The Anchor Inn


The original Anchor Inn building was built in 1856 on Haven Road near Auckland Point. Prior to the land reclamations of the 1950s, Haven Road was a narrow, waterside thoroughfare connecting the port and Nelson township.

The Anchor Inn at Founders Park todayThe Anchor Inn at Founders Park today
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There were many hotels along the small strip of land between the hill and sea, supporting the busy port industry. Originally the 1856 building was called the Shipwrights Arms. However, it soon became the Anchor Inn, reflecting the establishment of the Anchor Steam Packet Company at this time.

The longest standing proprietor of the Anchor Inn was Ann Adam. In 1867 her husband purchased the Inn and she took over after his death until 1878 when she sold to Heinrich Intemann.

Intemann ran the Anchor Inn for several year, but in 1882 the police objected to his publican's license application due to the dilapidated state of the building.1 His license was granted on condition that he erect a new building within the next six months. In 1883 he demolished and rebuilt the Inn, as it now stands, and renamed it the Clarendon Hotel.

The Clarendon Hotel ca late 1800sThe Clarendon Hotel ca late 1800s Haven Road. The Nelson Provincial Museum, Miscellaneous Collection: ½ 734.
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The Clarendon Hotel operated for about fifteen years under a series of proprietors. One of the proprietors, W. Evans Dempsie, lost his publican's license in 1888 after being found guilty of trespass without lawful excuse. His wife considered applying for the license but could not unless she was either widowed or took out a protection order against her husband. This forced them to leave the Hotel.

An advertisement for the Hotel in 1891 described the house as "built within the last ten years, and... in good order. Contains six bedrooms upstairs, and five rooms downstairs, with kitchen range. Gas and water laid on."2 Mary Ann Ruff bought the Clarendon Hotel in 19033 and turned the old establishment into a respectable guesthouse. In 1984 the building was removed to Founders Heritage Park where it was reinstated with its earlier name, the Anchor Inn.

The text of this story was written for an Interpretation Panel at Founders Heritage Park, 2010

Updated May 2021

Sources used in this story

  1. Licensing committee (1882, 7 June) Nelson Evening Mail Vol XVII (121), p 2. Retrieved from
  2. Auction notice(1893, 28 February) Nelson Evening Mail, vol XXVII (49) p3 Advertisements col 5. Retrieved from
  3. Nelson Evening Mail (1903, 30 October) vol XXXVII (208) p2.  Retrieved from

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