Sydenham Borough formed, 1877

We take it for granted now, but it’s really not that long that Christchurch has had a city council that covered the whole city – only since 1989.

Before that was not only the Christchurch City Council (established in 1862) but also the Waimairi, Paparua, Halswell, and Heathcote County Councils, the Riccarton Borough Council,  and the  Christchurch Drainage and Transport Boards. Phew!

( The Banks Peninsula District Council joined Christchurch City Council later on, in 2005)

The Sydenham municipal building [1903] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 7, IMG0020
And that doesn’t even take into account other councils that had existed prior to that – one of which was the Sydenham Borough Council whose first meeting was held this day in 1877. At the time the population of the borough was between 5-6,000, which grew to around 12,000 by the turn of the century.  According to  The Cyclopedia of New Zealand by 1902 Sydenham had 26 miles of streets, 95 gas lamps for street lighting with 2009 ratepayers. Businesses included butchers, bootmakers, bakers and builders!

But the Borough was not to be long-lived: in early 1903 polls were held in Linwood and St. Albans as well Sydenham to vote on joining Christchurch City Council to make a Greater Christchurch. In Sydenham 939 voted in favour of amalgamation, 421 against, giving a 518 majority vote  in favour.  The first elections for the Greater Christchurch City Council were held on 29 April 1903, but it seems that voters weren’t particularly excited by the whole exercise, as the turnout was less than 50%.

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The house of Edwin Trent (1839-1883) on his chicory farm at Templeton: Picturing Canterbury

The house of Edwin Trent (1839-1883) on his chicory farm at Templeton [ca. 1875]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 10, IMG0036.
The house of Edwin Trent (1839-1883) on his chicory farm at Templeton [ca. 1875]. Trent was the first person to grow and process chicory in Australasia. He was known for supervising his workers by watching them through a telescope from up in the tower. The house was demolished in 1968. His farm is now the site of Trent’s Estate Vineyard on Trents Road.

Do you have any photographs of former Canterbury farm houses or of the chicory industry? 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 Normal School, Cranmer Square, Christchurch: Picturing Canterbury

The Normal School, Cranmer Square, Christchurch [192-?0]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 17, IMG0010.
In Apr. 1873 the Canterbury Board of Education held a design competition for a projected normal school. The winner was S.C. Farr (1827-1918), a Christchurch architect, with a revised Gothic design. When the Normal School was completed in 1874 at a cost of £14,269, the Montreal Street wing measured 145 ft. and the Kilmore Street wing, 244 ft. The builder was Daniel Reese and William Brassington (b. 1840) the carver of the stone details.

In 1878 the Montreal Street wing was extended to provide a kindergarten on the ground floor and a training department on the first floor. The architect of the extension was Thomas Cane (1830-1905). In 1924-1925 the Teachers’ College students moved to a building on the corner of Montreal and Peterborough Streets. In 1954 the Normal School was transferred to Elmwood. The old school became the training centre for the Post-Primary Dept of Christchurch Teachers’ College. In 1970 they moved to Ilam and the building became subject to neglect, vandalism and decay. In Sept. 1981 it was sold to an investment company and between then and 1986 was converted to luxury apartments. The Board Room became a restaurant, Grimsby’s. The building was demolished following the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes.

Learn more about the architecture and history of the Normal School.

Do you have any photographs of the former Normal School building?  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.

Canterbury Flour Mills – Image of the week

C. W. Turner’s Canterbury Flour Mills, circa 1870.

C. W. Turner's Canterbury Flour Mills

Source: Illustrated guide to Christchurch and neighbourhood / M. Mosley.

Do you have photos of Christchurch? We love donations.

Also contact us if you have any further information on any of the images. Want to see more? You can browse our collection.