Christchurch to Lyttelton suburban Ec electric locomotive undergoing maintenance in the Addington Workshops: Picturing Canterbury

Christchurch to Lyttelton suburban Ec electric locomotive undergoing maintenance in the Addington Workshops. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0054.

Christchurch to Lyttelton suburban Ec electric locomotive undergoing maintenance in the Addington Workshops [ca. 1960].

Built between 1879-1880, the Addington railway workshops replaced an earlier railway workshop (the first in New Zealand) and continued to operate until December 1990. The New Zealand EC class locomotive was designed by English Electric in 1928 to serve the electrification of the line between Lyttelton and Christchurch. They were decommissioned in 1970.

Do you have any photographs of the Addington workshops or the EC class locomotive? 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.

Christchurch To Lyttelton Suburban Ec Electric Locomotive Undergoing Maintenance In The Addington Workshops

A glimpse of libraries past

As we move ever closer to the opening of Tūranga, it can be interesting to reflect and look back on how far libraries have come in the last few decades. Looking at our fabulous digital collections I hit a fascinating and poignant vein of images of Christchurch libraries past.

Particularly poignant is this image of staff in 1982 outside the new – now old – central library on the corner of Gloucester Street and Oxford Terrace. It feels very symbolic of change, and hope, and the unexpected – and was recreated in 2013.

IMG0091
Canterbury Public Library staff outside the new library building on the corner of Gloucester Street and Oxford Terrace [1982] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0091
Another image shows behind the scenes views of Canterbury Public Library from the 1950s. Lots of stamping and binding and indexing going on! I’m glad to say that our wonderful Bindery is still going strong, but I think we look a little different behind the scenes these days – still heaps of books, but much more technology.

IMG0090
A behind the scenes look at the day to day activities of the Canterbury Public Library 
[1954]
File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0090
Two more views show cataloguing and processing in the 1960s and 1950s. We still do a considerable amount of cataloguing and getting items shelf ready, but we certainly don’t have tables like that any more, nor do we wear the legendary smocks!

IMG0092
The cataloguing and processing department of the Canterbury Public Library moved to the area that was formerly the bindery, who had moved to the ground floor of the library house next door in Cambridge Terrace 
[1967]
File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0092

Cataloguing and processing staff of the Canterbury Public Library in their workroom in Cambridge Terrace, 1953
Cataloguing and processing staff of the Canterbury Public Library in their workroom in Cambridge Terrace 
[1953]
File Reference CCL PhotoCD 11, IMG0093
I love looking at photos like this. It’s great to look at where we have come from as we plan our move ahead into the future. However, as much as we have changed, some things do stay the same – piles of books and librarians working hard to connect you with wonderful content.

 

Love, loss, and Las Vegas glitter: All the beautiful girls

Fresh out of the box this week is All the Beautiful Girls. This great story is the second novel from Elizabeth J. Church, author of The Atomic Weight of Love.

Lily Dekker has had a difficult start to life. Wrenched from idyllic surroundings by a cataclysmic car crash, her family “dissolve(d) like sugar in iced tea”.

She is forced, at eight years old, to start life again with her aunt and uncle; one of whom is less than affectionate, the other overly so.

Dance, and an unexpected ally provide her means of escape to Las Vegas, where she reinvents herself; becoming gorgeous Ruby Wilde, a Las Vegas showgirl.

All the Beautiful Girls addresses difficult themes of loss, abuse, self-harm, love and friendship. Around these ideas, Church creates a contemplation of life, sprinkled with deep understanding and philosophy:

A soft rain began to fall, dotting the windshield with drops that ran until they randomly joined each other. Is that what people did too? Lily wondered. Fall and drift until they collided with one another, the way the Aviator had collided with her ten years ago? p.56.

Set in the 1960s, the story exists in a whimsical time when everyone smoked, colour TV was a novelty (in-room phones!), and we had TV dinners before we had microwaves.

A  star-studded sixties cast from Sammy Davis Jnr, Dylan to Dinah Shore, parade through the pages of Ruby’s colourful and often disastrous life. Filled with thrills, spills and glitter, Church uses the setting of Las Vegas to dig deeper into the politics of the time – racial equality, women’s rights, wealth and Vietnam to name a few.

Las Vegas is a fantasy world; a plastic bubble protected from world issues, trapped in time:

“For the first time, she realised that Vietnam cast no shadows beneath the lights of Vegas; there were no flag-shrouded caskets, no hollowed, haunted eyes of returning soldiers anywhere near the casinos. How efficiently Las Vegas seemed to be able to keep hippies away from the Strip, where they might hurt business. … She’d been living in la-la land for too long.”  p.174.

Will Ruby find her way back to the real world? Would it bore her if she did?

I loved Lily/Ruby’s wee tips on makeup and fashion, and really warmed to her as a character. Elizabeth J. Church writes beautifully (I also found myself dancing in the stacks).

If you have never been to Las Vegas, let this book will take you there. Or maybe these ones…

All the Beautiful Girls
by Elizabeth J. Church
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
ISBN: 9780008267940

Kennedy Assassinated! What were you doing on November 23 1963?

By the time The Christchurch Star was published on the afternoon of Saturday 23 November 1963, it would have been hard to find someone in Christchurch who had not already heard that the President of the United States, John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been assassinated earlier that morning (7:00am New Zealand time).

But when the initial shock had passed what was the rest of the day like for the people of Christchurch?

Just an ordinary day…

For George Hewitt, a retiree, and his wife, Frances, the day could not have started any worse. In the early hours of the morning, their house at 83 Waimairi Road had burned down. Perhaps they were already recovering at their son’s house in Athol Terrace when they heard the news of the assassination. If they were already looking for a new house then they could purchase a bungalow in Cashmere for £3430 or wait to attend the auction of 412 Cashel Street.

Michael James Russell, a 21 year old motor assembler, was no doubt feeling sorry for himself after being both fined and forced to pay for the repairs to the window of a van he damaged with his fist on Manchester Street at 1:40am that morning.

William Leslie Travers, the manager of the Christchurch branch of the Bank of New Zealand spent the day trying to smooth over an embarrassing mistake. The old bank building on the corner of Cathedral Square was ready to be demolished in preparation for the construction of a new bank. An auction was being held to sell off the building’s fittings. When people turned up they found that someone had accidentally left confidential paperwork detailing the accounts of the bank’s customers spilled all over the first floor.

View south along Colombo Street, 1963. View_south_along_Colombo_Street_2819460713_o. Kete Christchurch. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ.

For many of the city’s children, the events unfolding on the world stage may have seemed irrelevant in comparison to the excitement of the Hay’s annual Christmas parade which took place that morning on the banks of the Avon River.

With his engagement to Lynne Stanton of Riccarton publicly announced, Reginald Watts of Bryndwr was possibly planning a visit to Kennedy’s jewellery showroom at 244 High Street to look for a suitable set of wedding rings.

Meanwhile Francis Curtis, who had already spent seven weeks sleeping in the back of his own jewellery shop on Cashel Street in order to deter burglars while it underwent repairs, still had three more weeks left.

Undoubtedly some people were considering purchasing their first television set. If they were prepared to wait for ‘quality’ then they could order an Admiral television through the product’s New Zealand distributors, H.W. Clarke.

Worcester Street, 1963. Worcester_Street_2819458919_o. Kete Christchurch. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ.

Beverley Pollock and Paul Amfelt of Dunedin’s Globe Theatre Company would have spent the day waiting to read the Star’s review of their performance of the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s Rosmersholm, which they had given the night before at the Museum Theatre.

The young adults who had recently finished school would have been searching and applying for jobs. For young men there were a variety of apprenticeships available or perhaps a chance to start a career as an accountant with a firm such as Cyclone Industries, as a junior clerk at Andersons Limited or in insurance with the National Insurance Company of New Zealand Limited. Options for young women were limited to positions such as a clerk at Gordon and Gotch on Tuam Street, an office assistant at Woolworths in Sydenham or a sewing machinist at Arthur Ellis and Co. Meanwhile Randini, a comedy magician and fire eater, was looking for work performing at ‘all types of functions’.

As the day drew to a close, some were perhaps wondering whether they should make the effort to go and see Lawrence of Arabia given that it was in its final week at the Odeon Theatre on Tuam Street.

Conspiracies…

The Saturday 23 November 1963 issue of The Christchurch Star has often been linked to the conspiracy theories which surround the assassination. Some claim that the issue contained information which could not have been readily known by the staff working to meet the afternoon publication deadline. However these claims have been disproven by Bob Cotton, who was a reporter working for The Christchurch Star on that fateful day. Efficient global communication, combined with the fact that the The Christchurch Star already possessed material on the leading figures in the story in its archives meant that the staff had plenty of relevant information to work with.

Despite this, copies of the issue have often been requested by international researchers for use as source material. Containing 36 pages in total, news of the assassination is only covered on three pages. While many of these researchers may have dismissed the rest of the newspaper’s contents, the remaining pages give us a glimpse into what was for many people in Christchurch just an ordinary Saturday.

Find out more

Peacock at New Brighton Zoo: Picturing Canterbury

Peacock at New Brighton Zoo. Kete Christchurch. PH13-246. Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Peacock at New Brighton Zoo. January 1965. The North Brighton Zoo started as an aquarium, possibly as early as the 1880s and became a mini zoo, run by Bill Grey, in the late 1940s. It closed in 1996.

Date: 1965.

Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt.

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 photographs of the former New Brighton Zoo? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Cool stuff from the Selectors: from the 1960s to pink cakes and beyond…

9780473382797Caves : exploring New Zealand’s subterranean wilderness by Marcus Thomas

The idea of venturing into a cave leaves me with clammy hands, thankfully I can now enjoy the beauty and danger of caving without having to get my feet wet.

This book takes readers on a journey into New Zealand’s longest and deepest caves, through one of the world’s most dangerous cave dives, and prospecting for a totally new kind of cave on a South Island glacier

I’m just here for the dessert9781743368824 by Caroline Khoo

If you love pink and love food then you will love this book!  Any food that is not naturally pink — i.e. chocolate — is bound to be decorated with a pink flower, at the very least.

Australian Caroline Khoo, of Nectar and Stone, has a large Instagram following. She recently posted a photo after coming home to a birthday cake made for her by her husband (only his 2nd cake ever) using this cookbook.

Charm of goldfinches 9781785033889by Matt Sewell

A Lounge of Lizards, a Parliament of Owls, A Gaze of Raccoons…we may well have heard of these collective nouns before but Matt Sewell’s beautifully rendered drawings bring the animals and their nouns alive.  The author is an avid ornithologist and best-selling author so his words add a richness to the pictures. This is a book that would also work well with animal loving children.

Summer of Love: Art, Fashion and Rock and Roll 9780520294820by Jill D’Alessandro

The book that chronicles an exhibition at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco that in turn chronicles the 1960s counterculture. Summer of Love covers all aspects of this heady time in a beautifully exuberant book, full of colour, fashion, politics, music and psychedelia. Not just for children of the 60s, this will appeal to a wide range of ages and interests.

The Photo Ark: One man’s quest to document the world’s animals9781426217777 by Joel Sartore

Joel Sartore had worked for 25 years as a photographer for National Geographic, leaving home for months at a time and becoming increasingly aware of the plight of species around the world. When his wife became ill he knew he had to stay closer to home, yet his desire to photograph and somehow make a difference to these endangered animals compelled him to seek out animals in captivity, starting at his local zoo.

His goal is to document every one of the world’s 12,000 plus captive species.  All the animals have been photographed in front of a black or white background.  The images are beautiful, uncluttered and affecting. The story behind the project and the people involved is fascinating and I look forward to hearing more from this author.

Cold Cures – relax and listen to an eAudiobook

Right at the end of the School Holidays I succumbed to ‘The bug’.

Temperature, shivers, face-ache, sneezing, splutterings, sore throat, several hot-water bottles, over the counter meds and copious amounts of tea/coffee/honey, lemon and ginger combos later, I am now dealing with a more head cold-like scenario.  What really upset me is my diligence in having the Flu Jab appears to have been for nowt!!  Swiftly moving on …

Streaming eyes and almost constant nose-blowing meant that the only source of entertainment I could tolerate was talking-books … Plug in and LISTEN.  So I did.

First offering from OverDrive audiobooks was Round the Horne Movie Spoofs.  In my weakened state I managed several wry smiles – OK 1960s British ‘camp’ humour admittedly, but quite clever for all that although one offering was sufficient as smiling wasn’t helping the face & teeth-ache symptoms!

Second offering was The Captive Queen the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine – wife of two kings – King Louis VII of France and King Henry II of England, and mother of such notables as Richard the Lionheart and King John (of ‘Magna Carta’ fame).  I just thanked my lucky stars that I didn’t live in huge, draughty castles and gratefully placed my hot water bottles in my ‘nest of rest’ set-up for the requisite warmth and comfort.

Third offering I had picked up from the library prior to being ‘felled’ – I persevered, but really CDs don’t work in a sick-room environment.  The constant getting up to change the discs is tiring.  It takes forever to rearrange yourself back to that exact comfortable position you had previously discovered.  But then, adding insult to injury, just as you start to feel relaxed and drowsy, the sonorous tones of the narrator announce that ‘this ends Disc xx’.  Do this manoeuvre fifteen times and you are ready to hurl said CD Player through the bedroom window.  Common sense prevailed as this would have left me both freezing cold and wet as rain lashed down the east coast of the South Island.  Sufficed to say I can remember little of the plot or characters.

CoverFinal offering is a BBC Radio dramatization of an Ellis Peters ‘Cadfael’ mystery and will keep me going until I feel ready to open the physical pages of a book.

My listening choices will, in all probability, not be yours, BUT the variety that is available is a fantastic resource to have with just a library card and a Pin/Password.

I must now remember to promote OverDrive and BorrowBox for eAudiobooks as well as Overdrive, Askews, Wheelers and Playaways for eBooks to patrons who are feeling ‘under the weather’.

Miss Treadway & the Field of Stars

In the hunt for Iolanthe Green, Anna Treadway takes you through a simpler time in many ways, with a notable absence of all the technology and urgency that dominates our existence today. This is what I found quite charming about the book – stepping into a time where you seemed to survive on tea and toast, your entire wardrobe could fit in one bag, you walked to get from A to B and you felt wicked if you stayed on the bus beyond the stop that you had paid up to.

I definitely had preconceptions before reading Miss Treadway and the Field of Stars – as we all do when we read the blurb on a book. I was expecting a really gripping mystery that would take me behind the scenes of the theatre district – so that I could literally peek behind the curtain of a world that I’ve never seen. This didn’t quite transpire, but I wasn’t disappointed because instead I was taken on a tour of 1960s Soho. But even this was secondary to witnessing some of the less pleasant aspects of life and relationships in this time.

Miranda Emmerson does a great job of highlighting the multitude of social issues that reigned during the mid 1960s. The story winds its way through racism, social hierarchy, police brutality, unplanned pregnancies – a time with some very big restrictions on personal freedom as abortions and gay relationships would both still be illegal for a couple of years. My overactive sense of fairness left me continuing to hope that the characters Anna and Aloysius would stand up and rebel against their treatment and segregation – and in small ways they did – but ultimately they were somewhat resigned to their place in the world. Ahh the frustration!!

Now this kind of book isn’t normally my cup of tea as I prefer to escape from the ugliness of our world when I read – or at least know the characters will have a win somewhere in the mix; but I still found it quietly entertaining and feeling very grateful for the rights that I was born in to!

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Miss Treadway and the field of stars
by Miranda Emmerson
Published by HarperCollins New Zealand
ISBN: 9780008170578

Photo Hunt October: Marshall Family Swimming, 1960s

Marshall Family Swimming.
Entry in the Christchurch City Libraries 2010 Photo Hunt. Kete Christchurch HW10-S-Sp-076 CC-BY-NC-ND NZ 3.0

“Coe’s Ford. Swimming in the river-Sally on Dad’s (Bruce) back. Lynne on the Lilo. Family picnic day.”

Date: Circa 1960.

This image is available as a free postcard as part of our Christchurch Photo Hunt promotion.

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.