubs was that the siting of the office at Addington should be considered. The NZMTC’s Committee referred the recommendation to its House and Finance sub-committee for a report which was placed before the Committee at its meeting in March 1963 when it was decided to hold the matter over. At a meeting in June of that year, the House and Finance sub-committee’s report was referred to the Committees’ of the other two Clubs for their consideration. The following month after having considered the sub-committee’s report the two Clubs advised the NZMTC Committee that their Committees were still of the opinion that the offices should be moved to Addington as soon as possible. In August 1963 it was decided that before the recommendation to the Directors to instruct the Architect to prepare sketch plans was put into effect, the Secretary should report on accommodation requirements and prepare a sketch plan of an office block. In September, the Secretary reported that his plans and report were received and referred to the Club’s House and Finance sub-committee for their report. In December the Addington Trotting Course Ltd’s request regarding the siting of the proposed office building was referred to the House and Finance Committee and at its meeting in February 1964 it was agreed that the two main points to be decided were:- 1) The siting of the office. 2) The number of floors required.
Four sites were suggested and the Committee was of the opinion that the building should be of two storeys and agreed that the Addington Trotting Course be asked to instruct the Architect to prepare such sketch plans.
In April the Architect’s sketch plans were referred to the House and Finance Committee for a report and later that month, after further discussion, it was agreed that the Committee was in favour of a one storey office block but was unhappy about the suggested siting of the boardroom and the cafeteria as they both appeared to have the best aspect. In July at a further meeting of the Committee, 15 points were made regarding improvements to the sketch plan and it was finally decided that plan 1, with suggested modifications, be approved.
In September, it was decided that no action be taken on the plan approved by the Directors until the House and Finance Committee was satisfied with proposals. In October the action of the House and Finance Committee in approving plans was ratified by the full Committee. This action was taken almost two years after the original suggestion that the siting of the offices at Addington should be considered.
In June 1965, the Directors reported that five tenders had been received for the office block and that these ranged from £43,736 to £48,097. The overall cost would be in the vicinity of £50,991 but this was considered too high by the NZMTC’s Committee and they held the view that every effort should be made to reduce the cost. In the following month, at a combined meeting of the three Club’s Committees I was recommended to the Directors that the tender of Atkinson and Forbes Ltd amounting to £43,736 be accepted and the Directors discuss with the Architect the possibility of effecting any reasonable economies to bring the cost below £8 per square foot.
In May 1966, the office building at the corner of Oxford Terrace and Armagh Street was offered for sale by auction and the sale was finally negotiated with the Western Building Society for £37,778 with the proviso that the NZ Trotting Conference’s tenancy be extended to 1 February 1967 as a condition of sale. The Addington Raceway office block was completed six weeks ahead of schedule and the staff moved in and were open for business on Monday, 20 June 1966, three and a half years after the Joint House and Finance Committee made its recommendation.
The official opening was held on Tuesday, 21st June 1966, at 4-30pm. The Committees of the three Clubs, representatives of the newspapers, the Architects, Principals of the contracting firm, male members of the office staff and the Course Superintendent were present.
Credit: NZMTC: Historical Notes compiled by D C Parker