Aug 2, 2009

Christchurch Heritage Tragedy

It was announced on the 31st of July, 2009 that a two storey Sydenham warehouse dating from the late 1860s is to be demolished to make way for a new terminus for Leopard Coachlines.

Situated on the eastern side of Montreal Street, between the railway line and Disraeli Street, and forming part of the complex of buildings that has been the premises of CRC Salvage and Demolition since 1984, it is Christchurch's oldest surviving industrial building.

Canterbury Heritage calls upon the Christchurch City Council and the Historic Places Trust to save this historically significant part of our cultural heritage from destruction.


Above: details from street and rear views of the historic warehouse, from a set of seven photographs by Greg O'Beirne.

Aug 1, 2009

Now & Then: Christchurch Unchanged

There are few views of Christchurch that have not changed signficantly in the last century, but this south-westerly aspect of the Antigua Boatsheds and the Hospital footbridge from Cambridge Terrace can be counted among them. Glimpsed through the trees to the upper Left in the drawing is the spire of the hospital's original chapel and also the water tower, which was demolished in 1946.

The 1909 pen and ink drawing is by the English artist Sydney Robert Jones (1881-1966). A notable watercolourist, etcher and illustrator, Jones studied at the Birmingham School of Fine Arts and then worked for an architectural practice in that city. After the First World War Jones specialised in depicting rustic England. He toured the country with his wife, Frances, recording in pencil drawings and water colours, English villages, cottages, and manor houses. Jones also wrote several books on the English countryside, including Old English Country Cottages, The Charm of the English Village, The Manor Houses of England, London Triumphant, etc.

As yet we have been unable to locate an historical record that indicates that a 28 year-old Sydney R. Jones visited Christchurch.

Jul 30, 2009

Curator's Choice: 1930 School Certificate

From our archive comes a blank New Zealand School Certificate from the 1930s. Listed are all of the possible subjects then available to students. Nearly a quarter of them are technology based subjects suited to young males intending to sign articles for a five year industrial apprenticeship, with a further 20% tailored to the requirements of their eventual spouses to be.

Beyond compulsory English, a further six languages, including Mãori, offered graduation opportunities. Among them were Latin and Ancient Greek, and although the former might still be available in rare instances, by the later 1950s not even Christchurch's more exclusive groves of Academe offered Greek as part of their curriculum for a classical education.

Thus it was that a youthfull Mr CH would cycle down to Miller's Department Store in Tuam Street (currently the City Council offices) every Saturday morning, where Leslie Beaumont Miller (1890-1960) made his top floor staff cafeteria available as a classroom for serious lads hoping to learn sufficient Greek as to be able to enjoy Plato in the original.

Jul 29, 2009

Art Deco Christchurch: West Avon 1930


The West Avon apartments on the south-west corner of Hereford and Montreal Streets in what was then the inner city suburb of West End.

Built in 1930, but now sporting a 1980s penthouse, the Grade 3 protected building is currently painted in shades of blue and orange.

West Avon was designed by the Christchurch architect Wilford Melville Lawry (1894-1980). A long time resident of Mount Pleasant, Lawry subsequently designed the now demolished 1934 Methodist Orphanage and Children's Home in Harewood Road, Papanui (below). The site is now occupied by an old people’s home.

Among Lawry's other surviving designs are the 1935 Regent Theatre at Hokitika (below top) and the 1940 Century Theatre in Edgeware Road, St. Albans (below bottom), which was converted into a supermarket in 1969.

Jul 27, 2009

Canterbury's First Fire Station


Photographed in August, 1862, this is a view of the three buildings occupying Lyttelton Town Section 33 to the eastern side of the access to the Canterbury Association's 1850 jetty. In 2009 it is the south-eastern corner of Norwich Quay, where the over-pass to the wharves begins just below the intersection with Oxford Street.

A similar view 147 years later

To the Right in the top photograph, at the south-eastern corner of the intersection is the Lyttelton Fire Station. Built in 1858, it preceeded the formal establishment of the Lyttelton Fire Brigade by four years.

Above the engine shed's front doors is the sign of the Liverpool, London and Globe Fire Insurance Company. That company shipped the engine, and the bell in the belfry above, from England to their Lyttelton agents.

Under the supervision of Thomas James Curtis, the Fire Brigade's Superintendent from 1862, the engine's steam powered pump could lift water, via a hose from the beach, three blocks north to Exeter Street.

From the rear in 1865

Next door, to the centre of the top photograph, is the 1852 premises of Bowler and Company. William Bowler (1803-1863), who lived in Sumer Road (just visible at the top Left of the top photograph), was a General Merchant and Shipping Agent. Bowler sent the first direct shipment of wool from Canterbury to London in 1856 and was subsequently owner of the paddle tug Lyttelton, which began service in the port from January, 1861.

Sketch detail: 1869 Royal Visit

Although the company's sign continues to indicate Bowler and Co., Isaac Thomas Cookson (1817-1881), agent for the Liverpool and London Fire Insurance Company had already entered into partnershp with Bowler, with the company's name becoming known as Cookson, Bowler and Company

The Fire Station and adjacent premises of Bowler and Company were demolished by 1880 to make way for the Lyttelton Harbour Board's extant former offices, currently occupied by The Harbourmaster's Café.

To the Right in the top photograph is the store of James Drummond Macpherson (1829-1894), built in 1859 on piers above the original beach. A Customs Agent, Lloyd's Agent, Ship owner, General Merchant, Coalmonger and Farmer, Macpherson was the first representative of Mathieson's Agency, a London company which shipped merchandise to the colony on consignment.

circa 1863

From 1864, using spoil from the railway tunnel construction, reclamation of the foreshore began. Five years later, with nearby soil quarried by prison labour, the beach in front of Scotsman's store disappeared beneath the site of the Port's first Railway Station.

circa 1908

The 1859 store became the Railway's offices and parcel shed, a role that it would continue to fulfil until 1963.

Overpass construction 1962

Knowing the price of everything, but nothing of heritage value, between 1965 and 1970 the Lyttelton Harbour Board set about the needless destruction of most of the historic buildings along the town's waterfront. James Macpherson's 1859 store was among the first to go. Its site remained vacant for 40 years, eventually succumbing to a nondescript concrete box in the neo-brutalist tradition.

The only surviving relic of Macpherson's ownership is the 1855 steam tug Mullogh, whose rusting bones now rest on Lyttelton Harbour's Quail Island.

Jul 23, 2009

100 Years Ago Today 23 July 1909: Lyttelton Larrikins, Linwood Library & Colonist's Collections

Idlers at the Post Office corner in Norwich Quay, Lyttelton, have in many years polished an area on a big telegraph post, and a band along the post office wall, by the constant rubbing of tired shoulders, and countless men have spat upon the footpath thereabouts.

Yesterday several men who were causing an obstruction at the corner were "moved on" by a constable, but as soon as he had passed four of them resumed their posts on the path. Three of them found the consequences this morning in the Lyttelton Police Court.

Sergeant Ryan stated that many complaints were made of the way in which idlers blocked the footpath at that corner, and also at the one opposite, and that great annoyance was caused to people, especially ladies, using the path for its legitimate purpose. In this case he did not press for a penalty, being desirous only of impressing those in the habit of lounging in the vicinity with the fact that the by-law should be observed.

Mr George Christopher Smith, J.P., was on the Bench, and the three men, Carl Davidson, Peter Peterson and Otto Neilson, having pleaded guilty, he fined each of them five shillings and costs.

Linwood Library Opened by the Mayor

Opening Day

The Linwood Public Library, which. has been established through the efforts of the Linwood Citizens' Association, occupies the neat wooden building that was in former years the Linwood Borough Council Chambers, on the corner of Worcester Street and Stanmore Road. The building is vested in the City Council, which has granted its use to the Library Committee, and has also made a grant towards the purchase of books. The amount thus granted has been judiciously expended, and there was a very fair assortment of books upon the shelves of the institution when it was formally opened yesterday.

Mr William Wilcox Tanner, president of the Linwood Citizens' Association, welcomed the Mayor of Christchurch, Mr Charles Allison, and thanked the Council for its assistance in establishing the library. He assured the Mayor that the institution would, grow, and that it would prove in the future of very great value to the residents of the eastern portion of Christchurch. The Mayor said that he heartily sympathised with any movement for the foundation of a library, and he must congratulate the Linwood people upon having at last obtained one. The success of the library would, to a great extent, depend upon the wisdom exercised in the selection of the books placed upon the shelves. Care must be taken that none of that numerous class of modern novels which were pernicious in their tendency were allowed a place upon the shelves.

Linwood was not making the use of its recreation ground which it could and should do, and he hoped that in regard to the library, the residents would see that it was to their best interests to make use of the opportunities which were now placed in their way. He declared the library open, and wished it a successful and useful career. (Applause).

Mr George Watts Russell, M.P., congratulated the people of Linwood upon the progressive step they had taken, and said that though the library was at present but a small one, he believed it was based on good, solid, progressive lines. In two years, he believed, it would have greatly increased its size, and justified its existence.

The City Council had voluntarily handed over the building for the library, from which it had been receiving revenue, and it had given a subsidy. That subsidy, he believed, would be made an annual one, in the same way as the subsidy given by the Council to the Sydenham Library. In regard to the Christchurch Library he was sorry to say that they could get no subsidy from the Council. The Mayor was as hard as a rock on that subject. He desired to thank Councillors Thomas N. Horsley and Henry John Otley, representing the Linwood Ward on the City Council, for their services in advancing the cause of the library, and also Mr W. W. Tanner, who had devoted a great deal of time to preparing documents and doing other secretarial work which, required the experience of a man of public affairs. The district was under a debt of gratitude to Mr Tanner in this matter. In conclusion. Mr Russell said he would be pleased to give the newly-opened library any assistance, in his capacity as chairman of the Board of Governors of Canterbury College, or as a member of Parliament. (Applause).

There was a very large attendance of residents at the opening ceremony, at the conclusion of which afternoon tea was dispensed by the ladies of the district.

Early Canterbury: The Museum Collection

A joint meeting of the Board of Governors of Canterbury College and the committee recently set up by a meeting of old colonists was held at Canterbury College yesterday afternoon in connection with the decision of the Board of Governors to establish a section at the Canterbury Museum for the collection of mementoes (sic) and records of the colonisation of Canterbury. Mr William Guise Brittan was voted to the chair pending the arrival of Mr G. W. Russell. M.P., chairman of the Board.

Mr Robert Speight, assistant curator at the museum, who was requested to report on the space available, said that it was intended to reserve a part of the statuary room for the collection, which would include documents, maps, portraits and pictures of the early days. Mr Brittan said he understood that considerable space would be required. Mr John C. Andersen said that even the official records would require a larger room than the Board room, and there would also be files of newspapers, maps and so on.

Mr Henry George Ell, M.P., said that the first thing was to collect, and the question of space would be one for the Board. It was sufficient at present that there should be a safe resting-place for documents as they were collected. Mr John D. Hall said that it would be important to frame conditions, to be attached to all documents, books or pictures handed over, to ensure their safety and preservation.

A. sub-committee consisting of Messrs G. W. Russell, M.P., H. G. Ell, M.P., J. D. Hall, A. C. Rolleston, Rockwood Charles Bishop and W. G. Brittan was appointed to draft conditions and to prepare a general appeal to the public for records of the history of Canterbury, and particularly early Canterbury. Mr G. W. Russell suggested that Mr Speight should .be secretary to the joint committees, and should take charge of the work on behalf of the board of Governors. The suggestion was agreed to.

Mr G. W. Thomas (Akaroa) wrote expressing his willingness to collect records of Akaroa and Banks Peninsula. It was resolved to write to the following gentlemen asking them to form local branches affiliated to the Central Committee :- Akaroa, Mr G. W. Thomas ; Kaiapoi; Mr Joseph Lowthian Wilson ; Geraldine, Mr Thomas Buxton, M.P. ; Timaru, Mr James Craigie, M.P.

In reply to Mr Ell, Mr Russell said that the collection of Maori history should be a separate project. It was not so important as the European history.

Editor's note
Articles from The Star newspaper of the 23rd of July, 1909.

Where known, individual's initials have been expanded in the first instance to their full names to assist researchers, etc.

Jul 22, 2009

100 Years Ago Today 22 July 1909: Cathedral Square Gathering

Gathering in the Square

At 2.30 p.m. a meeting of the unemployed was held in Cathedral Square. There was a large gathering, and a resolution was carried to the effect that a committee should be set up to hold a monster demonstration, to bring the needs of the unemployed before the public.

Mr Kilgour spoke at some length regarding the problem of unemployment, and said that Mr T. E. Taylor, M.P. had practically insulted the deputation in the morning, by saying that there were men who did not want work. Mr A. D. Hart, of the Trades and Labour Council Committee, was asked to speak, and said that if demonstrations were to be held, he would urge on the men the necessity of doing nothing that would bring them into disfavour.

It had been argued that there were any amount of men who were looking for work and praying that they would not find it, but it was undoubted that the problem was more acute this year than it had ever been. That was a disgraceful state of affairs, and it had been brought about by the mismanagement of the present Governnent. Sir Joseph Ward was touring the Old Country while there were women and children crying out for bread. The Dominion was paying for that tour, and it was not right that such a state of things should exist.

The members of Parliament were merely puppets, and the City Council had failed in its whole duty to the unemployed, while the Government had ignored their claims altogether. The men should see to it that they sent to Parliament at the next general election men who would study their interests. The only solution of such problems was a true Labour Party in the councils of the country.
The Star, 22 July 1909

Jul 21, 2009

Mountfort's 1863 Sketches of the 1850 Land Office

These are details from circa 1863 unfinished sketches, showing two views of the Canterbury Association's 1850 Land Office on the north-west corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Street. Adjoining Oxford Terrace on an east-west axis is the 1858 wing added to house the Magistrate's Court.

In the upper southerly view can be seen Davis's Hotel on the diagonally opposite corner, which began life as the 1851 home of the first Commissioner of Crown Lands and went on to eventually become the Clarendon Hotel. The lower northerly view shows the Canterbury Provincial Council buildings prior to the construction of the 1865 stone debating chamber.

The progressively enlarged Land Office became the first premises of the Christchurch City Council in 1864. Constructed of imported Australian Hardwoods, the province's first municipal building was demolished before March 1886 to make way for the extant Municipal Chambers, which can be seen to the centre foreground in the upper, and to the Right in the lower, of the following photographs.

Attributed by us to Christchurch's pre-eminent Gothic revival architect Benjamin Mountfort (1825-1898), and probably intended as preparatory to watercolour paintings, the original pencil sketches can be dated as being after 1861, as in full they show Mountfort's belfy for the St. Michael and All Angels church on Oxford Terrace.

The incorrectly identified Alexander Turnbull Library references:
Artist unknown: Flax & Maori heads, toe toe, &c; flax, tutu, fern, &c [ca 1872-1874?]
Reference number: C-081-009
1 drawing(s). Pencil drawing, 265 x 657 mm.. Horizontal image.
Part of Artist unknown :[Eight pencil sketches of Christchurch buildings and the Avon River. 1870-1875?] (C-081-003/009)
Drawings and Prints Collection, :
Scope and contents: Shows a section of the Avon River with several flax bushes in the foreground, and a flat bridge at the right. There are several house at the centre and left, and St Michael and All Angels Church (built 1872) is in the centre background, with the Port Hills of Christchurch in the distance.

Artist unknown :[Provincial Council Chambers, Christchurch. 1870-1875?]
Reference number: C-081-003
1 drawing(s). Pencil drawing, 240 x 410 mm.. Horizontal image.
Part of Artist unknown :[Eight pencil sketches of Christchurch buildings and the Avon River. 1870-1875?] (C-081-003/009)
Drawings and Prints Collection, :
Scope and contents: Shows the Provincial Council Chambers in the distance, seen past a house with a verandah at the left, and a fenced area of trees at the right.

Jul 19, 2009

Spirit of Place: Christchurch 1862


It is probable that this simple pencil sketch, the significance of which has long been forgotten, would have struck a deeply meaningful chord amongst our earliest pioneers. Indicating the extant of development a decade after those first settlers landed at this very place, it had been their first view of the swampy plain on which they would build a city.

This a restoration of a panoramic westerly view of the northern half of the city of Christchurch, in late 1861 or early 1862. The artist's vantage point is at the junction of Oxford Terrace and Kilmore Street, to the immediate west of the 1850 Bricks Wharf, which is just out of view to the Right. Here those pioneers arrived from Lyttelton, with their tents, heavy luggage and kitset houses and when the first land sales began on the 16th of April, 1851, this immediate vicinity was the most sought after.

Below top: The artist's position was near to the 1926 Bricks Wharf monument, seen in this 1935 photograph, with the Manchester Street Bridge in the distance. Below bottom: the site is approximately opposite where the Central Fire Station is now situated.

Attributed by us to the renowned architect Benjamin Mountfort (1825-1898), and probably intended as preparatory to a watercolur painting, the pencil sketch can be dated by, among other considerations, the absence of the first Oxford Hotel on the north-east corner of Chester Street East (now part of Oxford Terrace) and Colombo Street. Mountfort lived not far from this vantage point in Gloucester Street from 1860.

Above: to the near Left of the drawing, at what is now the south-west corner of Madras Street and Oxford Terrace is The Hollies, built in 1861 to Mountfort's Gothic design for the eccentric Christ's College Maths Master Christopher Calvert, it was the city's first stone house.

The central part of the panorama includes all of the buildings surrounding Market Place (now Victoria Square).

They are situated along Armagh, Colombo and Durham Streets (above), Chester Street, lower Whatley Road (now Victoria Street) and Cambridge Terrace, where the Town Hall is now sited (below). All of the accurately depicted buildings are identifiable from early photographs.

Below: to the far Right can be seen the 1860 Anglican Chapel of Ease of St Luke the Evangelist at the north-east corner of Kilmore and Manchester Streets. Another aisle was added in 1864, with a tower and spire built a decade later. Now known as St Luke's in the City, the slate roofed wooden church was rebuilt in stone in 1908.
By the time that this view was drawn the Utopian dream had succumbed to utilitarian pragmatism, the population was approaching 2,000, a telegraph line connected the city with its port, Kerosene lamps had been installed as street lighting and the old wharf was still in regular use by small steamers.

But six years later the Waimakariri River would reclaim its flood plain and the Avon rose to the limits of its upper banks as seen in the foregound of the drawing (below). Major civil engineering work ensued and in 1871 the original land contours in this vicinity disappeared beneath a gravelled Oxford Terrace.

The Alexander Turnbull Library reference:
Artist unknown :[Avon River, Provincial Court buildings and houses, Christchurch. 1870-1875?]
Reference number: C-081-006
1 drawing(s). Pencil drawing, 249 x 535 mm.. Horizontal image.
Part of Artist unknown :[Eight pencil sketches of Christchurch buildings and the Avon River. 1870-1875?] (C-081-003/009)
Drawings and Prints Collection.

Jul 18, 2009

Now & Then: Samuel Farr's 1876 Montgomery Building


Incorrectly annotated as being Addington's Southern Cross Hotel, we published an illustrated article about that building last month. However, further to an uneasy feeling about a vaguely familiar structure, we can now positively identify the extant 1876 Montgomery building.

Arriving in Christchurch in 1860 William Montgomery (1821-1914) established himself as W. Montgomery & Company Ltd., Timber, Coal and Hardware Merchants. His commercial enterprise prospered to the extent that he was able to open branches throughout the province. In 1874 Montgomery commenced the construction of new premises at the south-east corner of Colombo and Tuam Streets, these included a 130 by 30 feet timber storage shed and a two storey 95 by 50 feet workshop.

In 1876 Montgomery commissioned Samuel Charles Farr (1827-1918) to design a three storey head office and showrooms for the corner of the site. Farr had been Canterbury's first architect, arriving at Lyttelton in 1849. Among his extant buildings are the former Normal School in Cranmer Square and St Paul's Presbyterian church at the corner of Cashel and Madras Streets.

Built of stuccoed brick to a height of 45 feet above extensive cellars, Montgomery's building was originally 50 feet along the Colombo Street front and 48 feet along the Tuam Street side. By 1885 the size had been doubled with an extension along Tuam Street. Subsequently sold at auction to Fortunatus Evelyn Wright (1829-1912), the former Christchurch Postmaster, for £8,000, the old building has undergone many changes of ownership in its 133 years. In 2009 it is principally occupied by an "adult superstore."

As the Honourable William John Alexander Montgomery of Opawa, the first owner was at various times also a Little River farmer, member of the Canterbury Provincial Council for Heathcote, MP for Akaroa, member of the Legislative Council, etc. As a member of the board of governors of Canterbury College (now the University of Canterbury) from 1873 to 1903 and chairman from 1875 to 1885 he was primarily responsible for the completion of college buildings, the Christchurch Boys' High School, the School of Art, and the Canterbury Museum (all of which now comprise the principal buildings in our cultural precinct). One might speculate that W. Montgomery & Co. may have benefited significantly from the foregoing construction projects.

Jul 16, 2009

Photographic Excellence: Lichfield Lanes


Taken on the 12th of June, 2009 is Alley Retreat, a sepia photograph of Christchurch's Lichfield Lanes precinct by Carolyn Chan from Kuala Lumpur.

Jul 15, 2009

The Oldest Building in Canterbury

Richard Pollard's 1840 cottage photographed on its Cathedral Square site in 1862

Built in 1840 of Black Pine and Totara in Hagley Park (the site is indicated below by a yellow square), the Surveyor's cottage was relocated to the vicinity of Press Lane at Cathedral Square in 1852. By 1900 it had been moved again to the southern side of Moorhouse Avenue, near to the eastern corner of Grove Road. The cottage's subsequent fate is yet to be ascertained.

Here follows three articles from The Star newspaper relating to the early history of the cottage.

The Oldest Building in Canterbury - The Star, 12 September 1900

To settle what seems to be a somewhat vexed question, a representative of the Lyttelton Times yesterday made inquiries among a number of the Pilgrims with regard to the authenticity, or otherwise, of the statement that the building now being used as a residence on the South Belt, near the Southern Cross Hotel, was the earliest of the dwellings occupied by the dwellers on the plains.

The representative interviewed many persons, and, towards evening, met Mr Edmund Smart, who resides at 55 Cashel Street, Linwood, and who kindly gave him the particulars he was seeking. Mr Smart is the eldest son of a family of ten, who arrived with their parents (long since dead) in the ship Randolph, on December the 16th, 1850. Their father had been engaged in England as a farm servamt, but on arrival here found that no such employment was available. He and his family therefore entered into what occupations they could find. Edmund became an employee of Mr William Todd, a carrier and contractor, and carted the first half-ton of coal used by the late Mr John Anderson in his smithy in Cashel Street (now well known as the Canterbury Foundry), from the Christchurch Wharf at Woolston, to its destination. It may be mentioned that the half-ton cost Mr Anderson £4 10 shillings, and the carriage 12 shillings.

While engaged by Mr Todd, Mr Smart assisted in the removal of a building from Hagley Park into Christchuroh, and that building, it is claimed, has the honour of being the oldest of the buildings still standing, in the province of Canterbury.

It was a two-roomed dwelling-place, and was built in 1840 for Mr Pollard, who was engaged in surveying under the New Zealand Government, and who had taken up his quarters in Hagley Park on account of its proximity to what everyone then thought must in time become a centre of population.

From this hut, or shanty, all exploring parties started, and to it all returned. The timbers of which it was constructed had been cut from the Riccarton bush, now known as Deans', and consisted of black pine and totara. There was plenty of it available as Bob Kerr and Harry Royal, two runaway sailors, had occupied their spare time in cutting out the best timber they could lay their hands on without much trouble, till it became a drug on the market.

Mr Smart, when he arrived in 1850, and became attached to the contracting staff of Mr Todd, had, in the course of a year or so, to remove this building from its site in Hagley Park, just above the Townsend Falls, to a place where it was of more use.

Dr Chapman had by that time installed himself in practice in Christchurch, and, having purchased this two-roomed building, agreed with Mr Todd to remove it into a central position. This was done, E. Smart, J. Sales and W. Prebble assisting, and for some years it stood at the back of the old Gaiety Theatre, where it was used as a laundry for Warner's Hotel, and it is stated that the timbers in it were in as good, if not a better, condition than that of many buildings of a much more recent date.

It is known that Mr. Pollard was here in 1840, and that, before making a start on his survey, he fixed his headquarters in Hagley Park, and it was in 1852 that Mr Smart, in the employ of Mr Todd, assisted in the removal of the building and saw it re-erected for Dr Chapman, so that fully, ten years must have elapsed between the erection of this building and of the one imported and erected by the late Mr George Gould in Armagh Street.


Mr Edmund Smart, whose remarks have given rise to the discussion, on the question, of which is the oldest building in Canterbury, has been for several days invalided through an attack of blood poisoning. He has read with a good deal of interest the remarks of Mrs Deans and those appearing above the initials of "G. J. B." Neither of these, however, shake his opinion that Mr Pollard's two-roomed shanty, which he and others removad from Hagley Park in 1852, to the order of Dr Chapman, is the very first of all buildings erected in Canterbury now in existence.

It is urged that Mrs Deans herself admits that the first building erected on the Riccarton property was recently demolished, and that she will most be surprised to hear that a Mr Pollard, surveyor, worked on the Canterbury Plains as a surveyor in 1842.

It is further stated that when the Dean Brothers arrived, and made, their home at Riccarton, they saw little or nothing of him, as he was more frequently engaged in his professional work on the Peninsula, but that, all the same, he made his headquarters in Hagley Park, and, having done so, engaged Robert Kerr and Harry Royal to make his home there.

Mr C. Hood-Williams distinctly recollects the building occupied by Mr Pollard, but being then only a lad of seven years of age, he cannot, of course, say what the age of the building might be. He was in the habit of passing backwards am forwards on his way to Christ's College, where Mr. Williams was one of the first four pupils.

Mr Smart, however, contends that from the evidences of the state of the building when he, James Sales and William Prebble removed it to its central position near Cathedral Square, it must have been erected some ten or twelve years previously. It was during the month, of September, 1852, that the building was removed...


Two old pioneers, who have grown grey-haired in the work of colonisation in Canterbury, accompanied Mr H. G. Ell and two reporters through Hagley Park this morning, and located interesting historical sites, and Mr Ell drove pegs into the ground so that the spots might be identified.

The pegs are marked with numbers, which will correspond with records, describing the incidents associated with them. The Hon C. C. Bowen, Speaker of the Legislative Council, and Mr C. Hood Williams, secretary to the Lyttelton Harbour Board, are the gentlemen who accompanied Mr Ell, and as the party strolled over the Park, which was an utter wilderness when they saw it first, over fifty years ago, they talked of times which have gone by.

The first peg was driven in on the site of the first bakery established in Christchurch. It was conducted by Mr Inwood, and the building was erected in January, 1851. The spot is on the bank of the Avon, as it sweeps round and runs close up to the Riccarton Road, which divides the North Park from the South Park, and the second site pegged off is where Mr Pollard's Raupo whare stood, about a hundred and fifty yards northward of the first peg...

Jul 13, 2009

The University of Canterbury's New School of Music

Designed by the beknighted Miles Warren, in what might appear to be a ponderous derivative of 1970s architectural style, is the proposed University of Canterbury's National Conservatorium of Music building.

The intended site is part of the renaissance medieval Gothic Arts Centre complex bounded by Worcester, Hereford, Montreal Streets and Rolleston Avenue.

Not previously built upon, it was originally the recreational ground of the 1881 Christchurch Boys' High School and a part of the rear garden of the 1883 Llanmaes House (much enlarged, the house became the University's Student Union building in 1929 and is now the Dux de Lux Restaurant & Bar).

The proposed site is to be seen below near the centre of this 1940 aerial photograph.

Below: in 1941 the Army erected a large radio aerial on the site, but other than that it's always been a recreational reserve, that is until the good burghers of Christchurch managed to turn it into yet another car park.

The predictable pre-construction media release advises us that the new building will be "in a style that complements existing buildings, none of which would be impacted by the new structure."

We beg to disagree; it could seem that the 80 year-old architect may be a little out of touch with more recent advances in architectural engineering. If the site must be built upon, and that's debatable, then perhaps something along the lines of this new building for the medieval centre of the Estonian city of Tallinn, might be more cost effective and inspiring.

In what might seem to be a conflict of interest, the venerable architect had more than a finger in the pie of his bronze likeness being erected in the grounds of the Arts Centre complex. Might we respectfully suggest that it could be time for him to consider bowing out gracefully in favour of a more imaginative architect among whose principal qualifications is not membership of our old-boy network.

Further reading:
Richard Sinke's extensively illustrated Save Our Arts Centre web site.

Arts Centre site 'only city option' The Press newspaper, 10 July, 2009.

The University of Canterbury's self-congratulatory new School of Music web site.
Photo credit: top image; detail from Wellington artist Ian Stantiall's perspective of the new School of Music building.

Chancery Lane 1862


This is an extensive reconstruction of a circa 1862 pencil sketch of three buildings on the southern side of Gloucester Street West at the location where Chancery Lane has been situated since 1882. The depiction of the side wall of the building to the Left remains in its original state to indicate the condition of the poorly conserved original. Below is the same location, opposite the Christchurch Central Library, as it appears in 2009.

Situated on Town Sections leased from the Revered James Wilson (1831-1886), Archdeacon of Akaroa, are the homes and business premises of three families, whose fathers would rise to prominence in the city and sire 25 children between them. Statistical extrapolation would suggest that by 2009 they would have about 18,000 living descendants.

It's possible to date the drawing to between 1861 and 1863 consequential to the two photographs above. The earlier image indicates that the buildings at each side of the drawing were still single-storey structures and that the central building was yet to be fitted with its glazed veranda.

At the Left of the partially completed drawing, which is annotated with "extend on both sides," is the two-storey premises of the painter, paperhanger and glazier William Epthorp Samuels (1833-1917). His wife Eliza would bear a son and ten daughters.

Arriving from Sydney in 1859, Bill Samuels would be one of the founders of the Christchurch Fire Brigade in the following year. By 1864 he is recorded as the Publican of the White Swan Hotel on the southwest corner of Tuam and Montreal Streets. By the late 1860s the Samuels had moved to Thames, where Bill is recorded as a bankrupt hotel keeper in 1870.

The family returned to Christchurch after six years in the Goldfields district and by the 1880s Samuels is recorded as having achieved some prominence in the United Ancient Order of Druids. In 1891 his occupation was stated as Artist. A Justice of the Peace and Christchurch City Councillor from 1894 to 1905, Samuels lived to the age of 84 and is buried in the Barbadoes Street Cemetery

Elizabeth and John Coe (1832-1893) had established themselves at Lyttelton by 1855. John operated a liverly stables next door to the Mitre Hotel in Canterbury Street and, adjacent to the stables, Elizabeth opened a Millinery shop, with their accommodation above. Also a provincial government contractor, John established the first coach service from Christchurch to Lyttelton. By 1857 Christchurch had begun to rival its Port in size, the writing was on the wall as far as commercial development was concerned, and in 1859 the Coes moved to the new city.

With the architect Isaac Luck (1817-1881) favouring the the Tudoresque style of architecture and his partner Benjamin Mountfort (1825-1898) tending to the Gothic alternative, Elizabeth Coe's 1859 Millinery Establishment (above) at the centre of the drawing is probably to the design of the latter. The subject matter, artistic style, architectural accuracy of the buildings and the hand written annotations on the drawing would tend to support an hypothesis that it could be an unattributed sketch by Mountfort.

The Coes prospered to the extent that in 1866 John was able to purchase 1,640 acres at Irwell in the Ellesmere district to the near south of Christchurch. Here they built Bruscoe Lodge, a two-storey home with sixteen rooms. One of their many grandaughters married the renowned artist Sydney Lough Thompson (1877-1973), and a direct descendant is Mayor of the Selwyn district in 2009. Probably familiar to most Canterbrians is Coes Ford, a popular recreational reserve near Irwell that takes its name from these early settlers in the district.

To the Right of the drawing is the 1858 home of Sarah Elizabeth and Joseph William Papprill (1801-1880), who had come to Christchurch in 1856. By 1864 the building had acquired a second storey to accomodate the first seven of their eventual nine children. A Tailor and Habit maker by trade, Papprill sold the Gloucester Street business in 1873 to an employee and was describing himself as a Gentleman by the following year.

Joseph lived to the age of 79 and is buried in the Barbadoes Street Cemetery. His eldest son entered the legal profession and a grandson succeeded to the Practice, which continues to prosper in 2009 as Papprill Hadfield & Aldous.

The renowned doctor and pioneer photographer Alfred Charles Barker (1819-1873) reminisced that the alley way between Elizabeth Coe's Millinery and Joseph Papprill's Tailor's shop had been a popular short cut for revellers in the 1860s, who disturbed his evening tranquility.

By 1881 the last of the Venerable Archdeacon's 21 year leases expired and the structures depicted in the drawing were demolished to make way for a matching pair of buildings on either side of the Alley (above). which became officially known as Chancery Lane. The last surving remnant of these is the eastern third of the building to the Right of the Lane (below).


Chancery Lane 1960

The Alexander Turnbull Library reference:
Artist unknown :[Three shops in Gloucester Street, Christchurch. 1870s]
Reference number: C-081-004-2
1 drawing(s). Pencil drawing on sheet, 240 x 535 mm.. Horizontal image.
Part of Artist unknown :[Eight pencil sketches of Christchurch buildings and the Avon River. 1870-1875?] (C-081-003/009)
Part of Artist unknown :[Two Christchurch sketches; Slate roofed stone house; and, Three shops in Gloucester Street. 1860-1870s] (C-081-004)
Drawings and Prints Collection, :
Scope and contents


Shows three businesses, probably in Gloucester Street, Christchurch: a painter's and glazier's business; Albion House Millinery; and [T] Papp[rill tailors].

Location Gloucester Street assumed from the fact that T Papprill, tailor is listed as being in Gloucester Street in Wises Directory for 1872.