Feb 21, 2008

A Gate with a 150 Year History

The Synod Hall and Library of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch was completed in 1859. Built in the medieval Gothic revival style to the design of the renowned Benjamin Mountfort (1824-1898), the building featured corrugated iron cladding on a hardwood frame.

Now enjoying a revival, this was something of a daring architectural experiment for the time. But its acceptance is evidenced by Mountfort's use of the same cladding on the 1875 Administration building & Surgeon's premises for the Christchurch Hospital.

Situated in Rolleston Avenue on what is now part of the site of Christ's College, the building was demolished in 1919. However, the original door and portico survive as a gate between the College grounds and the Botanical Gardens.

Note: the use of corrugated iron as roof cladding does not appear in the Canterbury photographic until 1879. Thus "restored" buildings predating that year and sporting an iron roof are not authentic. Prior to the 1880s Australian hardwood shingles were the most common form of roof cladding, with Slate tiles as a more expensive option.

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