top of page


On the 15th of July 1885 the Commander of the Canterbury District, Lieut. Colonel Lean called a meeting of the District’s Officers to establish a Garrison Library to provide for advancement of the professional knowledge of the District’s Officers’ and to foster esprit-de-corps. The meeting was suggested by the then Major Slater of the Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry, with the two of them acknowledged as the founders of the Canterbury Officers’ Club.

Twelve Officers attended that first meeting, with apologies from another nine. From that modest beginning the Club went from strength to strength. Military books and manuals were immediately ordered and meetings were held monthly with a lecture or reading held on some military topic. The original Rules included one that “no wines or spirituous liquors” would be permitted, but by the early 1900’s that appears to have been relaxed as there are records of functions held with “refreshments”.

From 1885  - 1905 the Club met in various district Orderly rooms, but in September 1905 moved into more permanent space inside King Edward Barracks, where they were to remain till 1919. Lectures on military topics continued through this time and the Club’s members served and fell with distinction in WW1.

Although the Officers’ Club had been promised a space in King Edward Barracks in perpetuity, the end of WW1 saw large numbers of soldiers returning so in 1919 the Club was kindly asked to vacate KEB, so moved to leased space in Worcester Street. Various premises followed until in 1957 the Club moved into its purpose built two story building on Gloucester Street where it was to remain until the devastating Christchurch Earthquakes of 2010 & 2011. The Gloucester Street building was not badly damaged but as the costs of construction soared, the bill to repair the Club and upgrade it to the new building standard soon outpaced the insurance cover.

Fortunately discussions had already commenced with the Canterbury Club pre-earthquake and the result is our current arrangement with the Officers’ Club purchasing Membership services from the Canterbury Club. In effect we have become a “Club within a Club”, with the Officers’ Club members enjoying membership of both Clubs.

For a more in depth look at the history of the Canterbury Officers’ Club, copies of the Club’s Centennial History 1885 – 1985 can be purchased from the Club Secretary.


The Canterbury Officers’ Club has had many notable Life Members through the years including Captain Charles Upham VC & bar and Marshal of the Royal Air Force, The Lord Elworthy.

bottom of page