Christchurch revealed

This week is the last week to catch Underground Overground Archaeology’s exhibition of finds at the South Library. The display is a great way to come face to face with recently rediscovered everyday objects from Christchurch’s past. If you can’t make it along to the library you can also check out Underground Overground’s blog of the work they have been doing digging into numerous demolition sites all over the city.

Together with the fascinating website High Street Stories this blog started me thinking about how much of the intimate history of Christchurch has been revealed since the earthquakes – those fragments that otherwise would have remained lost or stories recorded that might not have been under different circumstances.

As you might imagine, High Street stories is all about the history of this fascinating street, with stories told in video, audio, text and images. You can find out about Ngāi Tahu’s relationship with Ōtākaro (Avon River), the history of the Odeon Theatre and the regeneration of Lichfield Lanes amongst many others. I am not from Christchurch but it is from projects like this that you can get a real sense of how an area has developed and get an impression of what the atmosphere might have been like in the past.

Delving back into Underground Overground’s blog you can find out how archaeological discoveries have been researched and read the stories associated with them that have now come to light. So many of the artefacts that have been discovered seem mundane (lots of bottles!), but when investigated they highlight Christchurch history in a very real and immediate way. For example find out about beer bottles, burlesque houses and the everyday life of early residents.

The physical landscape of Christchurch has totally changed since the earthquakes, but thanks to projects like these – and others – its history and heritage will not be forgotten.

Have any of you used these websites, or any like them, already?

Christchurch – this week in history (24 – 30 March)

24 March 1887
First City Council offices open. This building at the corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Street was designed by S. Hurst Seager. It was the first public building in Christchurch to break with the prevailing tradition of Gothic, Classic or Venetian style.

1890

Our City propped up
25 March 1879
New Zealand’s first telephones in operation in City.

25 March 1930
New Zealand’s first country library service begins as Canterbury adult rural education scheme under the auspices of the W.E.A.

27 March 1848
Canterbury Association decides to buy land from the New Zealand Company.

27 March 1856
First wool cargo shipped to London from Lyttelton (via Auckland).
Christchurch chronology

A timeline of Christchurch events in
chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

More March events in our Christchurch Chronology.