This week in Christchurch history (23 to 29 March)

Cover of The Road to the West Coast23 March 1866
Road to the West Coast officially opens.

23 March 1977
Durham Street overbridge opens.

24 March 1887
First City Council offices open. This building at the corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Street was designed by S. Hurst Seager. It was the first public building in Christchurch to break with the prevailing tradition of Gothic, Classic or Venetian style.

The Christchurch City Council Chambers on the north-west corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Street [ca. 1890]
The Christchurch City Council Chambers on the north-west corner of Oxford Terrace and Worcester Street [ca. 1890], CCL PhotoCD 3, IMG0034
25 March 1879
New Zealand’s first telephones in operation in City.

25 March 1930
New Zealand’s first country library service begins as Canterbury adult rural education scheme under the auspices of the W.E.A.

27 March 1848
Canterbury Association decides to buy land from the New Zealand Company.

27 March 1856
First wool cargo shipped to London from Lyttelton (via Auckland).

28 March 1981
New South Brighton bridge opens.

More March events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

The New Zealand Jazz & Blues Festival 2015

Book cover of Jazz: A History of America's MusicThe Cavell Leitch New Zealand Jazz & Blues Festival is coming to Christchurch from 7 to 12 April 2015. The festival has been providing Christchurch with great international and local performers since 1999. This year there are a variety of ways to get some jazz in your life, from lunchtime concerts in The Gym at the Arts Centre, to music matched with food and wine at The George with the Jazz Dine series.

James Morrison’s A to Z of Jazz looks to be one of the highlights of the festival. Accompanied by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne’s James Morrison presents a musical journey through the history of jazz showcasing his talents as a multi-instrumentalist. Many different styles and eras of jazz will be represented with music from jazz legends like Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis. If you want to get a crash course in jazz or just want to experience some jazz classics played live, check it out on Saturday 11 April.

Cover of DukeYou can get a taste of James Morrison’s A to Z of Jazz through our Freegal eResource. To learn more about James Morrison, have a read of his biography from our Oxford Music Online eResource.

Another highlight of the festival is England’s Hank Marvin playing as part of the Hank Marvin Gypsy Jazz quartet. He is a musical icon that has transcended genres, from his innovative slap-back guitar echo and early rock ‘n roll with The Shadows through to solo albums and folk-jazz. When playing music with the Hank Marvin Gypsy Jazz he is accompanied by accordion, rhythm guitar and bass players which is an original folk-jazz sound. Have a listen live on Friday 10 April.

Have a look at items related to Hank Marvin in our library catalogue. You can also find him in our Freegal eResource. To find out more about Hank Marvin, have a read of his biography from our Oxford Music Online eResource.

Book cover of Bloody MaryOther performers this year include:

Listen online to some of our Jazz & Blues eResources:

  • Jazz Music Library includes works licensed from legendary record labels, including Audiophile, Concord Jazz, Jazzology, Milestone, Nessa Records, Original Jazz Classics, Pablo, and Prestige. Also included are Marian McPartland’s Peabody Award winning Piano Jazz Radio Broadcasts and never before released performances from the Monterey Jazz Festival and great jazz venues. Listen online to 1000s of great jazz tracks.
  • American Song provides online access to over 100,000 tracks from  every genre and music period of American history.
  • Freegal lets you download and keep free tracks from their huge database which includes Jazz, Big Band and Blues.

Read some of our previous jazz and blues blog posts, including posts about previous New Zealand Jazz & Blues Festivals.

This week in Christchurch history (16 to 22 March)

View this photo of Dr Barker
Dr Barker gave up practising medicine after the death of his wife, Emma, in 1858 and photography became his career. With the wet-plate process, developing had to be carried out almost immediately and so he designed this four-wheeled buggy which incorporated a mobile dark-room.  CCL Photo CD 6, IMG0023

17 March 1857
First vehicle crosses the Port Hills – a spring cart pulled by bullocks negotiates the Bridle Path.

17 March 1864
Arthur’s Pass crossed by Arthur (later Sir Arthur) Dudley Dobson. He became the Christchurch City Surveyor in 1901.

18 March 1850
Jollie completes survey and plan of Christchurch.

20 March 1873
Death of pioneer doctor and photographer Dr A.C. Barker.

21 March 1848
Canterbury Association formed in London.

21 March 1864
New Zealand’s first hansom cab arrives in City.

22 March 1894
First “local option” poll fails to achieve liquor prohibition in Christchurch.

22 March 1975
3000 joggers take part in the first City-to-Surf fun run.

More March events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

 

The Reserves of New Brighton

Camera flashes at the annual gala at Wainoni Park on January 24. [24 Jan. 1914] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 18, IMG0019
Camera flashes at the annual gala at Wainoni Park on January 24. [24 Jan. 1914] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 18, IMG0019
Richard Greenaway is an Information Librarian with an interest in the history of East Christchurch. He has an eye for a good story and the skill and patience to check and cross check all kinds of references. He has compiled a wonderful array of New Brighton stories. Here he explores the reserves early residents of New Brighton could enjoy. These reserves were gazetted in the time of the Canterbury Provincial Council, 1853-76.

No. 224 – Spit Reserve

This is the reserve on the New Brighton side at the mouth of the Estuary. It was set aside for the purposes of a lighthouse which was never built.

Many ships were wrecked on the Sumner Bar. For, example, the Irish lawyer and later judge, Henry Barnes Gresson (1815-1901), lost his substantial legal library which he had brought from the Old Country.

No. 1616 – Thomson Park

This is the land on the eastern side of Rawhiti Domain. In 1896 the New Brighton people petitioned for the establishment of a borough council so that they could take over this wilderness. The borough council was established in 1897.

People wanted to sell it off for housing. An act went through Parliament during World War I to try to bring this about. In his 29 April 1922 Star reminiscences, ‘Old New Brighton’, George Thomas Hawker described it as ‘New Brighton’s menace’.

Part of the land was made into a children’s playground during the Depression. This work was carried out under the leadership of Thomas Edward Thomson (1877-1942) and the place was named ‘Thomson’s Park’. In the Christchurch City Council’s Reserves Department reports, there is a scathing indictment of the work of these amateurs.

The first golf match held at Rawhiti Domain [1952] File Reference CCL Photo Collection 22, Img02332
The first golf match held at Rawhiti Domain [1952] File Reference CCL Photo Collection 22, Img02332

No. 1579 – South Brighton Domain, Pleasant Point and Rawhiti Domain

This includes the South Brighton Domain, Pleasant Point and the western side of Rawhiti Domain. It also included land in North New Brighton where night soil and food waste was dumped. This last piece of land was eventually sold for housing and the money used so that the city council might be able to purchase the New Brighton Trotting Club land which became Queen Elizabeth II Park.

‘Harold Logan’ was a famous pacer. He won the New Zealand Trotting Cup in the 1930s. He was owned by Ernest Hinds but raced in the colours of Hinds’ step-daughter, Effie Hinds. The horse was kept in the South Brighton Domain and one small boy shouted excitedly to his parents: “Look, Harold Logan’s eating our grass”. Christchurch City Libraries holds, in its archives, the Harold Logan papers, newspaper articles and photographs relating to the famed horse and its career.

The Nautilus on the Avon-Heathcote Estuary in the 1920s [ca. 1920] File Reference CCL Photo Collection 22, Img00080
The Nautilus on the Avon-Heathcote Estuary in the 1920s [ca. 1920] File Reference CCL Photo Collection 22, Img00080
Pleasant Point developed as a picnic spot in the 1920s when New Brighton baker, Harry Nelson Hawker (1868-1947),  plied his big launch, Nautilus, for hire on the Avon river from the Seaview Road bridge to Pleasant Point. The launch was built in Auckland and has been retired there.

In the Depression, men were employed by the Christchurch City Council and New Brighton Borough Council (and paid by the Government) so that much of the domain could become a golf course. In October 1934, the local authorities went as a deputation to the Ministry of Unemployment in Wellington. The local bodies wanted the unemployed to be excused from going to a ‘slave camp’ on the Ashley River.

On 15 October, the Mayor reported on the insensitive attitude of Bromley, deputy chairman of the board, and the free hand allowed him by his political master, the Right Hon. J. G. Coates …. The civil servant spoke of the ‘golden golf course’, because of the huge amount of public money which had been spent creating the course.

The library has some great photographs of New Brighton capturing its life as one of New Zealand’s premier seaside suburbs, full of life and character. New Brighton residents have been good at recording their local history and the place has inspired novels and biographies. Read more blog posts about New Brighton history, including more from Richard.

Sources

House and garden: Picturing Canterbury

House and garden, 1950s. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ. Kete Christchurch.

Art, art on the street

One of my favourite Christchurch things is mad good street art. The Spectrum Street Art Festival is on now, and that means a new bunch of big walls to spot in the city. There is also a T-shirt exhibition at Canterbury Museum and the Spectrum YMCA exhibition which I reckon is even better than last year.

See our photos.

It’s hard to pick favourites, but here’s a few I am particularly enamoured of:
Art by Dcypher, Welles Street

Art by Dcypher, Welles Street. Flickr 2015-02-13-IMG_5169
Bold, typographical, and with a nod to our buildings. This piece by ex-local DCypher looks particularly striking against a blue, blue Christchurch sky. And is lent a certain melancholy by a gloomy backdrop.

Art by Sofles, 163 St Asaph Street
Art by Sofles, 163 St Asaph Street. Flickr 2015-03-02-IMG_5706
This bright, bold, and curvy piece by Sofles is an eyecatcher in a pretty drab spot.

Art by DTR Crew - Spectrum Street Art Festival - YMCA
Art by DTR Crew – Spectrum Street Art Festival – YMCA. Flickr 2015-02-05-IMG_6049
This is a whole room of magic done by Christchurch’s own DTR crew.

Solfes Quicksilver - Art by Sofles - Spectrum Street Art Festival - YMCA
Sofles Quicksilver – Art by Sofles – Spectrum Street Art Festival – YMCA. Flickr 2015-02-05-IMG_6035
This installation has great music, and light effects, all playing against the art. I could spend a while in here, it is truly beautiful.

What’s your fave? Join the conversation.

It’s Booktacular – Big Bargain Book Sale – Friday 20 and Saturday 21 March 2015

The Library book sale is a Christchurch institution. And a bit of a booklovers’ frenzy! One of my favourite things is seeing people with all sorts of carrying devices filled to the gunnels with books books BOOKS. It is booktacular.

KidsLibrary book sale 2013Library book sale 2012

The 2015 Big Bargain Book Sale is on soon at the Pioneer Recreation & Sport Centre, 75 Lyttelton Street, Spreydon.

  • Friday 20 March 2015 9am – 7pm

  • Saturday 21 March 2015 9am – 4pm

I am not immune to the charms of this annual sale. Though I think I narrowed my selection down after this picture. Because I didn’t have a suitcase on wheels like some Christchurchians did.

2010 Library book sale

Feminism is a feminist issue

WORD Christchurch and UC College of Arts joined forces to present How To Be a Feminist, a live broadcast from the Sydney Opera House’s All About Women festival on International Women’s Day, Sunday 8 March.

The panel includes Germaine Greer, Roxane Gay, Anita Sarkeesian, Tara Moss, Clementine Ford and Celeste Liddle. The broadcast was followed by a Christchurch panel.

You can watch the Sydney panel discussion here:

Cover of The Whole Woman Cover of Bad Feminist Cover of The fictional woman

The Ōtautahi panel

The panel was ably chaired by Rosemary Du Plessis.
How to be a feminist panel

Dr Gina Colvin identified as a “womanist” and spoke about Mormonism, and women as the “first voice on the marae”.

Sionainn Byrnes, president of UC FemSoc spoke of the university as a “site of struggle”. Women are disproportionately represented in departments that are under attack, and there is a general “erosion of local democracy”. She mentioned a sanction of uni clubs meaning they can’t say anything against other clubs.

Kait Nelson is a trans-health advocate and she said “Feminism has always suffered from matters of privilige”. As a trans feminist, she said “We all share the same misogyny; we’re in the same battle”. Kait talked about the trans community wondering whether it should stay within the LBGT community, as maybe there are more commonalities with feminism. She observed the lack of trans women on the Sydney panel and made the valid point “Nothing about us without us”.

Beck Eleven, journalist at The Press, called herself a mini-feminist with training wings. Her eyes were opened last year after working on a feature Modern feminism – do women have equality? “The minute you start paying attention, you see systematic oppressions.” Domestic violence is 84% men against women, but there are always the people who say “But men are hit too”.

Dr Erin Harrington’s area of expertise is popular culture. She raised the point that every time we spend money on something, we are giving it a tick of approval – something to consider when there are sexist books and movies. Do we want to endorse them? We could try challenging ourself in our viewing and watching. We also need to “be careful about our own internalised misogyny”.

There were a variety of the comments from the floor, and the kind of free and frank talk that fits what Gina Colvin called these “delicious” and “half kitchen-table” conversations.

What I learned

“Choice feminism” is not good, as it emphasises only a narrow, hyper-individualist empowerment. Feminism’s strength in its collective nature – it needs to include young and old, women of colour, trans women. As Roxane Gay said “We have to take all women with us when we smash the system”.

Tweets from the Christchurch event

Photos from How to be a feminist

Recent reading in the New Zealand media

The bridges of New Brighton

The Spit, New Brighton. [3 Dec. 1954] File Reference CCL Photo Collection 22, Img02328
The Spit, New Brighton. [3 Dec. 1954] File Reference CCL Photo Collection 22, Img02328
Richard Greenaway is an Information Librarian with an interest in the history of East Christchurch. He has an eye for a good story and the skill and patience to check and cross check all kinds of references. He has compiled a wonderful array of New Brighton stories. Here he explores the bridges early residents of Christchurch used to travel to New Brighton.

Dallington bridge

Built in 1883 by Henry Jekyll (1844-1913) and Henry Philip Hill (1845-1923). They owned Rural Section 183, at Dallington, to the north of the Avon River. The river was the western boundary of the property and the northern boundary was McBratneys Road. Jekyll and Hill planned to put a tramline through to New Brighton. Nothing came of the venture but the original Dallington bridge.

Bower bridge

Bower bridge, Wainoni Road, was opened by Sir John Cracroft Wilson in 1876. The present Bower bridge opened in 1942. In the 1920s and ‘30s the Inter-City bus service pioneered transport on Wainoni Road, across the Bower bridge and to North New Brighton and New Brighton. This was a private service, very popular, cheap and run on the smell of an oily rag. It was managed and owned by Walter Bussell (1887-1967) who had his headquarters on Bowhill Road. The bus company had been in competition with the Christchurch Tramway Board’s trams on the Pages Road route and there was what was called the ‘bus war’.  Trams and buses would try to beat each other to pick up the next passenger.

An electric tram crosses the New Brighton bridge with a barge moored underneath  [ca. 1910] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 2, IMG0005
An electric tram crosses the New Brighton bridge with a barge moored underneath [ca. 1910] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 2, IMG0005

Central Brighton bridge, Seaview Road

A route was put through by New Brighton Tramway Company. Opened in 1887 horse trams ran from Christchurch to New Brighton between 1887 and 1905, after which the Christchurch Tramway Board took over and electrified the line. The company’s line was later opened as a public road, Pages Road, named after tramway company director, Joshua Page (1826-1900).

One of the people in charge of the New Brighton Tramway Company was George McIntyre (1841-1934), a surveyor by occupation. He was Mayor of New Brighton when King Edward’s Well (outside the New Brighton Library) was unveiled in 1902.

The original Seaview Road bridge was a flat bridge. It was replaced at the beginning of 1930s by the present bridge. This was designed by H. F. Toogood, father of Selwyn Toogood.  You can see photos of the bridges in George W. Walsh’s New Brighton, a regional history, 1852-1970.

The modern Seaview Road bridge is a high bridge. The hump in the bridge is there because Richard Bedward Owen (1873-1948), tailor and conservationist, known as ‘River Bank Owen’, argued that boats could come ‘sailing with the tide’ to Christchurch. They never have. Read all about it in A bridge with some history.

Seaview Road, New Brighton [ca. 1920] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 12, IMG0006
Seaview Road, New Brighton [ca. 1920] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 12, IMG0006

South Brighton bridge, Bridge Street

Opened in 1927 it was the result of the work of New Brighton Borough councillor, Herbert Arundel Glasson (1866-1931). He lived in South Brighton and persuaded fellow residents that they should be a ‘special rating area’ and pay extra rates to the New Brighton Borough Council providing that a South Brighton bridge was built. A small wooden bridge was built. This meant that South Brighton residents could cross the river and get to town, saving the long journey up to Central Brighton. A new bridge was opened in 1981.

Estuary bridge

The Estuary Bridge has never been built. It has been proposed by various people over the years. See The Bridge that never was.

The library has some great photographs of New Brighton capturing its life as one of New Zealand’s premier seaside suburbs, full of life and character. New Brighton residents have been good at recording their local history and the place has inspired novels and biographies. Read more blog posts about New Brighton history, including more from Richard.

Sources

Have your say on Victoria Square

It is time for you to have your say on the future of Victoria Square.

Share your views with the Christchurch Central Development Unit. Feedback closes 24 April 2015.

Victoria Square, Christchurch, 1910 : a panorama looking towards the north-east. [1910]

Victoria Square, Christchurch, 1910 : a panorama looking towards the north-east [1910] CCL PhotoCD 16, IMG0005

We have some resources that might help you think about Victoria Square and its long history.

Pictures of Victoria Square

Search our catalogue for photos of Victoria Square and Market Square, and view photos of Victoria Square on our Flickr site. Find more images on DigitalNZ, including this set Market Square / Victoria Square.