Christchurch club shelves 'working men' identity in major $21m revamp

27 October 2020

Christchurch's Hornby Club has opened the first phase of its $21 million redevelopment, a revamp which brings a new pavilion, family dining spaces and a live music venue - Supplied/Stuff

A Christchurch club is ushering in a new era with a shift in its identity and the opening of the first stage of its $21 million redevelopment.

The Hornby Club has been revamped to help ensure its future and appeal to a wider range of people, now housing a new pavilion and dining spaces, a live music venue and pool and gaming rooms.

In recent years more than half its members were over the age of 60 – though its membership is 7000-strong and growing – and the club’s managers wanted to reinvent it and make it more welcoming to younger people and families.

The club is keen to keep its traditions but wants to attract families and younger people to remain relevant. - Supplied/Stuff

Founded in 1956 as The Hornby Working Men’s Club for employees of the local freezing works and glassworks, it has done away with its former moniker, a move which bosses hope will help reinvigorate it.

While there is a shift in identity, general manager Paul Inwood is determined the changes will not do away with tradition and that a balance can be struck between the old and new.

“We have members who have been friends for 50 years through their connection with the club. They come down each week to play cards or pool or have a drink. It has a lovely community feel.

“The way people interact with hospitality has changed over the years as trying the latest or newest bar or restaurant each week has grown in popularity. However, we think there is still a space for club life in New Zealand.

The older part of the Hornby Working Men’s Club. - Joseph Johnson/Stuff

“When you belong to a club you can head down any night of the week and you will most likely see a friendly face to have a drink with.”

The 18-month project came to fruition at the weekend, when more than 2500 people attended the opening of the first stage of redevelopment.

A second phase, which includes a family restaurant, children’s playground and a conference facility that can accommodate 400 people, will open in mid-2021.

A working men's club since opening in 1956, that moniker has now been dropped from the Hornby Club’s name. - Supplied/Stuff

“When you belong to a club you can head down any night of the week and you will most likely see a friendly face to have a drink with.”

The 18-month project came to fruition at the weekend, when more than 2500 people attended the opening of the first stage of redevelopment.

A second phase, which includes a family restaurant, children’s playground and a conference facility that can accommodate 400 people, will open in mid-2021.

(SOURCE: Dominic Harris, 26 October 2020, https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/123204045/christchurch-club-shelves-working-men-identity-in-major-21m-revamp)

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