The Canterbury Hotel (Brown Pub) dates back to February 1883 when a Mr William Rowse, former South Rakaian police constable, bought the current site and laid the foundations for this local institution. The pub was up and running later that year with the local rag, the Ashburton Mail, reporting on October 13th, “W. Rowse begs to inform the travelling public now having opened the above newly erected and commodious hotel”.
The original hotel was built in 1883 and fell victim to fire on June 19th 1922. The fire started in the early hours and the old wooden building lit up like a tinder box. The local fire brigade took water from the open water race which ran beside the hotel but were unable to save the building. Down, but not out, the publican of the day James McTaggert, rebuilt the hotel on the same site.
The same spirit is alive at The Brown today. It is a place where we all get in and help each other out. A place where you always see a friendly face both behind the bar and propping it up on the other side. The building itself is not what makes the pub tick but the personality of the people in it.
Sons, grandsons and great grandsons have inherited The Brown as their local, and it has ensured the history of the pub is not a staid thing, but a living, breathing part of the place. It is a pub where friendships are formed and consolidated over the odd drop of beer (or two!)