Christchurch – this week in history (25 February – 3 March)

Theatre Royal
Exterior view of the Theatre Royal, Christchurch, prior to opening [1907]
25 February 1908
Theatre Royal opens. This is the building which exists today, the third to bear the name:

The people of Christchurch, in seeing the need to establish a venue for the local music society to perform, constructed the Music Hall on the original site in 1863. Then a visiting American actor conceived the idea of a theatre. This met with the approval of the society and in 1863 after some structural alterations the venue was re-opened and re-named the Royal Princess Theatre. Productions staged until the building’s demolition in 1876 included Shakespeare’s Richard II, King Henry IV, The Merchant of Venice, and other classics like Don Giovanni. The second theatre was opened eighteen weeks after the closure. The present Theatre Royal, which stands opposite the original site in Gloucester Street, opened 25 Feb. 1908 with a performance of The Blue Moon”. – The Press:, 4 Oct. 1905, p. 7/ 8; The Press, 26 Feb. 1908, p. 7.

25 February 1978
New Brighton Mall opens.

26 February 1938
Summit Road opens. Read more about Harry Ell and the Summit Road.

27 February 1964
Lyttelton road tunnel opens, New Zealand’s longest.

28 February 1853
Provincial boundary defined by proclamation. Westland (then called West Canterbury) included as part of Canterbury.

February 1851
First Avon bridge built – a footbridge at Worcester Street. It was destroyed in the 1868 flood.

February 1986
Radio UFM (located at University of Canterbury) becomes first station in Canterbury to be granted an FM warrant on a long term basis.

1 March 1930
Majestic Theatre opens – the city’s first steel frame building.

2 March 1970
Amid mounting controversy, City Council begins construction of road deviation through Hagley Park. The work was stopped by March 7 for legal reasons, and the project was eventually scrapped.

3 March 1862
First meeting of the Christchurch Municipal Council, which became the Christchurch City Council in November. John Hall elected Chairman, G. Gordon first Town Clerk.

More February and March events in our Christchurch chronology.

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