The Wellesley Club

Lord Wellesley statue The Wellesley Club, in existence for 125 years, is sadly now in the process of closing. Membership has been steadily waning, and today’s society has diminished interest in traditional clubs.

At a Special General Meeting in 2014, club members decided to cease operating as a club and to dispose of all the Club’s assets. It is fair to say that some controversy around shareholder funding for potential seismic strengthening of the Wellesley Building was a contributing factor.

In recognising the heritage value of the Club as part of New Zealand’s society, the Club was keen to find a way to preserve the memory of th Club for posterity.

The Club committee had developed a strong relationship with the Wellington Club, which led to an agreement with the Wellington Club to rename its Wellington Room, to become the Wellesley Room which would house and display certain Wellesley Club memorabilia.

Meanwhile all of the Cub’s artwork, silverware, furniture and other chattels has been sold, apart from the memorabilia gifted to the Wellington Club.

Of particular significance is the Club’s caricature collection, which Club members were keen to see preserved as a collection and available for viewing, rather than being broken up or sold into private ownership. In the absence of any public institution prepared to meet the cCub’s requirements, it was particularly gratifying that the Wellington Club has become the new custodian of the collection, a selection of which is now on display there.

The Club no longer organises activities for members, apart from AGMs that are necessary while the Club remains an incorporated society. Another exception was the very successful November 2016 function to celebrate the Club’s 125th anniversary, the opening of the Wellesley Room and the preservation of key memorabilia.

For the future, all that remains is for the Club to sell its shares in Wellesley Westminster Limited (the company that owns the Wellesley Building) then to work through the inevitable winding-up process.

Some Wellesley Club members have now joined the Wellington Club. This is a traditional private club with a strong and professional operation, many facilities for members, a large membership and a full schedule of events. In recognition of today’s social environment, the Wellington Club has modern facilities.

Grant Purdie


About the Club

The Wellesley Club was named after Arthur Wellesley, formally known as the Duke of Wellington. The Duke was a sponsor of the New Zealand Company, and one of the principal towns of the new colony was named after him. In 1891 when a group of Wellington businessmen decided to establish another gentlemen’s club, they chose the name Wellesley for its historical connections with the city. The building has been designated a grade 1 Heritage Building by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

Built in the grand tradition of London’s Pall Mall Clubs, it is considered one of the finest examples of neo-Georgian architecture in Wellington. The Wellesley Club is a landmark building near the heart of the city's financial district. It occupies a prominent street corner and it possesses a distinguished architectural character.

The building has a certain timeless and universal quality and has remained little changed to the present day, with all major internal spaces in near original condition. The beautiful balance and proportion of the facades and the excellent attention to detail are appreciated as much today as in the last century.

The Wellesley Club itself was important in the social and business life of the capital city for over 100 years with many members being well-known in their various professions. "Here politicians, businessmen and runholders met to socialise and do business".

Club Committee

President – Grant Purdie
Chairman – Grant Purdie:
Secretary – Gordon Stewart:
Treasurer – Phil Major:
Immediate Past Treasurer – Anthony Wilson:

Other members:
Andre Bredenkamp:
Paul Jonson:
Ray Harding: