The original hotel on this site was built in 1865. It was replaced by another, built by Fred Harris, in 1871. A second storey was added to the building in 1881 and increased the size of the hotel to 28 rooms. It was a favourite stopping place for the West Coast coaches and was particularly renowned for the hot scones and tea it supplied to travellers. Although it was built of stone, the hotel was destroyed by fire in 1904. At this time it was owned by Messrs Fletcher, Humphries & Co. of Christchurch.
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Tūranga opened on Friday 12 October 2018. We did a bit of a historical re-enactment with the Tūranga staff.
Back in 1982, staff were moving into their fab new digs on Gloucester Street. In 2013, librarians were clearing out stuff from their old workplaces in the Central Library. In 2018, Tūranga staff were excited about opening to the public.
The first in a series of posts that looks at the history of the central Christchurch sites on which your new library, Tūranga, has been built.
Imagine you are peeking through Tūranga’s ground floor window on the corner of Gloucester and Colombo, possibly drooling over all the yummies in Foundation Café… insert TIMEY WIMEY STUFF…
You are now back in 1855 on the very same spot and are again drooling, this time over all the yummies in Gee & Co.’s bakery and confectionery.
Thomas Gee was a biscuit maker from Lambeth who arrived in 1851. He quickly established a business in Lyttelton selling “bride cakes, jellies, blanc-manges, patties…and ginger beer”and later a shop on the corner of Gloucester and Colombo. In 1855 the Christchurch store was transferred to his son-in-law William Stringer who continued to sell baked goods but also diversified into booze. He applied for a license to sell wine and beer in 1857 and by 1860 his business was known as Stringer’s Hotel.
In 1860 Stringer’s Hotel license was passed to George Henry Tribe who renamed the premises the Central Hotel.
By 1872 mine genial host was Edward Hiorns. Edward originally hailed from Warwickshire and arrived in Christchurch during the 1860s, marrying Amelia Heighton in August 1868. He was heavily involved in the community both as a member of the Christchurch City Council, and later the Linwood Borough Council, and as a Freemason. He must have found the hotel trade financially advantageous as he was able to buy Linwood House, a very fine residence built in 1857 for Joseph Brittan.
In August 1897 architect Joseph C Maddison was retained by Edward Hiorns to draw up a plan for a new section to the Central Hotel. In brick and stucco the new hotel had 30 rooms, and two shops on the ground floor one of which had frontage on both Colombo and Gloucester. The main entrance was on Gloucester Street with a private and public bar on the ground floor, dining room overlooking Colombo Street on the first floor and bedrooms and bathrooms, with hot and cold water and showers, on the second.
The hotel was renamed The Masonic and the license was transferred to William James, then E. Carroll.
The Masonic Hotel was the scene of a “Strange Death” in 1912. Loyal Stawell Cherry (yes, that was his name) fell 6 feet from his bedroom window to a recess while feverish with influenza. His cries alerted staff who returned him to bed and sent for medical assistance but the Hobart-native died 30 minutes later.
One of the most memorable businesses to lease shop space in the rebuilt Masonic Hotel was Montague’s Corner. Owned by the exotically named Israel Montague, Montague’s Corner sold fancy goods and toys. Fancy goods, I’m reliably informed are “items (as novelties, accessories, or notions) that are primarily ornamental or designed to appeal to taste or fancy rather than essential” but I’m sure the major draw was the underground toy cave.
Bankrupted back in the 1880s when he owned his own fancy goods business in Strange’s Building, Israel then spent 22 years at the D.I.C. (Drapery and General Importing Company of New Zealand Ltd) before opening up again on his own in August 1906.
Israel fell foul of the law several times for breaching the Shop and Offices Act by staying open outside the prescribed hours but hey, fancy goods don’t sell themselves!
Israel died in 1936 and is buried in the Jewish cemetery at Linwood. His wife Ada, daughter of Simeon Isaacs, former President of the Jewish Congregation of Dunedin, had predeceased him by many years.
Montague’s Toy Cave and fancy goods was replaced by J R McKenzie’s. Modelled on America’s five and dime stores, John Robert Hugh McKenzie eventually owned over 70 stores throughout New Zealand and employed over 1800 staff. John McKenzie was also well known in horsey circles owning Roydon Lodge Stud on Yaldhurst Road. Throughout his lifetime McKenzie gave generously to charities and was actively involved in Rotary. he later set up the J R McKenzie Youth Education Fund and the J R McKenzie Trust, both of which still operate today.
The Masonic Hotel went through several modifications and licensees. Alfred William Wells and his wife Eva owned and ran the Masonic for many years. Alfred died in 1961 leaving Eva a generous annuity and the rest of his estate including the freehold of the Masonic in trust for up to 21 years. The Church of England bought the hotel, and on Saturday 12th of September 1981 the Masonic Hotel closed its doors for the last time and was shortly after demolished.
Construction started on a new seven storey building in early 1982. Completed in November 1982 it included a basement car park, offices and ground floor retail.
A variety of businesses populated this space over the years most recently an internet café and Mum’s 24 café and restaurant with its awesome replica/fake food displays.
And so, we end up back where we started, peering in at a café window.
It’s good to know that Tūranga’s café and Lego play area (not exactly a “toy cave” but close enough) are just an extension of a long history of businesses and institutions that have brought life and activity to this particular corner of the central city.
Tūranga opens at 1pm Friday 12 October. Check out your stunning new central library located at 60 Cathedral Square. There is extra fun happening over the opening weekend. On Friday and Saturday, The Breeze and More FM will be on site with special activities, giveaways, and music. Tūranga’s new Foundation Café, as well as food trucks, will be there.
Tūranga will be open from 1pm to 8pm on Friday 12 October, and from 10am to 5pm on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October. It’s going to be busy, so make sure to plan your visit ahead of time.
Here are some of the special events and exhibitions you can enjoy over the opening weekend:
There will be two walk-through options for visitors during the opening weekend. The full tour will take you through all five floors of Tūranga and will take up to 45 minutes to complete. The second, shorter tour will cover the ground and first floors only and will take around 15 minutes to complete. Both tours will include stairs, if you are in a wheelchair or have mobility issues, please advise staff when you arrive.
For the opening weekend, access to Tūranga will be from Cathedral Square only. Due to the expected high demand there will be a queue system in place with estimated queue times provided onsite. Please follow the directions of staff and signs.
Share the architectural design journey of your new central library – a 21st century centre of knowledge and exploration. A combined presentation from Carsten Auer (Architectus) and Morten Schmidt (Schmidt Hammer Lassen, Denmark) and the Christchurch City Libraries team. Free, no bookings required.
Celebrate the opening of Tūranga with author Gareth Ward. Gareth is winning awards and accolades for his debut novel The Traitor and the Thief, a rip-roaring, young-adult Steampunk adventure. He won the 2016 Storylines Tessa Duder Award,the 2018 Sir Julius Vogel Awards for Best Youth Novel and Best New Talent, a 2018 Storylines Notable Book Award and was a finalist this year in two categories at The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. A.k.a the Great Wardini, Gareth is also a magician, hypnotist, storyteller and bookseller. He has worked as a Royal Marine Commando, Police Officer, Evil Magician and Zombie. Free, no bookings required.This event is generously sponsored by Gale.
Creative writing is both inspiring and challenging. In this workshop with award-winning author Gareth Ward, you will learn how to develop character, voice, dialogue, plot, find your inner creative spark and more. Free, spaces limited, bookings required. This event is generously sponsored by Gale.
Our Painted Stories Friday 12 October 2018 to Thursday 17 January 2019, Southbase Gallery, Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2
The Our Painted Stories exhibition explores the presence and importance of local Canterbury settings in children’s books and celebrates the power of visual storytelling. Featuring original illustrations from books by Margaret Mahy and Gavin Bishop. Created in partnership with the Painted Stories Trust. Free, no bookings required.
Experience the wonderful artworks created by illustrators of much-loved New Zealand children’s books. A digital exhibition created in partnership with the Painted Stories Trust. Free, no bookings required.
Re:ACTIVATE Friday 12 October to Saturday 17 November
Hapori | Community, Level 1
An exhibition featuring entries from aspiring artists and designers under the age of 18, who responded to the opportunity to have their public artwork vision become a reality and part of the 2018 SCAPE Public Art Season.
MORE TŪRANGA EVENTS
There are tonnes more neat things happening at Tūranga; here is a sampling:
We love FESTA! This Labour weekend “vibrant biennial celebration of urban creativity and community” is one of Ōtautahi’s most cool and unique events. It’s food for the mind, eyes, and soul. That is particularly apt in 2018 as FESTA gets foody – FESTA 2018 is all about architecture, design – and food. Contribute to the Pledgeme FESTA2018 by midday today (Thursday 27 September) and you’ll help the traditional Saturday evening mega-event street party FEASTA! be the best yet.
There are more than 55 events planned for FESTA 2018, here are some of my picks:
The big FREE street party is on Saturday 20 October from 5 to 11pm. It’s a FESTA tradition to activate different parts of the city, and this time Mollett Street (which runs between Colombo Street and Durham Street South) is the place to be.
There will be the stunning installations we’ve come to love at the FESTA party. The 2018 works have been created by more than 130 design and architecture students from across Australia and New Zealand, as well as NZIA and NZILA Canterbury branch members, in collaboration with Creative Director Barnaby Bennett. There will be loads of whānau fun, music, performances, art, markets, and plenty of yummy delights. One of the excellent initiatives on the night is Kono for Kai: 100 hand woven harakeke kono (small food baskets) filled with native plant seedlings and seeds will be available to the public in exchange for a koha of kai (non-perishable goods only please). All koha received will be gifted to a community group for distribution to those in need in the community. Read all about it.
FESTA at Tūranga
Ka rawe! Your new central library Tūranga will be open when FESTA is on, and it is the venue for:
Saturday 20 October and Sunday 21 October 1 to 4pm; Monday 22 October (Labour Day), 10am to 1pm at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū
Pop in to this drop-in session and make a cityscape out of food! Use the colourful clay provided to sculpt a house or a building in the shape of fruit and vegetables and add it to the map. Suitable for children aged 7+. FREE
Sunday 21 October 6pm to 7.30pm. Meet at Victoria Square. FREE.
Take a trip back in time and explore our culinary past. Join Nik Mavromatis as he hosts a guided walking tour around central Christchurch, starting with Ōtautahi’s oldest market square. Nik then takes you to former hospitality sites and reminisces over the cafes, bars and restaurants that were previously part of the fabric of our city.
This is a mere taster, visit the FESTA 2018 to explore all the events on offer.
Entry in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Jane Rodgers.
Quail Island was proclaimed a quarantine station on 11 February 1875. The first leprosy patient was Willa Vallane, who was confined to the island in 1906. A second was admitted in 1908, with a third in 1909. By 1925 there were eight patients in residence (a ninth, George Philips, made an escape after having being certified as cured). In that year the eight patients were relocated from Quail Island to a new “leper colony” on Makogai Island in the Pacific.
Do you have any photographs of Quail Island? 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.
It was a chilly, damp, blustery and all-over a very Christchurch kind of day on Friday. Sheltered in the foyer of the Piano was a small and well-wrapped group of people, both long-term locals and people visiting just for the weekend, waiting for our 90 minute tour of the central city with Joseph Hullen (Ngāi Tūāhuriri/Ngāti Hinematua). I was really looking forward to it – I love finding out the stories behind a place, how human histories are represented in art and design. Joseph, and Ōtautahi – did not disappoint. The work that Matapopore has put into Ōtautahi Christchurch is incredible.
We started the tour in Victoria Square, near the site of Puari, a Waitaha Pā. The square was later known as Market Square after colonial settlement, and Joseph talked about the European design of the square and how it’s a bit… higgledy-piggledy (my word there, not his). Queen Victoria faces toward a building that isn’t named after her, faces away from a street that is named after her, and the closest figure to her is James Cook, a man she shares no whakapapa with. Their life spans never even crossed over.
In 1857, Ngāi Tahu rangatira, Matiaha Tiramōrehu, wrote a letter to Queen Victoria calling “That the law be made one, that the commandments be made one, that the nation be made one, that the white skin be made just as equal with the dark skin.” These words, and more from his letter, now adorn the tall windows of the Hereford Street entrance of Te Hononga, the Christchurch Civic building. A lovely link between Victoria Square and the Council building.
Our second stop was our very own Tūranga, the new Central Library. Joseph told us the story behind the naming of the building as he explained the artwork carved into the stone above our heads. Tūranga was the place that Ngāi Tahu ancestor Paikea landed in Aotearoa, after his journey from Hawaiki on the back of a whale. It is a fitting name for a library – a repository of knowledge – as Paikea bought with him all the wisdom and knowledge from his homeland. The art on the side of Tūranga represents migration stories, and the pathways that bring people from all over the world to our shores.
Another thing to note, when standing directly under Tūranga and looking up at the building, is how ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE it is! Phwoar!
Next we ventured down toward Te Hononga on Hereford Street to see Matiaha Tiramōrehu’s words on the windows, and explored the art and the rain gardens across the road at the Pita Te Hore Centre, where the old King Edward Barracks used to stand. Before the barracks, it was at the edge of the Puari Pā site. Joseph drew our attention to the banks of the river and the fact that the side we stood on was higher ground than the other – a very sensible place to build as it was much safer when the river flooded!
There’s a lot to see in the Pita Te Hore Centre, the landscaped courtyard in the centre of the office buildings is gorgeous. The stormwater is all treated on site in the rain gardens which are full of native plants. A moving sculpture, called Pupu Harakiki, commemorates Lisa Willems who died in the 2011 earthquake. Another sculpture, Kirihau – Resilience, speaks of the kaha – the strength and resilience of the tuna – the long finned eels – to adapt to their environment and it acknowledge the durability and adaptation of the people who live here as well.
The tiles under our feet are laid out in a poutama pattern – it looks like a series of steps, climbing toward excellence. The pattern also represents the pathway that the local soldiers took during World War One – out of the King Edward Barracks, across the river, toward the train station, over to the port at Lyttelton, and off to war.
We followed the same path as the soldiers across the river (although there is a bridge there now – the soldiers at the time trudged across the water), across the Bridge of Remembrance. In front of the bridge is one of the series of 13 Ngā Whāriki Manaaki – woven mats of welcome. This one, Maumahara, remembers the men and women fallen in battle. Images of poppies are woven into the pattern that represents the march to war, and the journey after death to the spiritual realm.
Next we stepped down toward the river where little tuna were poking their heads out from beneath the steps, drawn out by Joseph’s tempting fingers on the water. This whole area was a mahinga kai – a food gathering place – rich with tuna. This started a discussion among the group about sustainability – you get heaps more protein and calories from an acre of tuna than you could ever get from an acre of cows, and farming tuna is much better for the environment than farming cows.
Onward we walked to Hine-Pāka, the Bus Interchange, where the artwork on the ground in front of the entrance understandably represents navigation. Joseph drew our attention upwards too. Ngā whetū, constellations used for navigation, adorn the ceiling.
From the exchange we looped up Manchester Street, where the high density housing in the East Frame is going in – and the greenery around it in the Rauora Park. There’s also a basketball court and climbing frame – places to play are a vital part of any residential area.
Finally we heading back past Tūranga for a group photo, then back to the Piano where members of the group thanked Joseph with a waiata, a moving close to a really brilliant tour.
Using fascinating art images he regaled the audience with stories of artists’ forced migrations here fleeing from Nazism, communist countries or displacement after the Second World War. Making connections between displacement and creativity he follows the journey of photographers, architects, sculptors, writers, painters and other artists, the places these artists connected with each other, and and their influence on emerging New Zealand artists.
He also discussed the reception they received from general society and the inspiration they were to some local artists such as Colin McCahon. They brought with them modern styles of art unseen here which in turn changed the local art scene forever. We owe a lot to these artists.
The modern Ferry Road Bridge marks the site of where a ferry service once operated to serve those settlers who, after having arrived in Lyttelton and having crossed the Port Hills via the Bridle Path, would commence the final leg of their journey to Christchurch.
When standing on the bridge, let your gaze wander along the banks of the Heathcote River until it comes to rest on a house, partially obscured by trees, with an ad hoc blend of nineteenth and early twentieth century architecture. This is 285 Bridle Path Road, or as it was once known, Ferrymead House.
Although there is very little other than the house to show for it now, this was once the site of a busy cargo wharf and railway station.
In December 1851, James Townsend (d. 1866) leased a plot of one hundred and fifty acres next to the Heathcote River from Robert Godley for a period of three years. As part of this lease, Townsend was required to establish approaches to the ferry and provide a punt for the use of which he could charge tolls. In 1852 the ferry was moved further upstream to the site leased by Townsend.
Upon the site he leased, Townsend built a kitset house using the ‘best Van Dieman’s Land timber’. From an early photograph taken in December 1863 by Alfred Charles Barker we can deduce that it was similar in style to another ‘Hobart-town timber’ house, Dullatur, built in Opawa in 1852. Townsend’s house (as seen in the photograph below) faced north, with an east-west roof line and two dormers on the northern side of the first floor. Although he originally named its Greenlands, the property eventually came to be called Ferry Mead.
In July 1853 the mercantile firm of Joseph Longden and Henry Le Cren of Lyttelton advertised the house for let, describing the property as ‘one hundred acres of freehold land…situated on the Bank of the River Heathcote, where schooners can land goods at all times.’ It is possible that no one initially took up the offer, as by March 1854 Joseph Longden was still advertising the property. In October 1855 Charles Torlesse, who had married Townsend’s third daughter, Alicia, in 1851, was advertising the property for sale on behalf of Townsend.
By March 1856, John Mills, a former settler from Tasmania, was living at Ferrymead, where he sold roofing shingles which he imported from Tasmania. However, in September 1856 he sold up his stock and chattels and departed New Zealand. It is possible that the property remained in his possession, as by August 1857, Frederic Le Cren (a ferry master at the Heathcote) advertised the house for sale (or let). At this time it was described as a “desirable and convenient residence” containing six rooms and accompanied by a garden with trees, a stable, cart shed, fowl house, piggery and stock yards. Three months later, Frederic Le Cren married Cecilia, the eldest daughter of John Mills.
Initially the Heathcote had been used by cargo boats to bring goods further upriver to a site which later became known as Steam Wharf. In 1861 the Canterbury Provincial Council decided to build a railway line from Christchurch to the site of a proposed tunnel to Lyttelton. In 1863 this Christchurch-Heathcote railway line was extended to Ferrymead before officially opening on 28 November 1863.
Even though a former ferry operator, Thomas Hughes, had kept a house on the western side of the river known as the Heathcote Hotel, the prospect of a railway line and cargo wharf at Ferrymead offered the opportunity for a rival institution. In April 1863 Stephen “Yankee Doodle” Curtis opened a store at Ferrymead House. In that same month he applied for a license to sell liquor which was granted on the condition that he improved the house before the license renewal in the following year. By July he was referring to the building as Ferrymead Hotel.
The photograph taken in December by Alfred Charles Barker shows how the new settlement at Ferrymead looked. The approach to the now redundant ferry is situated in the foreground. Beyond stands a cluster of buildings, the centre of which is the Ferrymead Hotel. Next door, to the east, is the gaol and policeman’s house. Situated between the hotel and the river were the refreshment rooms and a goods shed. Just beyond this were the railway line and the cargo wharf.
In 1886 the property was purchased by the Bunting family who used the land surrounding the former hotel to grow tomatoes. During their ownership the building resumed its original role as a house.
The house underwent renovation during its ownership by Leonard and Annie Shearman (nee Bunting), fruit growers, who are recorded as residing in the Heathcote Valley by 1913. During this time, a porch was built over the main entrance which was enclosed at a later date. A box window was added to the west façade of the ground floor. Upstairs, the two north facing dormers were merged to form an unusual gable. These changes must have been made after 1906 as a painting by Florence Hammond dated from that year shows the building in its original form. A photograph dated from the 1920s, when the property was still owned by the Shearmans, shows that the structural changes made to the building were already in place.
Under the ownership of the Shearmans a museum was established behind the house which, during the 1930s and 1940s, catered to visits by school classes. The museum collection consisted of photographs and items associated with the history of Ferrymead House and its environs.
In 1971 the house and nursery were purchased by Philip Wright (1943-2015), who had an interest in horticulture. A collector of antique items, Philip Wright kept the museum and the nursery open to the public, as an advertisement from the Christchurch Star (April 15, 1976, p.21) shows. In 2008, a short documentary “The Lost Time Traveller” was filmed, which consists of interviews with Philip Wright as he takes the viewer on a tour of the property. The documentary provides some glimpses of the interior of the house, including the original staircase.
The house suffered damage during the Canterbury earthquakes and the chimney, which was already on a lean prior to the earthquakes, was later removed.
The former house at 274 Papanui Road, known as “Knowles Court” was built in 1910 for Christchurch solicitor, Thomas Gregory Russell and his wife Doris. It was designed in the Arts and Crafts architectural style by John James Collins of the firm Armson, Collins and Harman. The interior of the house was later converted into flats. Although a heritage listed building, having sustained damage during the Canterbury earthquakes, the house was demolished in 2011.
Do you have any photographs of 274 Papanui Road? 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.