Thistle Hall Strengthening

Cuba Street’s Thistle Hall will be closed for around 6 months for earthquake strengthening work, which started on 31 March 2014.

Thistle Hall on the corner of Cuba Street and Karo Drive

Thistle Hall as it is today.


Since work started at the beginning of April 2014. we’ve made steady progress with the majority of the internal strengthening work on Thistle Hall now complete. See Work Plan for the latest update.

Why we are doing this work


Built in 1907, Thistle Hall is a load-bearing brick masonry building with concrete foundations built on the corner of Cuba Street and Arthur Street. The hall is over 100 years old and has an historical association with several prominent local cultural groups, such as the Wellington Association of Scottish Societies.

The hall is also associated with significant periods of Wellington social history such as the development of the inner-city bypass and the city’s punk music scene in the early 1980s. 

To find out more about Thistle Hall’s history see:

History - Thistle Hall

The building is an example of Edwardian commercial architecture. Prominent Wellington architectural practice Penty and Blake designed the building. Other projects of theirs included Victoria University in 1904, and the building on the corner of Manners and Cuba streets (which would come to house James Smith’s department store).

Thistle Hall is a listed heritage building in the District Plan and the Council has granted resource consent for the strengthening work to go ahead.

Earthquake-prone building

Thistle Hall is deemed to be an earthquake-prone building because it achieves less than 33% of the current new build standard (NBS). The work being done will bring the building up to around 67% of the NBS.

The main factors that make the building earthquake-prone are:

  • the limited number of walls across the front end of the building
  • deficiencies in the roof bracing.   

The strengthening project will fix these problems. This project is part of our work programme to strengthen our earthquake-prone buildings to build a resilient city.

Improving Earthquake Resilience

Work plan

To make Thistle Hall stronger and safer, contractors Naylor Love Construction Ltd will:

  • do small-scale earthworks to set a foundation for new steel frames being installed at both ends inside the building
  • fit internal steel bracing to the side and rear walls.

There will be scaffolding surrounding the building later in the project to enable the contractors to access the roof where the internal columns poke through.

August 2014 - Early on, we found that some parts inside the building, which hadn’t been exposed for decades, were in poor condition and needed to be fixed – this included rotten window frames, floor joist ends and rusted steel beams.

We worked together with the Council’s heritage advisor, the architect, structural engineer, contractor and other interested parties to find the best ways to fix these problems efficiently and cost-effectively.

We also brought in a property consultant board to identify and find appropriate solutions to repair items on the building exterior.

Check out photos of the work in progress below:


Time frame and project budget

We expect the project to take up to 6 months to complete. 

The Council has a budget of around $1 million for costs relating to the Thistle Hall earthquake-strengthening project.

Booking the hall

If you're interested in booking the hall once it re-opens, phone the Thistle Hall office manager on 04 384 3088 or email

More information

Location map.



Thistle Hall Office Manager

Phone (04) 384 3088
Street Address Corner of Cuba Street and Arthur Street