Antonio Hall, listed as a Category 2 Historic Place, is a large abandoned mansion located in Christchurch, New Zealand. Thomas Kincaid, a successful grocery merchant, had construction begin in 1904 on six acres of land, however, the structure wasn’t fully completed until 1909. Clarkson and Ballantyne were commissioned to design and oversee the development of the mansion which was intended to be styled as a comfortable modernised Victorian/English Domestic building. By 1929, though, both Mr Kincaid and his wife had passed away and the property was sold to John Montgomery, a prominent citizen of Christchurch. Throughout Mr Montgomery’s ownership the mansion retained its original name as the ‘Kincaid Property’, although the gardens were extensively redeveloped. Nevertheless, by 1946 the house was once again sold; this time to Bishop P.F. Lyons, on behalf of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops. In 1947 the Kincaid Property subsequently became the ‘Holy Name Seminary’, catering for young boys who aspired to become priests. Towards the very end of the 1940’s it was reasoned the that premises were inadequate for its new purpose, thus, money was invested to construct additional dormitories, a new dining room and and onsite chapel; which opened in 1950. The chapel was later extended in 1959 when the Holy Name Seminary became a house of Philosophy and a Major Seminary. Further lecture halls were also included in the ongoing renovations. Unfortunately, not too soon after affording time and effort into such extensions, it was deemed that it was no longer financially viable to manage the property; the decline in enrolling numbers had a detrimental effect upon the the future of the house and Seminary.
In the years to follow, the Churches only viable option was to operate the premises as a private hostel for university students. As it effectively became a student hall of residence, or college as they are otherwise termed, it was subsequently renamed and became known as ‘Campion Hall’. By 1981, the property was sold to Mrs Luisetti and her husband, and they chose to run the site as a boarding house. The building was able to cater for up to one hundred people at a time and the additional space was often used to cater for further wedding receptions and other joyous events. Mrs Luisetti renamed the house in memory of her son, who was tragically killed in 1975. For unknown reasons the building was later sold to the Wellstar Company Ltd., and since then it has remained largely vacant; despite now being privately owned. On a positive note though, there are reports suggesting that in the years it has been closed a few of the rooms have been used as temporary accommodation for people who are homeless.
In 2011 Antonio Hall fell victim to the earthquakes, like many of the buildings across Christchurch. The only person rumoured to be living onsite at the time was the groundskeeper and, despite the extensive damage that occurred in the section he was living in, it is reported that he managed to escape unharmed. The former mansion, which covers 4283 square metres, with over one hundred bedrooms, seven lecture rooms, a library, a cool store, dining and kitchen facilities, a water-tower, garden sheds and a chapel, now lies entirely abandoned; potentially awaiting demolition.
Our Version of Events
Yet again we have another property potentially awaiting demolition in Christchurch, primarily because the estimated costs to repair the site are considered to be too great. As an explore though, Antonio Hall offers much more than your average mansion. From the outside one can easily be forgiven for making the assumption that it’s likely to be nothing too special, however, once inside it’s foreseeable that opinions will be swayed. We wandered around this site for hours, taking in all of the objects that have been left behind and forgotten. The site was so big I’ve been unable to post photos of everything that can be found inside. The best way to describe the site is as a wacky maze, full of intricate designs and styles, and yet, there’s also a certain sense of sadness about the place, as beds lie untended and various bits and pieces have started to crumble away.
Explored with Nillskill.