Curragh Cottage, Ferrymead Heritage Park, 3 April 2010: Picturing Canterbury

Curragh Cottage, Ferrymead Heritage Park, 3 April 2010. Kete Christchurch. Ferrymead_Heritage_Park__3_April_2010__IMG_7194. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Curragh Cottage, Ferrymead Heritage Park.

Originally erected at 104 Holly Road and relocated to Ferrymead Heritage Park in 1972.

Photograph taken 3 April 2010.

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

Do you have any further photographs of Curragh Cottage? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Postcard Hilltop Hotel: Picturing Canterbury

Postcard Hilltop Hotel. Kete Christchurch. PH16-044. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Postcard of old Hilltop Hotel on Summit Road, Christchurch-Akaroa Highway.

Entry in the 2016 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Gladys Gurney.

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

Do you have any further photographs of the Hill Top Hotel? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Cathedral Square: Past and Future

Cathedral Square has long been an important civic space for Christchurch. In its time it has functioned as a transport hub and “movie theatre central”. It’s been a meeting place, and a stage for political protest, debate and speeches. It has been the home to markets, tourism operators, and of course, a cathedral. Numerous concerts have been held there and recently it has hosted a temporary ice-rink. From mid next year it will also have a shiny, new library in its North-East corner.

Regenerate Christchurch recently released some draft concepts for what Cathedral Square might look like in the future. And they are looking for feedback (until 21 August – so get in with your reckons).

Cathedral Square is a place with a many memories for Christchurch people and it has changed a great deal over the years. So while you’re considering what The Square of the future should be like, have a look at these glimpses of its past.

Crowd in Cathedral Square, Christchurch, celebrating Armistice Day. Head, Samuel Heath, d 1948 :Negatives. Ref: 1/1-007108-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22898377

 

Love the special sign for “Pedestrians” in this street photo from 1938.

Naomi Poulsen and friends in front of the Cathedral, 1938. by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

Victory celebration stirs Christchurch crowds. Christchurch turned out yesterday en masse to attend the second day of Victory Celebrations. A section of the crowd in the Square. 10 May 1945, The Press, 11 May 1945, p.8

 

Though there’s no date provided for this photo of Cathedral Square covered in snow, the presence of the Citizens’ War Memorial, far left, (unveiled in 1937) means it might be the snow of July, 1945.

Snow in town, Cathedral. by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

The Plaza Theatre originally opened as The Strand in 1917. In this photo the neighbouring United Service Hotel can be seen at left with the Women’s Rest Rooms at right. The theatre was demolished in 1990.

Plaza Theatre, Cathedral Square, 1946. Plaza Theatre, Cathedral Square by Patricia Scott is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

Jacqui Taylor’s father leading a procession in front of the Christchurch Cathedral. He sang in the Cathedral Choir, Late 1940’s, File reference: HW10-S-Fe-020. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives 3.0 New Zealand License

 

Cathedral Square decorated in honour of the Queen and Prince Phillip. Date: 1950s by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

A common street photograph pose near the Citizens’ War Memorial.

Pauline Ormandy (left) and Colleen Finn (right) by the Cathedral as 16 year olds. File reference: HW10-Sh-161 Cathedral Cuties, 1964, by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives 3.0 New Zealand

 

Long hair and sandals in the seventies.

This was taken in the Square in Easter 1971, File Reference: HWC08-ANZC-080, Bible Lady by CityScape is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

An orderly bus queue on a sunny afternoon, in the late 70s or early 80s.

Chief Post Office by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

Obligatory Wizard photo.

The Wizard (“C’mon Canterbury”) on ladder). I took this photo in Cathedral Square early in 1982. I later returned and gave the wizard a copy. He showed it to the crowd, announcing himself to be “A living work of art”. The Wizard, Cathedral Square, 1982 by Julia Thomas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

A busy day in Cathedral Square, probably in the 1990s

View of Post Office buildings in the Square by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

Christchurch Arts Festival sculpture “Snow Orchid” and Speigeltent venue in background, 2007.

Snow Orchid was installed in Cathedral Square for the 2007 Christchurch Arts Festival. The work was designed by Strategy Design and Advertising and constructed by Warwick Bell of Fabric Structure Systems. Snow Orchid Christchurch Arts Festival 2007 DSC06625 by SueC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

Many protests and demonstrations have taken place in Cathedral Square over the years. This one in 2010 resulted in Neville Toohey being arrested.

Neville Toohey locked himself on the balcony of the Christchurch Cathedral and unfurled a banner with the name of his anti-ACC website over the side of the building. Mr Toohey was protesting after being denied back surgery by ACC. After spending the night on the balcony, Mr Toohey left the Cathedral at 1.00pm and was arrested and charged with trespass. ACC Protest, Cathedral Square, Christchurch, 26 March 2010 by KeteScape is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

Cathedral Square as it looks now. But what does the future hold?

Christchurch: Where the children of today enjoy and shape the dreams of tomorrow, 10 October 2014. Entry in the Christchurch City Council Long Term Plan 2015 – 2025 Photography Competition by Len Jingco. LTPLeJi by SueC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

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Fiona Farrell: Writing big and the best in Decline and fall on Savage Street

“It had to be as beautiful as I could get it.”

These were the words Fiona Farrell used on Tuesday night at the launch of her new book Decline and fall on Savage Street in order to describe her challenge of writing something big. This “big” is here now. It is complete. And it is a rich and endlessly rewarding read.

It consists of two parts: the nonfiction masterpiece, Villa at the edge of the empire, which explores Christchurch’s initial build and after earthquake rebuild in a factual way and its twin fiction sister Decline and fall on Savage Street – the latter one just freshly released, still hot from the press, its cover beautifully alluring.

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Alluring cover of Fiona Farrell’s new book.

Even more alluring that evening were words: Fiona in an electrifying conversation with Liz Grant, reading abstracts from both books, convincing, charged, punchy slices of masterly crafted writing, seasoned with a refined sprinkle of wit. Organised by Word Christchurch, the launch of the book was hosted in Christchurch Art Gallery and offered first glimpses in the imagined yet the entirely credible world, characters and events of a house on Savage Street.

But the house is more than just a setting, it grows into a structural device, it becomes the anchor of the novel – on narrative and formal level. It is the connecting point, a node, where stories of characters, who lived in the house, intersect. The idea for the form stems from the city and its shattering. The chapters work as separate stories and are like “little pieces of timber”, shattered disconnected pieces, “100 fragments of human condition”, as Liz described it. It is a salvage book.

It’s not the house alone which connects and binds all these pieces, all these different voices. It is the river, with its own time, rhythm and a creature, that runs through the novel and weaves in more balanced and assuring antipode, which belongs to the natural realm.

DSC_0141
Beautifully designed details and typography contributes to pleasurable overall reading experience.

It takes a lot of discipline and masterful, intelligent mind to shape each single piece in such a concentrated and sublime way Fiona did – every single word has its own place and the magnificent is revealed in delicate nuances. Material for rich and powerful stories was sourced from real life stories, talks with friends and random strangers at the petrol stations, newspapers, books. “There was an amazing openness, everyone was ready to talk,” Fiona describes the post earthquake era, filled with stories.

Most often, the challenge of research and writing is rewarded with surprises: “Writing is constant discovery, it’s a constancy of surprises. One of the pleasures of writing is finding connections, where you don’t expect them.”

And such is the reading of this book as well – full of surprises and pleasure.

“I wanted to write something big. I wanted to make it the best I could,” concluded Fiona on Tuesday night. This book certainly is BIG and its greatness will grow with each single reading. Its sharp structure, complex characters, refined language and relevant political, social and environmental themes guarantee this work is destined to be a prize winner, but most of all, it deserves to be read over and over again by its readers.

Find out more:

Whalebone Cottage – 704 Ferry Road: Picturing Canterbury

Whalebone Cottage – 704 Ferry Road. Kete Christchurch. Ferry_Road_704. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

The house, situated on the former route from the Heathcote Ferry to Christchurch, was built in c.1867 for Daniel and Maria Scott. At the time of their occupancy it was known as “The Homestead”. However, by the early 1880s it had earned the name, Whalebone Cottage, due to the use of whalebones to form a decorative arch over the front gate.

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

Do you have any further photographs of Whalebone Cottage? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Cathedral Square by Night 1959: Picturing Canterbury

Cathedral Square by Night 1959. Kete Christchurch. Ph16-IsTw-C-W-PICT0047. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

“Cathedral Square by night the northwest corner with the start of Chancery Lane under the bright white light. The Tivoli theatre later became the Westend, a huge cinema (scene of many happy nights out in my teenage years) complete with cat known to sleep on seats at the back. The old building to the left was later the site of the AMP building, and the one to the right became the Government Life building.”

Date: 18 August 1959.

Entry in the 2016 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Isabel Tweedy.

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

Do you have any further photographs of Cathedral Square in the 1950s? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Sumner Gas Works, two views, 1958 and 2010: Picturing Canterbury

Sumner Gasworks, two views, 1958 and 2010. Kete Christchurch. PH14-MaNo-SumnerGasworks-2Viewsl. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

View 1958: This is taken from a clay bank, looking down over the Sumner Gasworks on the corner of Wakefield Ave and Truro Street, Sumner. We lived in the stoker’s old home showing at the top left of the GasHolder ( which is still there today). Probably a rare view of the Gasworks which really doesnt seem to have had many photos taken of, apart from by our family who lived there about 45 years. The accompanying photo of my painting ( with the much smaller Gasholder ) is of the opposite view from our front door area.

View 2010: Triggered by the Sept 4 2010 Quake, I painted this watercolour of the Sumner Gasworks, which was situated on the corner of Wakefield Ave and Truro Street. My Dad, Roy Bradley, was a stoker there for 23 years from 1937 and stoked the last retort on Mon 20th Feb 1961. The Stokehouse was Demolished in 1970.

This is the View I lived with for 20 years. Is from our old home, the Stoker’s house next door. Painted mainly from memory with the help of a pencil sketch of my dad’s, and the background of a photo of family member. I’ve painted the Gas Holder much smaller than it was (artistic licence) as you will see in the other photo.

The painting view was just painted in 2010 but from sketches, old photo and memory. It is not how the Gasworks looked in 2010 as it was closed in 1960 and gone with-in a year or 2. I’d say the view I painted could be also dated as 1958 ( but painted 50 years later).

Date: 1958, 2010

Entry in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Margaret Norwood.

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

Do you have any further photographs of the Sumner Gasworks? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Opera: Carmen at the Isaac Theatre Royal

Opening night at the beautifully restored Isaac Theatre Royal. The talk of the excited crowd dies down to murmurs as the lights dim. Light glitters from gilded panels. The open stage begins to fill with the cast, who stare heroically at the audience, then walk off to leave the lead character exposed.

Carmen, by Georges Bizet, is an Opera in four acts. It’s a passionate story, centred around Gypsy Siren come Revolutionary, Carmen. Her wily seduction of the Soldier Don Jose and the love triangle created when she spurns him for the compelling Toreador, Escamillo, raises passions that run out of control.

Carmen with chorus members
Carmen with chorus members. Image credit: Marty Melville

Directed by Opera Queensland’s Artistic Director Lindy Hume, (Lucia di Lammermoor, Rigoletto and La cenerentola), the themes of immorality and the murder of the main character broke new ground in theatre, making the Opera controversial after its release in 1875.

The cast of Carmen are incredible. Relaxed and natural in their roles, they deliver a heartfelt and convincing performance. Don Jose (Tom Randle) has a powerful voice with which to express his pain (like a knife in the heart). His duets with Michaela (Emma Pearson) are exquisite.

Micaela (Emma Pearson)’s pleas with Don Jose to save his life from ruin are delivered with such feeling that I was moved by her performance. Her voice brought the role to life with powerful strength.

Escamillo (James Clayton) has a beautiful voice. It flows naturally, like honey. I would have heard him more (he performs in Handel’s Messiah later in the year).

And Carmen (Nina Surguladze). Wow. She gave an incredible performance. Her voice filled the theatre, as did her personality. Nina has performed on the most famous stages in the world. Her Carmen was cheeky, strong heroic; her movements around the stage as graceful as her control over her voice, teasing us with soft notes, and inflaming us with her passionate mezzo soprano.

The supporting cast must not be forgotten. All great actors, their wonderful voices swelled the theatre with rousing performances of Amour and Toreador. Special mention to Kiwis Amelia Perry (Frasquita) and Kristin Darragh (Mercedes), Carmen’s companions. I loved their voices, and they brought more character to the stage.

Carmen
Clever staging at the Isaac Theatre Royal

Production Designer Dan Potra’s staging is clever and innovative. Moving panels create or take away space, ultimately leaving the lead characters, Carmen and Don Jose trapped.

The chorus and Escamillo take performances beyond the stage, singing shadowed behind the stage wall. Lights appear in a strangely jagged wall to create a mountain hillside, clever lighting (Matthew Marshall) creates swirling clouds from dry ice.

Lastly a hat’s off to the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Francesco Pasqualletti and Oliver von Dohnanyi. and It was thrilling to hear Toreador played live. Great job.

Favourite scenes? The whole cast singing ‘L’amour est un oiseau rebelle‘ in Act I. The dancing scene in Act II:  Carmen is completely in control; the women creating a whirlwind around the circle of sheepish, lustful men.

Gypsies
Gypsies. Image credit: Marty Melville.

And the Death Scene. Best Death Ever! The crowd gasped as Don Jose fired his gun (filled with very loud blanks), then gasped again as Carmen slid down the wall, leaving a trail of blood. Especially entertaining as we all knew it was coming.

Footnote: My library colleague Rose O’Neill asked one of the Isaac’s friendly staff about The Ghost. It was thought that he had gone after the Quakes. Then after restoration he was seen behind the stage…

Ceiling dome, Isaac Theatre Royal.

 Find out more

A Good Deed: Picturing Canterbury

Photograph of a carved meeting house
A Good Deed. Kete Christchurch. A_Good_Deed_5133408218_o. Entry in the 2010 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. CC-BY-NA-SA-3.0 NZ.

My great grandfather and his wife arrived in New Zealand November 1859 on the Zealandia. Parents told me John Hepworth did a good deed for a Māori chief and was presented with a Huia feather. The feather was in the possession of my father’s older brother .. in about 1940 … [but]  the  … family can no longer find the feather. I believe but am unable to confirm that the European man with the hat on in the photo is my G[reat] Grandfather.” – John Hepworth, Christchurch, 2010.

Date unknown but probably late nineteenth century.

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

Do you have any further information about this photo? If so, please share it with us by leaving a comment.

King Edward Barracks construction begins – This week in history 10-16 July

The Foundation stone for the King Edward Barracks was laid on the 13th of July 1905 by the Right Hon. R.J. Seddon, Premier and Defence Minister, though construction had already started.

King Edward Barracks, corner of Cashel and Montreal Streets, Christchurch, 1905, CCL PhotoCD 7, IMG0067

The official ceremony narrowly missed being delayed as there had been an accident with the Foundation Stone: a special saw had been required for the inscription in the particularly hard stone, and the saw broke. The job then had to be completed by the masons by hand, dulling several more of their tools in the process.

King Edward Barracks Foundation Stone by Sepia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License. KeteChristchurch P1180490

It amazingly only took 25 days to complete the building on the corner of Cashel and Montreal Streets. To accomplish this remarkable feat, workmen worked after dark by gaslight, and it was remarked upon on the day in the Star newspaper:

The apparent apathy with which the authorities long seemed to treat Christchurch’s need of a habitable drillshed has been followed by a display of building energy which easily surpasses anything ever seen in the city.

The contractors and architects were Luttrell Brothers of Christchurch. Utilising an innovative design, of which Alfred Luttrell claimed there were only two existing examples in England, it would cover a large space for little money. The drillshed was designed as a large arched building and to be fire proof, unlike its predecessor which burnt down in 1903.

Constructed of 21 iron girders that weighed 6 tons each and enabled the building to be 36.5m x 91m and 12m tall with no obstructive structural columns. A brick mobilisation store, gun store and officers rooms were also built on the site.

Building the King Edward Barracks, Christchurch, 1905, CCL PhotoCD 9, IMG0084

As well as being the site for military activities such as holding drills for soldiers, hearing court-martials, demonstrations for cadets, assembling military areoplanes and giving gas mask training, it was also used for civic occasions and to host all sorts of entertainment. These included a World’s Fair, flower shows, car shows, circuses, pet shows, poultry shows, and training sessions for the All Blacks. These types of events were often illustrated in the newspapers, and some can be accessed through Paperspast.


The riverside site was an important food gathering area for Māori and was associated with the New Zealand Army from 1864. The army left the site in 1993 and Ngai Tahu Property purchased the Barracks site and the buildings were removed in 1997. The site is currently under going post-earthquake commercial redevelopment.

48 Hereford Street, Christchurch by KeteCCL is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License. KeteChristchurch kgP1060549.

More Christchurch history

To see more of what happened this week in the past, visit our Christchurch Chronology.