Linwood cemetery tour

pictureOur resident cemetery guru Richard Greenaway (a.k.a The Sexton) will be revealing the fascinating stories behind some of the people buried in Linwood Cemetery with a tour next weekend. Having already investigated the folks buried ‘up the hill’ he will look at some folks who shaped our community.

  • Saturday 5 November ‘Meet your neighbours’
    11am – An update on the Trust’s work.
    11.15am – A tour of interesting people which takes you all over Linwood Cemetery pointing out people who were good (or bad) neighbours and nevertheless shaped our community, Christchurch and New Zealand.
    12.30pm – Sausage sizzle and refreshments, or bring your own picnic.
    1pm – Get help finding the location of your ancestors and ask about the work of the Trust.
    Note: This tour covers a long walking distance.
    Meet at the Linwood Cemetery Car Park, Butterfield Ave
    Some chairs will be available to carry on the tour.
    Gold coin donation for the Trust’s operational funds appreciated.

Richard is running this tour on behalf of the Friends of Linwood Cemetery – a great bunch of volunteers who work and advocate on behalf of the Cemetery. They run working bees, identify work needed in the cemetery and plan awareness raising events. Find out more about what they do and how to join them on their informative website.

Over the years we have built up some great online resources about Christchurch and other cemeteries. Our collection of resources about Linwood will give you maps, cemetery tours and a brief history.

It might not be Pere Lachaise but Linwood is a fascinating and tranquil corner of old Christchurch just waiting to be explored.

Read all about it!: 17th and 18th Burney collection is now online

‘The society for the relief of the ruptured poor’ is a pamphlet to be published on the 16th of January 1803, according to the Sunday Monitor. Now I am used to being  ‘broke’  but I have yet to describe myself as ‘ruptured’! Where did I hear about this? I was simply browsing the 17th and 18th Burney collection.

I also found a possible relative called Peter Finnerty, a printer from Dublin who was pilloried and sent to prison for publishing pamphlets advocating Irish Home Rule in 1798. Rupturing and getting pilloried – talk about the bad old days.

The digitisation of  Reverend Charles Burney’s (1757-1817) collection of  newspapers and pamphlets means 200 years of news is now online. Read contemporary accounts on:

  •  Slavery and the abolition movement;
  •  Advice on medicines for women’s ‘distempers’;
  •  Accounts of the voyages to New Zealand and  the Boyd massacre;
  • What sermons King George II heard at church on December 30, 1798.

Many other interesting electronic resources can be found in the Source.  Access this from home with your library card number and PIN, or at our open community libraries.

The Swimming Pool Library*

book coverI aqua jog. Or at least I did, until the earthquake destroyed QE11. Imagine then, my joy at discovering that The Graham Condon Recreation and Sport Centre has opened right across the road from Papanui Library. (Graham Condon was a Christchurch City councillor and paralympian who was tragically killed in 2007)

Aqua jogging is alive and well at the Condon Centre and it is not only for the more mature. I have seen pregnant ladies subside into the water with little Mona Lisa smiles of relief on their faces and the scarily fit, with bodies beautiful, aqua jog with weights attached to wrists and ankles. But I prefer the dignified style of an elderly Japanese man who, head held high, did his laps with an i-pod strapped carefully to the top of his head.

Of course there is so much more than aqua exercise available at this marvellous new leisure centre: like lane swimming, a spa pool, kiddies paddling pools and gyms. Have a peek at some photos – it’s a gem of a facility and where else in Christchurch can you get a mall, a library and a recreation centre all in one block of land?

But the really big question is: will Papanui Library become known as The Swimming Pool Library? Or will the Condon Centre be The Library Swimming Pool? Give us a visit and you can decide.

*I’m never one to let a literary reference go by – The swimming pool library is the title  of a novel by well known British writer Alan Hollinghurst.

William Rhodes Moorhouse

photoWilliam Barnard Rhodes Moorhouse was a young man with a taste for speed which ultimately led to his own death in World War I, but also the deaths of two people, one on New Brighton Beach.

Although born in England in 1887, through his mother he was affiliated to Taranaki, Ngati Tama and Te Ati Awa and by marriage to the family of William Sefton Moorhouse of Canterbury.  He went to Harrow Public School and briefly, Trinity College, Cambridge.

In 1909 he obtained his pilot’s licence and when war broke out  he joined the Royal Flying Corps. He was the first aviator to be awarded the Victoria Cross.  In a tragic counterpoint, his son William was killed in World War II during the Battle of Britain, shortly after being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The Truth newspaper on the 8 February 1913 reported:

Grim memories … were aroused in Christchurch when the local dailies printed this cablegram: London 29 January, W. H. R. Moorhouse, the aviator, was fined 20 pounds for criminal negligence. While motoring, he killed a farm labourer.

Moorhouse… is … William Barnard Rhodes Moorhouse, who started his sanguinary career … on 22 March 1907 when, 19 years of age, accidentally it was held, he killed a boy of seven … Frederick … Gourlay, on … New Brighton beach. He was making a … trial of his motor cycle … when the child was … bumped into the next world. Moorhouse … charged with manslaughter and committed for trial … was the son of wealthy … parents and the Grand Jury, acting up to the disgraceful traditions of grand juries in Christchurch, protected one of their own … and insulted the lower court by bringing in ‘no bill’.  …. The police were prompt in laying a fresh information …. The magistrate [was] satisfied that there was a prima facie case …. At the August sittings of the Supreme Court, Mr. Justice Chapman devoted the greater part of his address to the Moorhouse manslaughter case ….

The Grand Jury brought in a true bill and the young man had to stand … trial like any common person although he had the best brains … that money could buy. Skerrett K. C. had with him barrister Wilding for the defence.

… The beach had been used, with the acquiescence of the New Brighton Borough Council,  for … motor bike races …. A young man named Ritchie shot past with the speed of as meteorite escaping from its creditors and Moorhouse followed …. Gourlay, apparently transfixed with terror, was biffed into Kingdom Come. Lawyer Skerrett … let … loose in a remarkable address to the jury who were asked if … Moorhouse were to start his manhood with the brand of Cain on his brow which … would give his enemies … an opportunity to point him out as a convicted felon. Moorhouse … would some day take the responsibilities of a rich man …. If he had been a poor man’s son, it wouldn’t have been thought necessary to have proceeded with the charge against him ….   The jury … returned a verdict of not guilty … “

Read more in Papers Past:

This post is by Richard Greenaway, local history expert at Christchurch City Libraries. He is always uncovering great stories from the early days of the city. This one is from early New Brighton.

Water: Making the Most of It

Waterwise gardeningWith water restrictions now in place in Christchurch, I figure it’s time think about how waterwise I’m being in my garden – and I’d love some tips. I’ll start the ball rolling with some of my water-saving tricks – what are yours?

I’m a big fan of mulch and use it wherever I can (which is just about everywhere except where I’m sowing seeds direct). Pea straw is great – it even breaks down for extra organic matter! The only drawbacks I’ve noticed are that it’s a bit of a slug habitat and (I guess because of that) the blackbirds love chucking it about.

Utilising rainwater is a great way to take the pressure off our mains supply and there are a few ways to do this, from store-bought tanks to cheap and cheerful DIY water-barrels. (Building a couple of these, based on the designs in DIY Projects for the Self-Sufficient Homeowner, is my Labour Weekend project.) If you’ve really caught the water saving bug you can also look at greywater systems.

My favourite waterwise idea, though, involves the ubiquitous plastic soft drink bottle. Poke some tiny holes in the base of a soft drink bottle so that it leaks very slowly. Bury it upright to the neck, next to your newly-planted tomato, courgette, pepper plant etc (one per plant) and then just fill the bottle every 2-4 days. We lose a lot of water to evaporation when we water the soil surface, so the idea with this is to get the water down to the roots of the plant where it does the most good and minimises soil evaporation.

I tried this last year and my plants thrived! Apparently it encourages your plants to put down deeper roots, making them better able to resist drought. I think I got less mildew problems too, as the leaves weren’t getting wet. The only modification I made to the original plan was to keep the lids loosely on the bottles between waterings – otherwise they (sadly) became bumble-bee traps!

So, what tips and tricks do you have to make your garden a more waterwise place? If you’re stuck for inspiration the library has a good range of waterwise garden books, and our huge range of garden magazines is also a treasure-trove of ideas. You can also drop in to the Waterwise Gardening Workshop at the Botanic Gardens on Sunday 30 October for some great advice – I know I’ll be checking it out.

Pick ‘n’ mix: Lies, it’s all lies

Cover of Born LiarsIs House right? Do we all lie? According to some recent books we not only do it, it is now the norm in our society. Personally I’m a bit sceptical that it’s a new thing, but here’s what they have to say.

The Post-truth Era argues that “Deception has become commonplace at all levels of contemporary life” and that in this world “borders blur between truth and lies, honesty and dishonesty, fiction and non-fiction.” Oprah might agree with the last bit after her stoush with the author of A Million Little Pieces, a memoir that turned out to be fictional and which the author defended as being “subjective truth”. He’s not the first one though, his is just one in long list of fictional memoirs, some of which made their authors a lot of money.

Born liars described by the BBC as being ‘erudite’ looks at lying as an evolutionary necessity, part of our need to deal with social interaction. I noted when watching Robert Winston’s series A Child of Our Time that he chose the ability to tell a white lie as a marker of pre-school child development. Therein perhaps lies the room for confusion, because a white lie both upholds the social system and apparently contravenes the same system’s rules regarding honesty. Where do white lies start and finish? Is lying on your CV now considered a white lie? Does that matter?

CoverWriting a review of the book for The New Republic Online, Gregg Easterbrook suggested that “whether something is believed has become more important than whether it’s true.” Possibly, but is that a new concept? – politicians has been at it for a long time.

In one of my favourite detective novels The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey uses her detective to expose the highly misleading bad name given to Richard the Third by the political lies of the Tudors. All history is lies, as they say.

In the end the point made by Dorothy Rowe in Why We Lie seems the most pertinent to me – that it is ourselves we hurt the most when we lie – a theme already endlessly explored through fiction over the ages.

The Boulevard?

MapMaybe we have a name for our new green space by the Avon.

According to the Christchurch City Libraries street name index

During the 1920s Richard Bedward Owen (1873-1948), a tailor, envisaged the establishment of a boulevard … on both sides of the Avon River from the Carlton Mill bridge to the Estuary … Owen wanted wide lawns between road and river with tall trees planted near the banks.

Clearly a man ahead of his time.

Still feeling shaky?

A year after the beginning of the big earthquakes in Canterbury, many of us are still suffering the effects on our well being. There have been positive outcomes such as a stronger community bond, but also adverse reactions.  Some of us still have housing, employment and family issues to contend with. All the while our media is showing us the ever-growing empty sections of our city’s heart.  Islay McLeod’s recent article in The Press describes her reaction of gut-wrenching sadness and despair.

There are many professional and community groups offering help. Search Community INformation CHristchurch (CINCH) website for counselling, stress, insomnia etc. Canterbury Health Info has a page dedicated to earthquake stress,  common responses and coping mechanisms.

We have resources in our libraries for post traumatic stress syndrome, anxiety, insomnia. Through the library’s website  (using your library card number and PIN) you also have access to Health and Wellness Resource Centre. Key features of this database are:

  • Quick links to hot topics and top searched conditions;
  • Over 3,000 top medical journals and general interest publications with the majority in full text;
  • Medical newspapers, newsletters and news feeds;

Sometimes involving ourselves in a sporting or relaxing activity can help with stress and enable a good nights sleep. Running, yoga, meditation and  short breaks away all help.  Don’t forget you can always chat to your doctor about any concerns.

Pick ‘n’ mix: Oh, the horror!

CoverI’m not a big fan of Halloween, to be honest – I don’t find the idea of sending your kids out to knock on strangers’ doors and demand things with the threat of violence in any way attractive.  I am also a wee bit of a wuss when it comes to horror at the movies – Hostel and Saw don’t really do it for me either; although I do have a great fondness for Asian horror movies, which have the ability to thoroughly unsettle me in a really enjoyable way, and without the so-called torture-porn approach of a lot of current Western-style films.

What I DO love is curling up with a book and a blankie and being scared silly by what I’m reading.  It’s hard to find good-quality horror writing (believe me, I know, I’ve looked; and I’m sure our library selectors would agree).  A lot of it is either silly, or rubbish, or really icky, and some is an unholy combination of all three …

So for those who want to get into the spirit of horror before Halloween, without having to resort to cutting holes in sheets and stocking up on pre-wrapped sweeties, here’s a pick ‘n’ mix selection of a few of my favourite horror writers.

FG Cottam is a recent find, and I particularly enjoyed The Waiting Room, which reminded me so much of one of my favourite episodes of Sapphire and Steel, it was like watching the series over again – a double bonus!  Beautifully written, with believable characters, Cottam’s books have the ability to unsettle and disturb while also being a great read, and I’m waving them at everyone I talk to at the moment.

Sarah Rayne’s Property of a Lady was another great read – I love horror books that feature houses as setting (and/or character), and I found this one really enjoyable too.  Clocks that wind themselves, mysterious rooms with heavy draperies, and unexplained footsteps in the attic are always good for a wee chill.

If, like me, you enjoy Asian horror, try Thomas Randall’s new series The Waking.  First in the series Dreams of the Dead is a genuinely creepy story of American teen Kara who moves to Japan with her father, and finds herself caught up in a supernatural mystery of missing girls, murderous school students, and Japanese demons.  Again, the writing is excellent, the characters warmly drawn and the authentic setting and atmosphere make these books a must-read, not just for teens but anyone who loves good horror.

And I can’t let you leave without talking about one of my favourite ever horror books.  Now over 50 years old, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House still has the power to keep me awake at night and disturb my peace of mind in the daytime. Don’t say I didn’t warn you …

Linwood Cemetery tours

pictureOur resident cemetery guru Richard Greenaway (a.k.a The Sexton) will be revealing the fascinating stories behind some of the people buried in Linwood Cemetery with two tours in October and November.

  • Saturday 29 October  ‘Up the hill’
    2pm – 3pm  A talk about the ‘high flyers’ buried ‘up the hill’ in Linwood Cemetery who have shaped our heritage as a community, city and country
    3pm Get help finding the location of your ancestors and ask about the work of the Friends.
    Note:  This tour has been designed for ease of walking although the entrance is steep.Meet at the Information Board in the cemetery near the Jollie St foot-entrance. Some chairs will be available.
    Gold coin donation for the Trust’s operational funds appreciated.
  • Saturday 5 November ‘Meet your neighbours’
    11am – An update on the Trust’s work.
    11.15am – A tour of interesting people which takes you all over Linwood Cemetery pointing out people who were good (or bad) neighbours and nevertheless shaped our community, Christchurch and New Zealand.
    12.30pm – Sausage sizzle and refreshments, or bring your own picnic.
    1pm – Get help finding the location of your ancestors and ask about the work of the Trust.
    Note:   This tour covers a long walking distance.
    Meet at the Linwood Cemetery Car Park, Butterfield Ave
    Some chairs will be available to carry on the tour.
    Gold coin donation for the Trust’s operational funds appreciated.

Richard is running these tours on behalf of the Friends of Linwood Cemetery – a great bunch of volunteers who work and advocate on behalf of the Cemetery. They run working bees, identify work needed in the cemetery and plan awareness raising events. Find out more about what they do and how to join them on their informative website.

Over the years we have built up some great online resources about Christchurch and other cemeteries. Our collection of resources about Linwood will give you maps, cemetery tours and a brief history.

It might not be Pere Lachaise but Linwood is a fascinating and tranquil corner of old Christchurch just waiting to be explored.