Sunday, 21 August 2016

Bellerive Hotel

This hotel was first licensed in 1859 and was originally called ”Todd’s Hotel” in honor of its first publican, Christopher James Todd. The owner of the Golden Fleece Hotel which was located nearby opposed the granting of the license on the grounds that another public house in the district was not required. However, it was accepted that the new hotel would be a great convenience to pleasure seekers and settlers from the country.

The name of the premises was changed to the “Bellerive Hotel” in 1861 when Samuel Kirkby became the publican. Sadly Kirkby took his own life the following year. On the evening in question he had been drinking ale & gin and some beer, for his supper when he became unusually excitable and bad tempered. Kirkby had often threatened to poison himself and when the police were called in the early hours of the morning, they found that he was not altogether right. A doctor was sent but nothing could be done. The jury’s verdict at the subsequent coronial inquest was that Kirkby ‘came to his death by poison, administered by his own hands, while of unsound mind and under the influence of drink’

Kirkby had arrived in the colony as a convict and the records reveal that this was not the first time he had used poison. In 1838 Kirkby had been apprenticed to a butcher in Lincoln when he murdered him with poison. Kirkby was sentenced to death but this was later commuted to transportation for life on the grounds that his master had been ill using him.

The Bellerive Hotel continued to operate and had been operating for 80 years when it was gutted by fire in 1939. The fire started in the adjacent garage and the proprietor of the ‘Clarence Hotel’ on the opposite side of the street, was awoken by the roar of the flames just after midnight. He lost no time in raising the alarm and a large number of residents assembled to try and prevent the fire from spreading. Unfortunately, the fire secured a hold in the hotel roof, which was galvanized iron with wooden rafters and shingles beneath. The heat became so intense that efforts to save the building had to be abandoned but the licensee assisted by many helpers, managed to remove most of the stock before it was lost.

The majority of the building was condemned but the front section of the ground floor was salvaged as temporary premises while plans for a new building were drawn up. The opening of the bridge over the Derwent in 1943 removed most of the passing trade and rebuilding on a new site was investigated. By 1951 there was still no progress and the authorities decided the ‘Bellerive Hotel’ should be de-licensed.
The ground floor section of the old hotel still remains and is currently being used as office space.

Main Text & Information Source –
 “The Story of Bellerive – Street by Street” – Donald Howatson 2015