Ballantynes’ Fire 70th Anniversary – 18 November 2017

About 70 years ago, on 18 November 1947, should you have been wandering down Cashel Street towards Colombo shortly before four in the afternoon, you would have seen a strange sight: Ballantynes co-owner, Kenneth Ballantyne, climbing down the parapet of his storefront. Flames all around him, he is the last to escape the Ballantynes’ fire with his life.

41 other people were not so lucky.

Rescuing Mr. Ballantyne from the Burning Building on Colombo Street, Christchurch. CCL PhotoCD 1, IMG0018.
Rescuing Mr. Ballantyne from the Burning Building on Colombo Street, Christchurch. CCL PhotoCD 1, IMG0018.

This Saturday will mark the 70th anniversary of the Ballantynes’ fire. If you would like to learn more about the tragic sequence of events that unfolded in 1947, Christchurch City Libraries has a digital heritage resource containing transcripts and images, among other resources, to help you paint a picture.

Firemen at Ballantynes Fire 1947. Kete Christchurch. PH14-001.jpg Creative Commons License

Photos are our glimpses of the past, and you can browse spectacular photographs taken of the Ballantynes’ fire through the following sources:

Aerial View of the Gutted Shell of the Three-Storied Department Building. CCL PhotoCD 1, IMG0016.
Aerial View of the gutted shell of the three-storied department building. CCL PhotoCD 1, IMG0016.
Battling the Flames: Tense Firemen in Action. CCL PhotoCD 1, IMG0017.

More resources about the Ballantynes’ Fire

Neighbourhood Week 2017/18

Neighbourhood week is here! 27th October to 31st March 2018. Yes, you read that correctly. This year neighbourhood week is extended for the entire summer.

Do you know who your neighbours are? I don’t know mine as well as I should like. Neighbourly relations are important yet I have, for the most part, lived according to the wise words of Robert Frost:

“Good fences make good neighbours.”

I often come home to find my cat peering out from the neighbour’s bedroom window. If he’s living the double life over there, perhaps it’s time I followed suit and got to know them better. The only thing we may share in common is a boundary fence, but chances are they will be lovely, decent and hardworking people.

Thankfully, there are plans and resources to help us all get into the neighbourly spirit this summer. As part of the ongoing effort to help people connect in with their neighbours and strengthen community foundations, a small fund has been allotted by the Christchurch City Council Community Boards to help out with the planning and running of local events. Through this, you can register a neighbourhood event of your own and receive a small grant to go towards a fun event for you local neighbours and community this summer. Look now, an excellent excuse to throw a party! How could you refuse?

You can also check out our website and events calendar – Christchurch City Libraries events are always a great way to meet new people, socialise with your locals and build connections. Things to look out for include:

What exciting events have you got planned for Neighbourhood Week?

Reading in Mind for Mental Health

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 October).

The 2012/13 New Zealand Health Survey reported that one in every six New Zealanders have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder at a point in their lives. The report also highlights a link between mental illness and poor physical health: mental disorders are the third highest cause of health loss in New Zealand. Chances are, you or someone you know has suffered from mental illness at some stage.

There is a wealth of information out there on mental health. It can be difficult to separate the good advice from the bad, the relevant from the not so.

With this in mind, a team of health professionals and librarians have created the Reading in Mind scheme. The scheme has sprung from a partnership between Pegasus Health, Christchurch City Libraries, the Mental Health Education Resource Centre and HealthInfo Canterbury/Waitaha.

Cover of Anxious kids, anxious parentsCover of Coping with Obsessive-Compulsive disorderCover of The mindful way through anxietyCover of Anger management for everyoneCover of We need to talk about griefCover of When someone you love is addicted to alcohol or drugs

The Reading in Mind scheme promotes the many benefits of reading for health and well-being, and really takes the hassle and doubt of choosing reading material for mental health issues. The scheme suggests a wide range of resources – including books, audiobooks and eBooks – on various topics including alcoholism, grief and divorce. Whilst nothing can replace the sound advice from your doctor or health care professional, it is a resource which can be used to assist with managing and treating mild to moderate mental health disorders. It is suitable for all ages and backgrounds.

Browse the Reading in Mind lists on the library catalogue.

Get active and make the most of the warmer weather with sports and activities, clubs for older adults and walks in and around Christchurch.

Here are some other health related resources to check out:

Images of Christmas: Then and Now

A picture is worth a thousand words and there are few things more mesmerising than that tradition of perusing old photograph albums.

Car Float and Rollerskates, c. 1970
Christmas Parade: Car Float and Rollerskates, c. 1970 File Reference CCL Img ARCH812-49

As Hal Boyle (1971) put it:

Memory is more than a dustbin of time, stuffed with yesterday’s trash. Rather, memory is a glorious grab at the past from which one can at leisure pluck bittersweet experiences of times gone by and relive them.

Christchurch City Libraries has a wealth of digitised photography, and who doesn’t like a good trip down memory lane?

New Zealanders have been celebrating Christmas in style and with flair for many moons, so in the spirit of the season, here are some highlights from our Christmas Images collection:

Father Christmas delights Cantabrians whether arriving in his old fashioned automobile or in his blow up dinghy:

Father Christmas visits Heathcote Valley School
Father Christmas visits Heathcote Valley School. Gimblett-0011.
Santa arrives on New Brighton beach, 12/12/015.
Santa arrives on New Brighton beach, 12/12/015. 2015-12-12-IMG_1509.

 

The fashion phenomenon of the onesie goes way back:

Red Riding Hood Wolf: Hay's Ltd Christmas Pageant, c. 1950
Red Riding Hood Wolf: Hay’s Ltd Christmas Pageant, c. 1950. CCL-Arch978-1-019.

 

They dressed up for the occasion:

Christmas Trees at Hay's Christmas Parade, c. 1970.
Christmas Trees at Hay’s Christmas Parade, c. 1970. CCL Img ARCH812-68.
New Brighton Santa Parade. 12/12/2015.
New Brighton Santa Parade. 12/12/2015. File reference: 2015-12-12-IMG_1553.

The tradition of the Christmas Parade in Christchurch began in the 1930’s with T.J Armstrong & Co. Then around 1947, the Christchurch Santa Parade was launched by retailer James Hay. Hay’s Christmas Parade was immensely popular with children and families:

Father Christmas on T.J Armstrong & Co's Christmas Float
Father Christmas on T.J Armstrong & Co’s Christmas Float, c. 1930. CCL PhotoCD 16, IMG0054.
Santa Float at Hay's Christmas Parade, 1970's. CCL Img ARCH812-27.
Santa Float at Hay’s Christmas Parade, 1970’s. CCL Img ARCH812-27.

Today, the custom continues:

Where to go to find more Christmas Images?

  • Christchurch City Libraries’ Christmas Images page.
  • Kete Christchurch have collections of the New Brighton Christmas Parade and more.
  • DigitalNZ have compiled an assortment of images from Santa Parades around the country.
A Christmas parade passes along Colombo Street, Christchurch c. 1930. CCL PhotoCD 17, IMG0001.
A Christmas parade passes along Colombo Street, Christchurch
c. 1930. CCL PhotoCD 17, IMG0001.

Festive Food for the Holiday Season

It’s approaching that time of year. After slaving away at the gym all winter long, desperate to shave those extra pounds for summer, the season of overeating is descending upon us.

Christmas Dinner, 1962.
Christmas Dinner, 1962 by KeteScape is licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ License

The matter is not helped by the vast assortment of Christmas cooking books flying onto the shelves. Check out some of our latest Christmas entertaining and recipe books, guaranteed to convert the most headstrong Grinch among us:

homemade-christmas jamie-olivers-christmas-cookbook seasont-eatings womens-weekly-christmas hairy-bikers-12-days-of-christmas

Find more Christmas cookery in our catalogue.

Search our databases and eResources for further inspiration and turn your kitchen into a frenzy of festivity this December:

What mouth-watering, diet-shattering Christmas treats will you be dishing up this holiday season?