Sep 30, 2008

A Century Apart

Familiarly known as "The Bottleneck" in earlier times, these are north-westerly aspects of the junction of High, Hereford and Colombo Streets.

A September, 2008 addition to the Christwegian aesthetic is a galvanised representation of a Corn sheaf at the beginning of the City Mall, which is currently undergoing refurbishment.

Provision is being made for extending the vintage tram tracks through the mall, along part of the original route, which closed in 1954.

Christchurch City Redevelopment


The design by architects Warren and Mahoney includes a number of new retail outlets, a childcare centre, a café and a seven storey hotel containing 48 rooms on the former Robbie Burns Liquor Site at the corner of Tuam, St Asaph and Barbadoes Streets.

Only politeness forbids us from commenting upon the alleged architectural merit of this redevelopment...

Sep 29, 2008

Harewood 1966


An aerial view of Christchurch Airport in the year that the overseas terminal was completed to the Left of the adjoining 1960 control tower and terminal.

From a recent series of nostalgic postcards by Terry Moyle and Rosie Louise of Contour Creative Studio at Kaiwaka.

Christchurch Airport Timeline

1935 Christchurch City Council selected the present site at Harewood.
1936 227 hectares of land purchased.
1937 A 915 metre runway and 60 square metre terminal constructed.
1940 Harewood Airport opened for commercial flying.
1940 Airport used by RNZAF as a Training Base until 1945.
1946 Passenger terminal opened in former RNZAF hangar.
1948 An additional 260 hectares of land purchased.
1950 December 16, Harewood Airport becomes New Zealand’s first International Airport - 100 years to the day from the arrival of the first Canterbury Association settlers.
1951 First regular South Island trans-Tasman flights begin from Melbourne to Christchurch.
1953 Christchurch hosted the "Great London to Christchurch Air Race" the first time the route had been traversed in less than 24 hours. The "last great air race" was won by an RAF Canberra bomber.
1955 United States Antarctic Operations begin in Christchurch. December 20 first Antarctic flight by US Navy Operation Deep Freeze.
1957 November 21, four killed in a SAFE Air Bristol freighter crash at Russley golf course.
1959 Burnside Road renamed Memorial Avenue as a memorial to the airmen killed in World War 2.
1960 New 6,000 square metre terminal opened.
1962 The main runway was extended to 2,442 metres providing for commercial jet operations.
1966 An International wing was added to the Domestic Terminal.
1975 Extensions to the Domestic Terminal were completed, extending the total floor space to 16,000 square metres.
1980 New International Arrival Hall completed providing an additional 2,800 square metres of floor space.
1984 Main runway extended by 845 metres to 3,287 metres.
1987 Terminal extended to accommodate Ansett New Zealand and Air New Zealand lounges and domestic air bridges.
1988 Christchurch International Airport Limited was established, as a company owned 75% by the Christchurch City Council and 25% by the New Zealand Government.
1988 International check-in and departure area extended by 2,320 square metres.
1989 International arrival area extended by 1,100 square metres and air bridges and associated facilities of 1,000 square metres added.
1990 International Antarctic Centre opened.
1997 Redevelopment of airport public carpark completed with an additional 340 parking spaces.
1998 New International Terminal Building completed creating an additional 28,000 square metres of new floor space.
2007 5.4 million passengers.
2008 Plans announced for the replacement of the 1960 terminal. With a 45 metre high control tower and a cost of NZ$195 million, the development will be completed in late 2010.

Sep 28, 2008

Lyttelton Tall Ships Race

The topsail schooner Tradewind leading the brigantine Søren Larsen up Lyttelton Harbour on the 23rd of December, 1990. Also taking part in the race was the barquentine Spirit of New Zealand.

The race was one by the 37 metre (121 ft) steel hulled Tradewind (below). She was built in the Netherlands in 1911 as the herring lugger Sophie Theresia.

m.v. Holmdale

The ill-fated Chatham Islands trader Holmdale (1961-1991) departing Lyttelton in February, 1990 (above) and at the No. 7 Wharf in January, 1980 (below).

Sumner circa 1950


An elevated westerly view across Sumner and the Avon-Heathcote estuary to the Southern Alps from Scarborough Head.

Considered one of New Zealand's most important portrait painters, Frank Nicoll was a man of strong personality and decided opinions. A physical handicap acquired during the First World War prevented him from painting the more rugged and inaccessible parts of New Zealand, but his seascape and pastoral landscapes around Christchurch, though strongly influenced at first by the academic discipline of his Edinburgh College of Art training, became sunlit scenes marked by a sureness of touch and a warmth and freshness of colour.

Archibald Francis Nicoll, O.B.E. (1886-1953) attended Springston school and then Christchurch Boys' High School. Working as a shipping clerk in the Cashel Street, Christchurch offices of the Union Steam Ship Company, he attended evening classes at Canterbury College School of Fine Arts under Sydney Thompson. He subsequently studied art in Britain for three years from 1911. Nicoll was a member of the council of the Canterbury Art Society, of which he was president for two years, and was on the advisory committee of the McDougall Art Gallery and the committee of management of the National Art Gallery and the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts.

Although unrecorded in any known catalogue the above painting is believed to be currently in the archive of the Auckland Public Art Gallery.

Above: also painted by Frank Nicoll in 1950 is this easterly view of Christchurch's Hereford Street from the corner of Montreal Street (current location unknown).

Sep 27, 2008

Captain Upham's Home

Enjoying a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean, this is the Landowne homestead of Charles Hazlitt Upham, V.C. and Bar at Conway Flat, Hundalee, an isolated area of North Canterbury, where he died at the age of 86 in November 1994.

Charles and Molly Upham's grave in St. Paul’s Anglican Church Cemetery at Papanui, Christchurch.

Photograph by Gabriel Pollard

Lyttelton 1954

The Cunard Line's Caronia at Gladstone Pier on the 27th of February, 1954. Carrying 450 wealthy American passengers on a 99-day cruise of the South Pacific, the famous "Green Godess" had arrived early that morning from Wellington and left in the evening for Melbourne via the Marlborough Sounds.

Launched by the Queen (as Princess Elizabeth) in 1947, the 34,000 luxury cruise ship sank at the harbour entrance on Guam in August, 1974.

Sep 26, 2008

Podcast: Introduction To Family History

Need advice on how to begin tracing your family’s past?

Presented by Audrey Collins of the National Archives UK, this 58 minute talk is for anyone new to family history.

As well as advising on good research habits, the speaker provides an overview of the main resources available to family historians, such as birth and marriage certificates, online and offline resources, parish records, military records and newspapers.

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Cashmere 1957

An elevated southerly view of Dyer's Pass and the mock Gothic Sign of the Takahe tea rooms before the intensive residential development of the environs.

Sep 25, 2008

Lyttelton 1952

In a northerly view from Gladstone Pier Vic Browne of Cashmere photographed this unusual visitor to Lyttelton in 1952.

Able to stay airborne for 16 hours at a speed of 240 kilometres an hour, the 57 tonne Sunderland flying boat had been built in July, 1943 (to a 1937 design) by the Short brothers at Rochester, Kent. Powered by four 1,200 horsepower engines on her 34 metre wing span, she had originally been equipped with a dozen machine guns and carried nearly 5 tonnes of bombs or depth charges.

In April 1947 the aircraft was converted to a 30 passenger Tasman Class Mk IV Sandringham and leased to Tasman Empire Airways Ltd (TEAL) for service on the Sydney-Auckland route. Sold to Australia three years later for $10,000, she was converted to carry 41 passengers on her two decks in the Barrier Reef service.

In 1952 she was sold to Ansett Airways and operated out of Brisbane, mainly on the Lord Howe Island run until 1974. After a somewhat varied later career in the Americas the flying boat was sold to Britain's Science Museum in 1982 for $250,000. Since 1983 she has been on display in that museum's Hall of Aviation at Southampton.

Sep 24, 2008

Christchurch Next?

Acropolis, Athens
Chris Alden spends a weekend in Athens, taking in the Acropolis, some late-night bouzouki music and a Sunday morning at the markets.
Listen to the guide now (24min 34s)

Jim Whyte gives you a taste of a visit to Rome, taking in some must-see sights and some essential lifestyle tips.
Listen to the guide now (26min 1s)

Anna Pickard basks as she guides you around a weekend in Nice - 'it's like Brighton in a microwave'.
Listen to the guide now (24min 34s)

Sally Bolton thinks she has found Spain's most beautiful view in the ancient and awe-inspiring city of Granada.
Listen to the guide now (22min 28s)

Jim Whyte takes you on a cracking tour of Valencia, during the Las Fallas festival.
Listen to the guide now (26min 2s)

Anna Pickard gathers tips from locals and learns to love France's second city on a weekend break by the sea.
Listen to the guide now (25min 38s)

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Black Friday 1953

Friday the 13th hasn't been particularly inauspicious in the history of Christchurch, but Friday the 13th of February, 1953 was the day that the University burnt.

At 3.43 a.m. on that morning a street alarm at the corner of Hereford and Montreal Streets summoned seven units from the Lichfield Street, Sydenham and St Albans Fire Stations to what is now the Worcester Boulevard frontage of the Arts Centre. The fire began in the south-east corner of 1879 extension, which had been occupied by the Christchurch Boys High School from 1881 to 1926. The Shelley Theatre of the Canterbury University College Drama Society and part of the Department of Geology were completely gutted. There was also considerable water damage to the departments of Civil Engineering, Economics and Psychology.

Above: wooden scaffolding being erected prior to rebuilding. A total insurance loss, restoration took six months.

Above: the fire damaged area is to the Left in this contemporary photograph.

To promote the Christchurch City Libraries Retrospective: Christchurch life, architecture and design 1940s - 1970s photo competition, we're featuring a series of images from each decade. This week is the 1950s and next week we'll take a look at the 1960s.

Sep 23, 2008

Christchurch Airport 1950s

Christchurch Airport at Harewood opened for commercial service in 1940, with passengers flying aboard a four engined de Havilland Dragon Express (above). However, the Second World War got in the way and it wasn't until the 16th of December, 1950 that the aerodrome officially became New Zealand’s first International Airport - a century to the day from the arrival of the first Canterbury Association settlers to arrive directly from London (a few had already arrived via Wellington, but our received history prefers to ignore that inconvenient fact).

From 1946 the passenger terminal (below) had been situated in a former RNZAF hanger about where the far end of the current overseas terminal now stands. It ceased to be used as such after the completion of a new terminal in 1960, but wasn't demolished until 1978.

Regular trans-Tasman flights began on the 29th of June 1951, when Tasman Empire Airways Ltd. chartered an aircraft from QANTAS (below). Under the command of Capt D. F. McMaster the Philippine Trader, a 42 passenger Douglas DC-4 aeroplane began a regular service between Melbourne and Christchurch (the 16 year old aircraft would eventually crash into the sea off Brindisi, Italy shortly after take-off in July 1962).

By 1953 TEAL (Air New Zealand since 1965) in conjunction with BOAC (now British Airways) was offering a three and half day service to London. Local Passengers connected with with a de Havilland Comet jet at Sydney and flew on via the Far East. It was an expensive alternative to a six week sea voyage and intending Christchurch passengers could expect a Travel Consultant from the airline to call upon them at home to discuss the various options.

A couple of distinguished thespians bringing Shakespeare to Christchurch's Theatre Royal; Dame Sybil Thorndike and Sir Lewis Casson in front of the original Control Tower in 1954.

To promote the Christchurch City Libraries Retrospective: Christchurch life, architecture and design 1940s - 1970s photo competition, we're featuring a series of images from each decade. This week is the 1950s and next week we'll take a look at the 1960s.

Podcast: The Suspect Society #2

From the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's The Best of Ideas series.

The Surveillance Society. The Age of Paranoid Politics. These terms, and many others, have been used to describe how the political ground has been shifting under us, particularly since 9/11. Terrorism and national security have become obsessive anxieties.

A world-wide initiative has developed that combines a growing machinery of surveillance, assaults on civil liberties and increasing censorship. We are living in what IDEAS producer Mary O’Connell calls “the suspect society.”

Please note: podcasts are archived for 4 weeks only.

Sep 22, 2008

Christchurch 1950

Subsequent to the shortage of photographic film in the 1940s, the representation of the following decade in the Canterbury Heritage archive is triple that of its predecessor.

Although colour photographs began to enter the records of the major cities of the northern hemisphere from the mid 1930s, it was not until 1950 that they begin to record Christchurch's development.

From 1955 there is a significant rise in the number of colour photos of the city. Mainly in the form of 35mm transparencies, they were taken by Americans involved with the Operation Deep Freeze Antarctic program at the Wigram and Harewood aerodromes.

Two events of historic significance marked the first year of the new decade. The first, in early January, has long been forgotten, but the second, in late December, is still remembered by an ever diminishing part of our community.

At the beginning of the new year the last cargo of Canterbury produce to be consigned by sailing ship was sent to Great Britain. With her 51.2 metre masts towering over the western side of Lytelton's No.6 Wharf (above), the 3,100 ton Barque Pamir loaded Barley in sacks for the Welsh port of Barry via Cape Horn. With Yards up to 28 metres wide, the four masted steel vessel carried 3,800 square metres of sail and could maintain a speed of up to 16 Knots.

During the voyage the rats, which had infested the ship, took full advantage of the vast quantity of food available to them and thereby increased their numbers. Upon reaching her destination in March an appeal went out for volunteers who owned terriers or any other dogs capable of killing rats to turn up on the dockside. 5,000 rats were estimated to have been killed whilst unloading the Pamir and a further 3,000 were gassed when the ship was being fumigated after discharging her cargo.

The other major event occurred in Cathedral Square on the 17th of December, 1950, where the Archbishop of Canterbury, from an outdoor pulpit built above the Cathedral's Porch, addressed a (mostly seated) congregation of more than 30,000 at the Canterbury Centennial open air church service of thanksgiving for one hundred years of progress.

A view of event, probably from the fifth floor fire escape of the United Service Hotel (an enlarged Christchurch City Libraries' image opens in a new window).

A rare 1950 colour photograph showing an elevated southerly view down Colombo Street from the Cathedral balcony. The United Service hotel is at the far Right.

Often mistakenly referred to as the United Services hotel on the assumption that the name implied military association, the actual origin of the name refers to the amalgamation of the licenses of the Golden Age and Hereford hotels, which had occupied parts of the site until 1883.

To promote the Christchurch City Libraries Retrospective: Christchurch life, architecture and design 1940s - 1970s photo competition, we're featuring a series of images from each decade. This week is the 1950s and next week we'll take a look at the 1960s.

Recent History


History, of course, is only as far away as yesterday. And bearing that in mind we monitor the 'nets photography and auction sites for images that we think should become part of our historic record. It usually means evaluating about 1,400 photographs each week, of which barely more than 1% make it to the archive.

Most of those images record changes in streetscapes, but occasionally we find subjects that either represent photographic excellence or reflect our cultural values. Such an example of the latter is the above photograph taken by John Morton at a Spring wedding in the Christchurch suburb of Cashmere.

Sep 21, 2008

Christchurch 1947


An easterly aerial view of the central city on a late afternoon in January or February 1947.

To promote the Christchurch City Libraries Retrospective: Christchurch life, architecture and design 1940s - 1970s photo competition, we're featuring a series of images from each decade. This week was the later 1940s and next week we'll take a look at the 1950s.

Sep 20, 2008

New Brighton 1945-1949

An easterly view of Seaview Road, with the intersection at Oram Avenue to the centre Right.

Two views of the building at the head of the first pier. The lower level was an amusement arcade, with tea rooms above. The 213 metre pier was opened on the 18th of January, 1894 by the Governor General.

The Tram shed at the corner of Marine Parade and Hawke Street. The site is now occupied by the New Brighton Working Men's Club. The Tramshed Bistro is a feature of what is now more commonly known as The New Brighton Club.

An electric Trolley Bus turning at the North New Brighton War Memorial and Community Centre on Marine Parade.

A recently completed house in Sinclair Street (which first appears in street directories in 1916).

To promote the Christchurch City Libraries Retrospective: Christchurch life, architecture and design 1940s - 1970s photo competition, we're featuring a series of images from each decade. This week it's the later 1940s.

Sep 19, 2008

Akaroa Visit for French Warship

The French patrol boat La Moqueuse will visit the Banks Peninsula township of Akaroa on October the 10th, 2008 to take part in the annual French festival.

The festival marks the July, 1840 arrival of 53 French and German settlers aboard the emigrant ship Compte de Paris.

The 450 ton La Moqueuse, which visited Lyttelton in June 2004, is based in Noumea with the French Pacific Fleet. With a length of 54 meters and a top speed of 23 knots she is well equipped for her patrol role. She carries a crew of 4 officers, 11 petty officers and 13 seamen. The vessel has a large aft deck and can land a helicopter if necessary.

Moqueuse = female Jester, one who mocks.