Memorial Entrance Gates, Lancaster Park

Lancaster Park was opened with an Athletics meeting on 15 October 1881, the land for the ground having been bought by The Canterbury Cricket and Athletics Sports Club Ltd from Benjamin Lancaster. For the next 30-plus years much hard work went into developing facilities for the different sporting codes –  athletics, cricket, cycling, rugby football, tennis, even swimming and horse-racing.

Creator unknown :Photograph of Lancaster Park war memorial, Christchurch. Ref: 1/1-011707-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
Creator unknown :Photograph of Lancaster Park war memorial, Christchurch. Ref: 1/1-011707-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Thanks to the wonders of modern digitisation projects, we can read an account from The Star of 29 July 1881 of how the grounds came to be purchased, and the work done to date.

But with World War I, all sport on the grounds stopped, and despite efforts to raise money to cover costs (including growing potatoes!), Lancaster park was £8,000 in debt and facing bankruptcy by the War’s end.  The Canterbury Commercial Travellers and Warehousemen’s Association came to the rescue – making huge efforts to pay off the debt, and secure the grounds in perpetuity for the athletes of Canterbury.  Their only request was that part of the money raised be used for the Memorial Gates to commemorate the sportsmen who had died in the War.

The name Lancaster Park was changed to Victory Park with the Victory Park Act of 1919, and  the official opening was held on the 27th March 1920. Architectural firm of J S and M J Guthrie designed the Memorial gates, and they were built by G L Bull in 1924

Between 1924 and 2011 many were the Cantabrians who walked through the gates to watch the cricket, see a concert, sit on the embankment …

Who knows when we will next get the chance?

File Reference CCL PhotoCD 8, IMG0076
Some of the 13,000 spectators leaving Lancaster Park after the second test match between New South Wales and New Zealand, 1 Sept. 1923 [1 Sept. 1923] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 8, IMG0076

More about Lancaster Park

Books to scare you silly this Halloween

Some of my favourite stories are ones that creep me out and send a chill down my spine. When I was a kid there weren’t many authors who wrote horror stories or ghost stories. R.L. Stine’s books were about the creepiest I could find and he’s still writing them today. If you look up R.L. Stine in the library catalogue, you’ll find we have 182 of his books (in paper book, eBook and audiobook format) in the library!

Cover of Maleficent Seven Cover of Spooks Cover of The beast

If you like horror stories, ghost stories or stories about the supernatural there are now lots of authors who write these stories. Some of my favourite seriously scary authors are:

You could also try these searches in the library catalogue:

Grab a book by one of these authors and scare yourself silly!

More Halloween stuff

Check out our page on Halloween crafts, costumes, and trick-or-treating.

Come and join in the Halloween fun at South Library from 11am to 3pm on Saturday 31 October.  Free activities including Story time with a Halloween theme, craft, treasure hunt and more. Suitable for families with children aged from 2 to 10.


Into the river – Unrestricted

Cover of Into the riverIt was announced yesterday that Into the River by Ted Dawe has been classified as Unrestricted and the Interim Restriction Order imposed by the President of the Board of Review is no longer in force. Good news. Here’s our post on the ban.

So if you want to borrow Into the river from your library, you can. But you might have to wait a bit, as 23 people currently have a hold on it! Put your hold on, and we will get it to you ASAP.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification has this case study that explains the ins and outs of the Into the River drama, including the Film and Literature Board of Review’s majority decision classifying Into the River as R14 (419 KB PDF).

The timeline:

  • 11/09/2013: Classified Unrestricted M by the Classification Office
  • 23/12/2013: Classified R14 by the Board of Review
  • 14/08/2015: Classified Unrestricted by the Classification Office
  • 14/10/2015: Classified Unrestricted by the Board of Review

15 October 1953: The worst RNZAF air accident in New Zealand

A crash at Wigram in 1953 remains the worst RNZAF crash in New Zealand history, killing seven men.

Two Royal New Zealand Air Force De Havilland Devons, the NZ1811 and NZ1810 from RNZAF Station Wigram, collided over Wigram Aerodrome. They had been part of the  last section of a 27 aircraft flypast over Harewood International Airport (as Christchurch airport was then called) marking the 1953 London to Christchurch Air Race Prize Giving Ceremony.

De Havilland Dove ZK-AQV aircraft, location unidentified.
De Havilland Dove ZK-AQV aircraft, location unidentified. Whites Aviation Ltd :Photographs. Ref: WA-12933-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.
The Dove is the civilian version of the Devon

When the formation broke up as the aircraft prepared to land back at Wigram, NZ1811 was struck on the wing by its “No. 2”, NZ1810.  Both aircraft immediately lost control and plunged to the ground in a paddock at nearby Halswell, killing all aboard. This is still the highest loss of life incurred by the Royal New Zealand Air Force in a single New Zealand accident. They were:

Squadron Leader: Sholto R Duncan

Pilots: Flight Lieutenants Ebbett and Flight Lieutenant Ziesler.

Crewmen: Brian J Keogh, Eric Melrose, William Sharman, Russell Woodcock.

Now this terrible accident has been commemorated in Wigram by naming two of the new streets Edwin Ebbett Place and Erling Ziesler Lane

To read the original account in The Press of 16 October 1953 p. 10, you can visit the Central Library Manchester Street, and see the pages in microfilm – ask one of our lovely staff for assistance if you haven’t used microfilm before.

Following the 75th Anniversary of Wigram Air Base on 25 August 1992, it was closed on 14 September 1995.

To read more