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.

Christchurch Photo Hunt 2016 – The winners

Hidden histories – Our stories unearthed. This was the theme of this year’s heritage photo competition.

We received some outstanding entries – images of street scenes, family occasions, old buildings and homes, and Cantabrians living everyday life. Submitted photographs covered a range of eras from the 19th century all the way up to post-quake Christchurch. These are now available for all to enjoy as part of Kete Christchurch.

The Judges, local photographer Doc Ross and Tim Veling Senior Lecturer in Photography at the School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury, have chosen the winners in three categories ‘Your People – How we lived’, ‘Places – Your landmarks in time’ and an overall winner. They also selected several entries as Highly commended. The prize for overall winner is a Samsung tablet. The People and Places winners each receive a Kobo eReader.

Library staff from the Digital Content team also selected two Staff Pick winners.

Both judges, in selecting the winners, reflected on the poignancy that older photos of Christchurch now carry, as Doc Ross explains, “Looking through the photographs and knowing from first-hand experience that the city has to a great degree disappeared the photographs were a pleasing reminder that whilst a physical city may change the social city always remains. Looking at a series of photographs like those entered into the competition reminds us how important documenting society and our personal history is. As is the case now in Christchurch with much of the city gone it is only retrospectively that we realise this.”

Tim Veling also found much that was recognisable in the submitted photos – “…looking through the entries of the Photo Hunt competition I saw aspects of myself reflected back at me. The photographs submitted depicted people I didn’t know personally and places I might not have had the privilege of seeing with my own eyes, but they all looked familiar. I guess it was a moment of recognition that we are all shaped by the culture and community that surrounds us. In a broad sense, we are all family.”

Winners

Overall winner

Entry by Isabel Tweedy – Victoria Square by Night, 1959.

Victoria Square by Night, 1959
Victoria Square by Night, 1959 by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives 3.0 New Zealand License

Judge’s comments: “…photographically it was well seen and composed, an aesthetically pleasing picture to look at, but when seen now many years later it becomes a stark reminder of what we once had and perhaps also an indicator of where we can go. Seeing what is now vacant land as it once was, vibrant and life filled, that will eventually be a convention centre, should remind us how important the decisions we make now are. Obviously this was not in the mind of the photographer at the time but this is the ongoing often unrecognised power of the photograph.” Doc Ross

“…I couldn’t help but think of how much has changed in Christchurch since the quakes; what is still changing and the public backlash against a proposed redevelopment of the square gardens and convention centre.” Tim Veling

Places

Entry by Jill Hodgkinson, Holt family Home, 48 Horotane Valley.

Holt family home, 48 Horotane Valley
Holt family Home, 48 Horotane Valley. by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives 3.0 New Zealand License

Judges’ comment: “photographs of the Holt Family Home…had me dreaming of summers spent by the pool in my original home of Blenheim, sunbathing and family trips to the beach. As I write this now in the middle of November, rain is pelting down outside and not even a good cup of coffee could warm me up, but looking at these photographs I see some hope for a magical shift in the weather.” Tim Veling

People

Name withheld, Decorated bikes (1962-1963)

Decorated bikes
Decorated Bikes by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives 3.0 New Zealand License

Judges’ comment: “The photograph of children dressed up in costume on the way to a school play – lace curtains carefully tied up in the window behind them – made me think about my own childhood dressing up with my mother and our performing in school plays together.” Tim Veling

Highly Commended

Name withheld, On Sumner Beach.

On Sumner beach, 1940s
On Sumner Beach by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives 3.0 New Zealand License

Judges’ comment: “A young, newly wed soldier and wife standing on a beach had me thinking about the extraordinary sacrifices ordinary men and women made for the sake of our freedoms, and how these sacrifices continued to shape people’s lives, long after people returned home from war to loved ones and family – the physical gap between the couple is almost painful to look at in this regard.” Tim Veling

Entries by Isabel Tweedy, Looking south along Colombo Street, 1957, and Looking North along Colombo Street, 1957.

Looking south along Colombo Street, 1957
Looking south along Colombo Street, 1957 by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives 3.0 New Zealand License
Looking North along Colombo Street, 1957
Looking North along Colombo Street, 1957 by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives 3.0 New Zealand License

Judges’ comment: “The views looking South and North from the Christ Church Cathedral lookout resonated with me for several reasons. For one, each view depicts a Christchurch that I never knew (I moved here in 1991, age 11,) but also because it is a taken from a vantage point that no longer exists, but that rests in the consciousness of all who appreciate Christchurch’s architectural heritage and spiritual heart.”

Entry by Teresa Connor, Surf champs, New Brighton, 1970s.

Surf champs, New Brighton, 1970s
Surf champs, New Brighton, 1970s by Kete Site Admin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives 3.0 New Zealand License

Staff Picks

Staff comments: “There were so many great photographs to choose from this year and we all had our favourites – because the photograph evoked memories of places no longer here, or memories of childhood, or showed people at work and play – great photographs of people on trips, at the beach, at the speedway, sunbathers, good friends, lost homes, family visits, bands and parades.

Our team chose the following images as our Staff Picks because they capture a glimpse of industrial Christchurch in the post war era, and Christchurch was a manufacturing city.”

Name withheld, Beadweld Engineering, 20 Welles Street [1951]

Beadweld Engineering, 20 Welles Street
Beadweld Engineering, 20 Welles Street by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives 3.0 New Zealand License

Name withheld, Soldering a Vanguard [1949]

Soldering a Vanguard
Soldering a Vanguard by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives 3.0 New Zealand License

There are many excellent photos with associated stories –  explore the full range of this year’s entries.

A magnificent disaster, or a really good read?

Cover of Crinoline: Fashion's most magnificent disasterI’m a sucker for Victorian fashion, the sillier the better – and it’s hard to beat the Victorian crinoline for ingenuity, ridiculousness, and sheer presence. So I was pretty excited to get my hands on a shiny new copy of Crinoline: fashion’s most magnificent disaster.

Co-authored by Denis Pellerin and Dr Brian May (yes, that Brian May – no stranger to extreme fashion himself), Crinoline documents the rise and fall (metaphorically!) of this most capacious of undergarments through a rather unexpected record – stereoscopic images. It’s a sumptuous boxed set, containing a richly illustrated history and a stereoscopic viewer (designed by May, patent pending). This nifty little fold-up apparatus allows you to see the images in the book in 3D, as they should be viewed.

Victorian crinoline
Crinoline, circa 1869, United Kingdom, by W.S. & E.H. Thomson. Gift of Elizabeth Ridder, 2000. CC BY-NC-ND licence. Te Papa (GH007988)

The second work by the pair on this subject, the book is meticulously researched and very readable. Through 3D images and other documentary history, we get a real sense of the outrage, amusement, and titillation the undergarment caused in Victorian “social media” – cartoons, pamphlets, periodicals, and that hugely popular parlour entertainment, the stereoscopic viewer.

The crinoline was actually a huge (sorry!) improvement on previous womenswear fashions, replacing the layers of heavy petticoats needed to achieve fashionably bell-shaped skirts. Its lightness and ease of movement was a liberation (and also an excellent personal space generator – I can attest to this, having worn a couple to fancy dress events). However it also had its hazards: there were many cases of women being horrifically injured, or even killed, when their crinolines caught fire, became caught in trams, or suffered other wince-inducing vehicular mishaps.

When I first came across mention of Crinoline, I thought the combination of topics could be a little forced or gimmicky, but this really isn’t the case. Pellerin and May have actually hit upon a very real convergence of two tremendously popular coexisting technologies that, when looked at together, provide a vivid and altogether fascinating glimpse of Victorian fashion and attitudes.

More information

Jo,
Lyttelton Library

Photo Hunt October: Clarendon Hotel at the time of the Royal Visit, 1953

Outside the Clarendon Hotel at the time of the Royal Visit, 1953
Entry in the 2015 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Yvonne Dixon. Kete Christchurch PH15-044.jpg, CC-BY-NC-SA NZ 3.0

Photo taken John Abernethy with colour-slide film and printed from a Kodak transparency. The former Avon Cinema is on the left and the Clarendon Hotel, where the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh stayed, on the right on the corner of Worcester Street and Oxford Terrace.

Date: 1953.

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

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

Photo Hunt October: George LeBrun up ladder at McLean’s Mansion

George LeBrun up ladder at McLean's Mansion.
Entries in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo hunt, Kete Christchurch PH14-SaSeGeorge_LeBrun_up_ladder_at_McLean_Institute_building_Manchester_St_ChCh CC-BY-NC-SA NZ3.0

These two images from the 1920s were entered in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo hunt by Sandra Serra with this wonderful commentary –

“George LeBrun, plumber, working on the roof of the McLean’s Mansion. Note the ropes on either side of the ladders to keep it steady, the only visible sign of health and safety requirements in those days. No hard hat, no Hi Vis vest, no cones, no harness. I am told that when transporting these long ladders 2 apprentices would carry it, each on his own bicycle with the ladder on his shoulder along with tool bags. Must have been interesting negotiating corners!”

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

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

Photo Hunt October: Horse-drawn Bathing Huts at New Brighton

Bathing huts, horse drawn, New Brighton.
Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Kete Christchurch PH13-090 CC-BY-NCSA NZ 3.0

There is no date on this photo, but the bathing huts might have been a good place to shelter from the easterly wind as well as preserving ones modesty.

There are currently small huts on display at New Brighton but they’re not for bathing purposes – Tiny Huts at New Brighton.

View other images of New Brighton Beach on Kete Christchurch.

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

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

Photo Hunt October: The Union Methodist business Girls Sports Team, Lancaster Park

The Union Methodist business Girls Sports Team, Lancaster Park..
Entry in the Christchurch City Libraries 2008 Photo Hunt. This photo was Highly Commended in the 1940s Decade entries. Kete Christchurch HWC08-SU-127 CC-BY-NC-SA NZ 3.0

“Uniforms were made by Ray Milliners in New Regent Street. 15 teams in the competition.  Peggy is 2nd left in photo. Teams would perform a folk dance, drill, potato race, relay. Would practise in Latimer Square at lunch times. Won the event 5 years in a row.”

Date: 1949-1950.

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

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

Photo Hunt October: Picnic, 1965

Picnic.
Highly Commended Entry in the 2012 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt, PS-PH12-Eimg364.jpg CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ

“Dad Peter, Mum Norma and Paul, together with a family friend, share a picnic by the car in the vicinity of Christchurch, in 1965.”

The judges commented “I reckon every family has a version of this shot – the picnic by the car. This is a classic example of that most Kiwi of photos.”

“Jandals and biscuit tins. And isn’t a Christchurch picnic always more comfortable with the easterly–sheltering qualities of the family car to keep things cheerful? ”

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

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

Photo Hunt October: Arnold Books, 11 New Regent St, 2006

Arnold Books - 11 New Regent Street - 6 June 2006.
Kete Christchurch New_Regent_Street_-_6_June_2006__DSCN3794 CC-BY_NC_SA 3.0NZ

Arnold Books formerly occupied Shop No. 11 in New Regent St.

29 October is New Zealand Bookshop Day.

Find more bookshop photos in Kete Christchurch

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

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

Photo Hunt October: Off to the game

Off to the game..
Entry in the Christchurch City Libraries 2008 Photo Hunt. File Reference: HW08-ANZC-098 CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0NZ

“Three Christchurch Boys High lads at the Lancaster Park turnstiles on their way to watch a Wednesday afternoon rugby match in 1956.”

Lancaster Park opened on 15 October 1881 and was Christchurch’s  primary sports venue until it closed following the earthquakes in 2010/2011.

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

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