Riverview Lodge, 361 Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch: Picturing Canterbury

Riverview Lodge, 361 Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch. Kete Christchurch. Cambridge_Terrace_361. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

The house at 361 Cambridge Terrace was built c.1904 and is an example of a residence designed in the Queen Anne style of architecture.

Do you have any photographs of 361 Cambridge Terrace? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Defending Lyttelton: Torpedo Boat No. 168 Defender

Before 1885 there possibly would have been only a few people in New Zealand who had ever heard of the Panjdeh region in what is now Turkmenistan. To the British, it was considered a region of Afghanistan. The Russians, however, believed that the region was a tributary of Merv, a city that was part of the Khanate of Khiva, which had been a protectorate of the Russian Empire since 1873. For the British in India, the steady creep of the Russian Empire towards the north western borders of the Raj was a constant concern. Therefore, when Russian forces under General Alexander Komarov captured the Panjdeh region on 30 March 1885, it was expected that war between the two empires would immediately follow. Across the British Empire, all naval vessels were ordered to standby ready for deployment and the movement of all Russian military ships was closely monitored.

Lyttelton was ready to play its part in the defence of the empire with Torpedo Boat No. 168, Defender.

The Lyttelton Defender [1897]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 10, IMG0040.

Torpedo Boat No. 168 Defender

ENEMIES WITHIN OUR GATES., Wanganui Herald, Volume XVI, Issue 4585, 4 February 1882, Papers Past

The fear that New Zealand lay within the reach of Russian warships was made all too visible when, in 1881, the Russian war ship, Afrika visited Auckland. To defend its ports, New Zealand began to construct a series of costal fortifications. To accompany these fortifications, four torpedo boats were ordered.

Defender was one of four 2nd class Thornycroft Spar Torpedo Boats that were built in 1883 in Chiswick, London, by shipbuilding firm, John I. Thornycroft & Co. Powered by steam, and reaching 63 feet in length, each boat was armed with a McEvoy spar torpedo. Unlike the use of propelled torpedoes, which could be launched from a distance, spar torpedoes had to be driven into the side of the target. To provide cover as the boat moved to attack, a Nordenfeldt machine gun was situated on top of the conning tower.

After being tested, the boats were shipped to New Zealand, with the first two arriving aboard the Lyttelton in Port Chalmers on 9 May 1884. Assigned to Lyttelton, Defender arrived at the port in December 1884. The remaining boats were deployed to their new destinations. Taiaroa went to Port Chalmers, Waitemata to Devonport, and Poneke to Wellington. Following its arrival in Lyttelton, Defender was moored off Gladstone Pier where it remained under the authority of Captain Hugh McLellan, Harbour Master and Captain of the Naval Brigade. Ten men were chosen by McLellan to serve on the torpedo boat, assisted by five members of the Armed Constabulary. However, only five at a time would be on permanent duty.

The Defender of Baker’s Bay

In 1885 it was decided to house Defender at Baker’s Bay (now called Magazine Bay) where a magazine building had previously been constructed in 1874 by the then Provincial Government to house black powder and explosives. A torpedo boat shed, large enough to house three boats, and a slip, was constructed. However, the location and design of the slip were criticised, as the boat could not be launched during a high tide or during swells. This was lampooned in an article in the Lyttelton Times with the suggestion that a placard be painted on Godley Head with the following: “To Russians and all others whom it may concern. Hostile parties wishing to shell the Port of Lyttelton are requested to time their visit for fine weather, otherwise they cannot be fittingly received by the local authorities.”

Because Defender was only tested once every three months, and without a full time engineer to oversee its maintenance, its engines soon rusted. In March 1886 Rear-Admiral Robert A.E. Scott visited Lyttelton to observe a display of the boat’s performance. Unfortunately, due to the condition of its engines, the boat was only able to reach a speed of 12 knots. Later that year the boat was equipped with Whitehead mobile torpedoes.

Magazine Bay, Lyttelton Harbour, 1925. PH13-432. Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Decommission, ruin and restoration

The predicted war with the Russian Empire never came. Since the ruler of Afghanistan, Emir Abdur Rahman Khan, remained unconcerned by the Russian occupation of Panjdeh, the British in India had no excuse to send military forces to the Russian-Afghan border on his behalf. When the threat of a Russian invasion passed, Defender remained idle. Although in 1888 it was suggested, in a report to the Government by General Shaw, that the boat be transferred to Wellington, she remained on inactive duty in Lyttelton.

In 1899 Defender was decommissioned and sold to Mark Thomas, a steam launch operator. He salvaged the boat’s vital parts before disposing of the hull on Purau Beach. It is believed that the conning tower eventually ended up in a paddock where it was used as trough. In 1909 the Mount Herbert County Council hired Alex Rhind and Co. to haul the remains of the boat further up the beach, a process which resulted in the hull breaking in half. The remains were still visible when artist Jess Hollobon painted a scene of Purau Beach in 1930. They were finally covered over in 1958.

In 1998 David Bundy was tasked by Project Port Lyttelton to locate and excavate the remains of Defender. Referring to an aerial photograph taken in 1958 of Purau beach, he was assisted by a team of soldiers using metal detectors. Eventually the remains were found, with some sections buried at a depth of 30 metres. After being excavated, the remains were taken to Lyttelton where they were restored. In 2003 the Lyttelton Torpedo Boat Museum Charitable Trust opened the Thornycroft Torpedo Boat Museum in the former magazine house and placed the restored remains, complete with a spar torpedo, on display. Today, the remains of Torpedo Boat No. 168, Defender are a reminder that colonial New Zealand, although located in the lower Pacific, was not immune from the effects of Russian and British expansion into the khanates of Central Asia.

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Traffic Officer Herbert MacIntosh prepares to mount his bicycle: Picturing Canterbury

Traffic Officer Herbert MacIntosh prepares to mount his bicycle [1895]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 7, IMG0012.
Traffic Officer Herbert MacIntosh prepares to mount his bicycle (1895). Standish & Preece.
In 1895 there were no cars and motor-cycles for traffic officers. He is shown surrounded by his brothers and sisters.

Do you have any photographs of cycling in Canterbury? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Fred Wood (of England) comes a cropper: Picturing Canterbury

Fred Wood (of England) comes a cropper. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 1, IMG0072.

Fred Wood (of England) comes a cropper c. 1896.

Preece, A. E. (Alfred Ernest), 1863-1946.

In 1879 pioneer cycling enthusiasts formed the Pioneer Bicycle Club to foster ‘the new and exciting sport of bicycle racing’ and to cater for sportsmen from all around the South Island interested in cycling. In 1889 the club amalgamated with the Canterbury Amateur Athletic Club, also founded in 1879, to form the Pioneer Amateur Bicycle & Athletic Club. In 1933 the name of the club reverted to the Pioneer Amateur Sports Club. The club was disbanded in 1968 and the club building on Gloucester Street was eventually demolished to make way for the then new Central Library.

Do you have any photographs of penny farthings in Christchurch or the Pioneer Amateur Sports Club? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Women of the Air Force Auxiliary, Harewood, Christchurch: Picturing Canterbury

Women of the Air Force Auxiliary, Harewood, Christchurch. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 6, IMG0062.

Women of the Air Force Auxiliary, Harewood, Christchurch (1941).

The first batch of 41 women volunteers in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force began work at Harewood aerodrome in 1941. Women had not figured prominently in air force activities prior to this date. They were needed because many men were away fighting in World War Two. Here some of the women are shown leaving the city for the aerodrome by bus.

Do you have any photographs of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force in Christchurch or of the Harewood aerodrome? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Customers relaxing in the Attic Coffee House, 123a Cashel Street: Picturing Canterbury

Customers relaxing in the Attic Coffee House, 123a Cashel Street. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0042.

Customers relaxing in the Attic Coffee House, 123a Cashel Street c.1957. The building was demolished in 1972.

Do you have any photographs of cafes in Christchurch? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

The corner of Cashel and High Streets, Christchurch: Picturing Canterbury

The corner of Cashel and High Streets, Christchurch. CCL Photo Collection 22, Img00803.

The corner of Cashel and High Streets, Christchurch [ca. 1880].

Cobb & Co. established their line of coaches in Christchurch in 1863. By 1864 their coach office was on the corner of Cashel and High Streets, facing east on the Triangle. The coach driver is thought to be Joseph McFarlane (1849?-1885). In High Street to the right of their depot are Royse, Stead & Co. (William Royse and George G. Stead), grain merchants and the Simpson depot (Bernard Simpson, tobacconist and fancy goods). The music warehouse of Spensley & Co can be seen on the left, in Cashel Street.

Do you have any photographs of the corner of Cashel Street and High Street? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Busy Christchurch: a view in Cathedral Square looking towards the BNZ corner on a hot summer’s day: Picturing Canterbury

Busy Christchurch : a view in Cathedral Square looking towards the BNZ corner on a hot summer’s day.  1913. CCL PhotoCD 5, IMG0063.

Busy Christchurch : a view in Cathedral Square looking towards the BNZ corner on a hot summer’s day. Date: 1913.

Do you have any photographs of Christchurch and Canterbury in summer? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Children taking donkey rides on Sumner beach, Christchurch: Picturing Canterbury

Children taking donkey rides on Sumner beach, Christchurch. CCL PhotoCD 5, IMG0019.

Children taking donkey rides on Sumner beach, Christchurch [ca. 1905]

Do you have any photographs of summer in Christchurch and Canterbury? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Christmas in the backyard, 1958: Picturing Canterbury

Christmas in the backyard, 1958. Kete Christchurch. PH13-410. Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

“A family Christmas in our back yard in Opawa. I am showing off my new scooter, my sister Jenny has a cane dolls pram and my cousin Wayne has a carpentry set. I can’t see what his brother Chris has. My dad has obviously just painted the shed as I can see the ‘wet paint’ sign propped against it.”

Date: 1958

Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt.

Do you have any photographs of Christmas in Canterbury? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.