Jun 30, 2008

1860 Christchurch 360° Panorama

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A previously unassembled panorama compiled from nineteen restored photographs taken between late 1859 and early 1861.

Taken from the tower of the Canterbury Provincial Council buildings in Armagh Street, near the Avon River, most are attributed to Alfred Barker (1819-1873), the balance probably being the work of Benjamin Mountfort (1825-1898), Barker's photographic tutor.

The Avon River winds through the panorama. In front of where the Town Hall is now situated can be seen the original lagoon where small steamers turned before mooring at a wharf behind where the Oxford Hotel now stands (the hotel site is still occupied by the original Māori hostel in this photograph). Occupying a wind swept, swampy floodplain, the city would be inundated eight years later, when the Avon rose to metre above Victoria Square and destroyed the Worcester Street bridge.

To the right can be seen the 1857 windmill of William Wood (1824-1904) at the corner of Antigua and St Asaph Streets. A distinctive landmark for distant travelers slogging their way through the swamp and tussock that surrounded the town, it was visible as far as 80 Km away.

Other than the Canterbury Provincial Council building only two other visible structures have survived. They are the circa 1859 John Shand (1805-1874) house in Hereford Street (now known as Shand's Emporium) and the 1857 Cookham House in Colombo Street. Now known as Sergeant Pepper's Steak House, it was originally the premises of the merchant George Gould (1823-1889), who lived upstairs, with his family.

See from where this panorama was taken.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic pic! Thanks for putting it up. Four years later my great grandfather walked those muddy streets!

Canterbury Heritage said...

It wasn't for another forty years until the first of those muddy streets was tar sealed; Cashel Street between Oxford Terrace and High Street. Now part of the City Mall, it was the first shopping precinct.