Before Tūranga – The Lyttelton Times

The third in a series of posts that looks at the history of the central Christchurch sites on which your new library, Tūranga, has been built.

Next to Cathedral Chambers/Hobbs’ Corner was the home of the Lyttelton Times and the Star.

The Lyttelton Times originally set up in Lyttelton with the printing press that arrived on the Charlotte Jane, one of the ‘first four ships’. They published their first paper 26 days after the printing press arrived in 1851 and the run continued till 1935. For a taste of the Times, we have digitised the first issue, 11 January 1851, for you to read online. Marvel at the adds for bullocks and unbroken fillies for sale and wonder at the plea by John Robert Godley, on behalf of the Canterbury Association, who were in desperate need of pickaxes and shovels.

While the headquarters started out in Lyttelton, the newspaper had an agency in Christchurch that sat around about the middle of Tūranga now. Here it is in 1859, facing Gloucester Street.

The Lyttelton Times agency showing the Gloucester Street frontage [ca. 1859]
The Lyttelton Times agency showing the Gloucester Street frontage [1859]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 8, IMG0041
The Lyttelton Times moved its headquarters to Christchurch in 1863, after their two-storey wooden building was finished in 1862. Here’s what it looked like, if you were peering through the trees on the Square in 1863:

The Lyttelton Times office showing the frontage to Cathedral Square. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 8, IMG0040

Come out from the trees and this is what it looked like, still facing the square:

Image: A black and white photos of the Lyttelton Times' premises [ca. 1885]
The Lyttelton Times’ old premises [ca. 1885]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 2, IMG0063
In the photo above, taken in 1885, you can see the flagstaff that was used to signal to the people of Christchurch when ships arrived in the port over the hills. If you knew the code, you could be in the Square and know that a brig was arriving from the North by the blue flag that would be waving at the head of the mast. Very handy if you knew which ship brought in the mail! It was an important spot in Christchurch for staying connected with the outside world.

On the right side of the photo is Warner’s hotel (where the Novotel is now) whose guests would complain about the noise of the printing press lasting long into the night (this wing of Warner’s was eventually demolished and replaced with a theatre (The Liberty, later The Savoy), the building intended to act as a buffer for sound and vibration. In later years the situation would be reversed. Following the demolition of the theatre, vacant space between the buildings became a beer garden for Warner’s hotel and bar, while the Times building by then had been converted to backpackers’ accommodation. Band performances and music in the beer garden were required to stop at a reasonable hour in order not to disturb the sleep of the guests in rooms next door. Later still, this wing of the building would be reinstated, and is now the only part of Warner’s that remains.

On the left in the above image is Cathedral Chambers. The taller building behind the Lyttelton Times was still part of the Lyttelton Times premises, which was added in 1884. While it looks fairly drab from behind, it’s pretty spectacular facing Gloucester Street. Here’s the handsome frontage (134-140 Gloucester St) in 1884:

Image: Black and white photo of the Lyttelton Times office showing the Gloucester Street frontage [1884]
The Lyttelton Times office showing the Gloucester Street frontage. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 8, IMG0039
Somewhat confusingly the building was home to 3 newspapers (the titles of which can be seen engraved into the front of the building): The Lyttelton Times, The Canterbury Times (a weekly started in 1865), and The Star (an evening paper started in 1868). All 3 papers were produced by the Lyttelton Times Company, and for different audiences and purposes.

You could also head down to the Lyttelton Times building to get things printed, just like you can do in Tūranga. We too can boast a large assortment of plain and fancy types, just like Ward and Reeves, the printers who worked from Lyttelton Times Office building.

Image: An advertisement from 1871 for War and Reeves printing, showing many different fonts
Star, Issue 883, 27 March 1871

Well the Lyttelton Times, they kept a-changing, and by 1903 had grown into the majestic beast below, with an addition designed by the Luttrell Brothers on the Cathedral Square side becoming the first building in New Zealand to adopt the Chicago skyscraper style. It was also known as ‘gingerbread style’ or even ‘streaky bacon style’. You can see why looking at the colour pictures of it – it does have a kind of foody look to it. With Oamaru stone facings on a Post Chalmers bluestone base, it was the tallest building on the Square at the time it was built. Here’s the new building decorating its corner of the square in 1904, a black and white photograph from our collection and a pen and ink watercolour by Raymond Morris:

The Lyttelton Times’ new premises, 1903. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 2, IMG0062
Raymond Morris’s painting, ‘Lyttelton Times Building (1906) Identifier: qsr-object:214465, Creative Commons BY-NC 3.0.

The Lyttelton Times changed its name to the Christchurch Times in 1929, then stopped publishing in 1935 because the competition was too great. When it ended, it was the oldest newspaper in the country. The building was still used for newspapers though – New Zealand Newspapers Ltd, formerly the Lyttelton Times Company, kept publishing the evening Star-Sun, which had started as the Star in 1868. In 1958 the Star-Sun moved out of this building to a new location in Kilmore Street, and changed its name to the Christchurch Star.

Once all the newspapers had departed, the building was occupied by several different commercial tenants over the years, including The Record Joynt and the fondly remembered Atlantis Market, described by journalist Russell Brown as “a long-gone hippie emporium”. Before the 2011 earthquake, there was a Tandoori Palace restaurant on the ground floor and Base Backpackers above. On the Gloucester Street side, the ground floor was home to a number of restaurants including Samurai Bowl, O-cha Thai, and Le Pot Au Feu. By August that year the building would be demolished.

Lyttelton Times Building in 2008 by Lisa T, with the new portion of Warners Hotel under construction at right, via Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 2.0

The connection of the site to Christchurch’s historical newspapers continues in Tūranga with our collection of back copies of local newspapers on microfilm, including the Lyttelton Times and the Star. Come and visit them on Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2.

Next week: The Coachman Inn

Further reading

Before Tūranga – Hobbs’ Corner

The second in a series of posts that looks at the history of the central Christchurch sites on which your new library, Tūranga, has been built.

Exterior, Tūranga
The southwest corner of Tūranga and Cathedral Square entrance. 18 September 2018. Flickr File reference: New-Central-2018-09-18-029. Photo by Pam Carmichael Photography.

Today you can enter Tūranga via a door on Cathedral Square but in 1851 this was part of Town Section 704.

Christchurch, Canterbury compiled from data supplied to City Council and District Drainage Board ; T.S. Lambert, delt. Date: 1877
Town Section 704 (at top). Section of map Christchurch, Canterbury compiled from data supplied to City Council and District Drainage Board ; T.S. Lambert, delt.
(1877) CCL File Reference: ATLMAPS ATL-Acc-3158

Purchased from the Canterbury Association by a Mr Read, he then sold the section to John Bilton, school teacher. In 1856 John Bilton leased a retail space in his two-storey weatherboard building to William Hobbs.

Hobbs’ Building

William Hobbs, master tailor, arrived in Canterbury in 1855 from Hambleden in Buckinghamshire. Hobbs initially intended to start afresh in a new industry but soon realised that there was great demand for locally made clothing, and loot to be made.

William wasted no time setting up his business and cannily painted “Hobbs & Sons” prominently on the top floor.

Ad Star 2
Page 1 Advertisements Column 4, Star, Issue 715, 7 September 1870

He took over the full building lease in the mid-1860s and the building became known as Hobbs’s Building and later as Hobbs’s Corner. His sons Fred and William were both involved in the business, although Fred had civic and political aspirations too. In 1874 he became the eighth mayor of Christchurch and held office for two terms. Newspaper reports show Fred was particularly passionate about drains…

The Hobbs partnership was dissolved in August 1872 and Fred, in a Press advertisement, sincerely thanked “the very liberal patronage bestowed on the late firm during the past sixteen years”.

On Sunday 10 June 1883, fire, a constant danger in weatherboard colonial Christchurch, broke out on the corner of Gloucester and Colombo. Alerted by early morning revellers, the Chester Street Brigade speedily attended and focused their attention on stopping the fire from spreading to the Central, Criterion and Commercial hotels, The Lyttelton Times, Lennon’s Oyster Saloon (sounds like quite the place!) and Gaiety Theatre.

Through the sterling efforts of the fire brigade the hotels were saved but the corner block with Hobbs’ Building was gutted with only the outer walls left standing. The businesses destroyed by the fire included those of a draper, a fruiterer, a hairdresser, and the rooms of the YMCA. The greatest tragedy of the fire, to this librarian, was the loss of the Association’s library and much of the stock of one Mr Fountain Barber, bookseller, whose premises were on the Colombo St/Cathedral Square corner (where Tūranga’s magazine collection now sits ).

Cathedral Chambers

With 40 years left on the lease Fred Hobbs, William having retired, immediately proposed a new building, and plans for a new three-storey building were hastily acquired. Designed by Messrs Armson, Collins and Lloyd, the lavish description in the Press highlighted the building’s dimensions, construction materials and most importantly the provision of “fire-places and lavatory accommodation”!

The foundation stone for the new building was laid by Fred Hobbs in February 1884 with a projected construction cost in today’s money of $2,212,249.80. The building hosted 9 shops, a variety of office suites, space for a gentleman’s club and a large meeting room.

The rooms of Cathedral Chambers would come to be used by groups as varied as the Christchurch Metaphysical Club,  the Canterbury Women’s Institute, and the Atalanta Cycling Club – not to mention once hosting a concert for “the largest gathering of footballers ever seen in Christchurch” (by 1890 standards, that is). The numerous businesses to operate from the building included estate agents and dentists but also the “Central Pork Shop” which in an an 1888 advertisement boasted  a “large and commodious cellar…fitted up in first-class style”. Fancy.

MA_I341388_TePapa_Cathedral-Square-Christchurch_full
The swanky new Cathedral Chambers with Warner’s Hotel to the right and James Wallace’s Central Hotel to the left. Image Reference Burton Brothers Studio Te Papa C.011553

Cathedral Chambers was built with bricks from the St Martin’s brickwork, Oamaru stone and with blue stone piers, the effect of the contrasting red brick and pale stone was of “the gingerbread order of architecture”. A handsome veranda of iron and glass ran around the ground floor.

Under the headline of City Improvements, the Press praised Fred’s audacity in building such a handsome and substantial building during “the present period of depression”. Sensibly, special precautions against fire were included with water filled roof tanks and hydrants fitted around the building.

Interestingly, despite the completely new building and new name, “Hobbs’ Building” seems to have stuck in people’s minds and it continued to be referred to by this name for many years.

Lack of care taken

A small enclosed tower on the roof of the building contained rooms for a caretaker and was sadly the scene of two tragic accidents involving their offspring.

First in May 1907 a little girl called Dolly Ryder fell 30 feet through a skylight at Hobbs’ Building while chasing a cat. Incredibly she survived although there was concern she had sustained spinal damage. Dolly’s brush with death may have been a contributing factor in her later career of minor crime, aged 18 and 19 she was in trouble with the law for petty theft and absconding from a reformatory home. Go Dolly!

In 1929 Frank Otten, aged 19, was less lucky. Frank and his mother Blanche had gone up to the roof to check for damage after a chimney fire. Using an electric torch Frank crawled across the roof and mounted one of the parapets. He overbalanced and fell, striking the fire-escape several times, and landed in the concrete basement of the Masonic Hotel. Death was instantaneous.

Broadway Corner

Broadway afternoon tea rooms.PNG
Advertisement from A guide to Christchurch and Canterbury attractions, published in 1902 by P.A. Herman. Christchurch City Libraries CCL-83338-115

A variety of businesses operated from Hobbs’ Building now renamed Cathedral Chambers. One of the best known was the Broadway tearooms which operated from the first floor.

Run by William and Edward Broadway, confectioner and pastry chef respectively, the Cathedral Chambers area was informally called Broadway Corner for many years.

After Edward’s death the business name was changed to Beresford’s and it operated until 1974.

Capture
ANOTHER PICTURE OF THE CHRISTCHURCH ELECTRIC TRAMS—EXCAVATING ON THE NORTHERN SIDE OF CATHEDRAL SQUARE. Leslie Hinge Photo. New Zealand Mail, Issue 1718 1st of February 1905, Supplement

The arrival of electric trams caused chaos in the Square (plus ça change). Extensive excavating in 1905 created the double tracks necessary (note use of shovels and picks in the image below) for the tram lines.

The network officially opened on 5 June 1905 – a slightly over-excited Press article called it a day “writ large in letters of scarlet…an epoch marking day”.

When the first electric tram pulled in at the top of High Street, “a thronging human mass filled every inch of space from below the Bank, down Colombo Street, in front of the Cathedral, around the Post Office, and on every side in fact”.

The trams stopped close to Broadway Corner and there were frequent reports of tram, and later car accidents around this bustling spot.

Fred Hobbs died in 1920, his son continued the business but at another location.

CML Building

In April 1936 the building was acquired by The Colonial Mutual Life Assurance Society Ltd for the princely sum of $11,630, 215.50. The owner of the building by this time was Mr C G McKellar, and the new owners were expected to extensively re-model it to accommodate their growing staff.

CML Building 1993 Kete
The Square, looking North-East 1993. Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Kete Christchurch

The Cathedral Chambers were demolished in 1974/1975 and the new Colonial Mutual Life (CML) building was constructed to a design by Christchurch architects Warren & Mahoney. The building later operated as the Camelot Hotel and offered assorted tourism related retail space at street level.

The CML building was demolished in 2015 to make way for Tūranga.

Back in the present, we welcome those who’d like to honour the spirit of William Hobbs, master tailor, by trying out our sewing and embroidery machines in Tūranga’s Production Studio, or book one of our rooms for hire for all your footballer concert/metaphysical club meeting needs.

Next week: The Lyttelton Times and The Star

Further reading

Charlie Sumner: Picturing Canterbury

Charlie Sumner. Kete Christchurch. Cathedral-Square-4. Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Mr. Charlie Sumner, holding pipe, in Cathedral square, circa 1958.

Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt.

Do you have any photographs of people in Cathedral Square ? 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.

A Sandwich-board Man Advertising Dancing Shoes In Cathedral Square, Christchurch: Picturing Canterbury

A sandwich-board man advertising dancing shoes in Cathedral Square, Christchurch [1927]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 6, IMG0041.
A sandwich-board man advertising dancing shoes in Cathedral Square, Christchurch [1927].

Do you have any photographs of people working in Cathedral Square ? 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.

Tick, tock: Timepieces of Christchurch

Daylight Saving Time ends this weekend (clocks back one hour on Sunday morning, folks) and while changing the time on various clocks and watches around the house can be a chore, it must surely be less hassle than having to change the time on a floral clock or a clock tower?

So here’s to the custodians of large clocks everywhere, but especially those in Christchurch!

Here are some of my favourite big timepieces; some still ticking, others now lost.

Central Post Office in Cathedral Square
Central Post Office in Cathedral Square, 1963, Flickr File reference: HW-08-FE-08, Private collection Christchurch City Libraries

Looking rather fetching here in the 1960s, complete with belfry, the chief post office clock was installed in 1879 but is not currently in place, with the hole where the clock should be covered up. Here’s hoping it comes back eventually.

Also in Cathedral Square, who could forget the Government Life Building digital clock? With it’s alternating time and temperature information, it was always satisfying to look up on a hot day and have it confirmed that actually, yes, it IS hot.

The Government Life Building was demolished in 2014.

Government Life Building showing clock 12:45 4 July 1963 CCCPlans Government-Life-11-2
Government Life Building showing clock 12:45 4 July 1963 CCCPlans Government-Life-11-2

Still in the central city, the Victoria clock tower, originally known as the Jubilee Clock, was previously at the High/Manchester corner (as it is pictured below).

The clock tower, Christchurch [ca. 1925]
The clock tower, Christchurch [ca. 1925] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 14 IMG0019
It wasn’t until 1930 that the clock tower was moved to Victoria Street where it can still be seen today. Following the quakes it has had a lot of restoration and repair and was officially unveiled by Mayor Lianne Dalziel on 22 October 2014.

89 to 91 Victoria Street: Jubilee Clock Tower after the 22 February Earthquake
89 to 91 Victoria Street: Jubilee Clock Tower after the 22 February Earthquake by D M Robertson in Kete Christchurch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

Who remembers this one on the old M. E. D. building (later Southpower, then Orion) on Manchester Street? I love the square shape and minimalist look, not to mention the steps and gantry that provide access to anyone who had to adjust the time on it.

Orion Clock, 218 Manchester Street
Orion Clock, 218 Manchester Street by CityScape in Kete Christchurch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

But in my opinion it’s not a patch on the original clock installed when the building was new, in 1939. The bold octagonal shape for the face, a rockstar font for the sign above it, neon on the hands and numbers… now THAT was a clock.

Close view of M.E.D clock, 1939
Close view of M.E.D clock, 1939, File Reference CCL-MED-0100

Out at New Brighton, another 1930s clock tower that has pride of place in front of the library has an interesting history. It’s perhaps not the most large or impressive clock tower in the city but I do like its vaguely nautical, art deco styling. This is another clock tower that has suffered some quake damage but repairs are planned.

New Brighton clock tower,
Cracks in Clock Tower – September 2010 39 by CityScape in Kete Christchurch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

And who could forget this beauty? The floral clock. Sitting in the northwest corner of Victoria Square it was donated to the city in 1953 and has a face 8.5m in diameter. It’s by far the prettiest of all the public clocks featuring, as it does, 7000 individual plants.

Floral Clock, Victoria Square
Floral Clock, Victoria Square [1963], File reference: HW-08-FE-14. From Kete Christchurch and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives 3.0 New Zealand License

Find out more

Cathedral Square on a tram excursion day to Sumner: Picturing Canterbury

Cathedral Square on a tram excursion day to Sumner [1900]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 4, IMG0097.
Cathedral Square on a tram excursion day to Sumner [1900].

The seaside suburb of Sumner was first connected to Christchurch city by tram in 1888.

Do you have any photographs of trams in Christchurch? 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.

Busy Christchurch: a view in Cathedral Square looking towards the BNZ corner on a hot summer’s day: Picturing Canterbury

Busy Christchurch : a view in Cathedral Square looking towards the BNZ corner on a hot summer’s day.  1913. CCL PhotoCD 5, IMG0063.

Busy Christchurch : a view in Cathedral Square looking towards the BNZ corner on a hot summer’s day. Date: 1913.

Do you have any photographs of Christchurch and Canterbury in summer? 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.

Cathedral Square: Past and Future

Cathedral Square has long been an important civic space for Christchurch. In its time it has functioned as a transport hub and “movie theatre central”. It’s been a meeting place, and a stage for political protest, debate and speeches. It has been the home to markets, tourism operators, and of course, a cathedral. Numerous concerts have been held there and recently it has hosted a temporary ice-rink. From mid next year it will also have a shiny, new library in its North-East corner.

Regenerate Christchurch recently released some draft concepts for what Cathedral Square might look like in the future. And they are looking for feedback (until 21 August – so get in with your reckons).

Cathedral Square is a place with a many memories for Christchurch people and it has changed a great deal over the years. So while you’re considering what The Square of the future should be like, have a look at these glimpses of its past.

Crowd in Cathedral Square, Christchurch, celebrating Armistice Day. Head, Samuel Heath, d 1948 :Negatives. Ref: 1/1-007108-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22898377

 

Love the special sign for “Pedestrians” in this street photo from 1938.

Naomi Poulsen and friends in front of the Cathedral, 1938. by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

Victory celebration stirs Christchurch crowds. Christchurch turned out yesterday en masse to attend the second day of Victory Celebrations. A section of the crowd in the Square. 10 May 1945, The Press, 11 May 1945, p.8

 

Though there’s no date provided for this photo of Cathedral Square covered in snow, the presence of the Citizens’ War Memorial, far left, (unveiled in 1937) means it might be the snow of July, 1945.

Snow in town, Cathedral. by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

The Plaza Theatre originally opened as The Strand in 1917. In this photo the neighbouring United Service Hotel can be seen at left with the Women’s Rest Rooms at right. The theatre was demolished in 1990.

Plaza Theatre, Cathedral Square, 1946. Plaza Theatre, Cathedral Square by Patricia Scott is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

Jacqui Taylor’s father leading a procession in front of the Christchurch Cathedral. He sang in the Cathedral Choir, Late 1940’s, File reference: HW10-S-Fe-020. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives 3.0 New Zealand License

 

Cathedral Square decorated in honour of the Queen and Prince Phillip. Date: 1950s by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

A common street photograph pose near the Citizens’ War Memorial.

Pauline Ormandy (left) and Colleen Finn (right) by the Cathedral as 16 year olds. File reference: HW10-Sh-161 Cathedral Cuties, 1964, by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives 3.0 New Zealand

 

Long hair and sandals in the seventies.

This was taken in the Square in Easter 1971, File Reference: HWC08-ANZC-080, Bible Lady by CityScape is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

An orderly bus queue on a sunny afternoon, in the late 70s or early 80s.

Chief Post Office by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

Obligatory Wizard photo.

The Wizard (“C’mon Canterbury”) on ladder). I took this photo in Cathedral Square early in 1982. I later returned and gave the wizard a copy. He showed it to the crowd, announcing himself to be “A living work of art”. The Wizard, Cathedral Square, 1982 by Julia Thomas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

A busy day in Cathedral Square, probably in the 1990s

View of Post Office buildings in the Square by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

Christchurch Arts Festival sculpture “Snow Orchid” and Speigeltent venue in background, 2007.

Snow Orchid was installed in Cathedral Square for the 2007 Christchurch Arts Festival. The work was designed by Strategy Design and Advertising and constructed by Warwick Bell of Fabric Structure Systems. Snow Orchid Christchurch Arts Festival 2007 DSC06625 by SueC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

Many protests and demonstrations have taken place in Cathedral Square over the years. This one in 2010 resulted in Neville Toohey being arrested.

Neville Toohey locked himself on the balcony of the Christchurch Cathedral and unfurled a banner with the name of his anti-ACC website over the side of the building. Mr Toohey was protesting after being denied back surgery by ACC. After spending the night on the balcony, Mr Toohey left the Cathedral at 1.00pm and was arrested and charged with trespass. ACC Protest, Cathedral Square, Christchurch, 26 March 2010 by KeteScape is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

 

Cathedral Square as it looks now. But what does the future hold?

Christchurch: Where the children of today enjoy and shape the dreams of tomorrow, 10 October 2014. Entry in the Christchurch City Council Long Term Plan 2015 – 2025 Photography Competition by Len Jingco. LTPLeJi by SueC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License

Find out more

Cathedral Square by Night 1959: Picturing Canterbury

Cathedral Square by Night 1959. Kete Christchurch. Ph16-IsTw-C-W-PICT0047. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

“Cathedral Square by night the northwest corner with the start of Chancery Lane under the bright white light. The Tivoli theatre later became the Westend, a huge cinema (scene of many happy nights out in my teenage years) complete with cat known to sleep on seats at the back. The old building to the left was later the site of the AMP building, and the one to the right became the Government Life building.”

Date: 18 August 1959.

Entry in the 2016 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Isabel Tweedy.

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 further photographs of Cathedral Square in the 1950s? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

80 years old : Citizens’ War Memorial (Cathedral Square)

The Citizens’ War Memorial is still there, hidden behind the cordon.

Citizens' War Memorial
Citizen’s War Memorial. 2007. Flickr File reference CCL-2013-01-15-DSC05887

The Citizens’ War Memorial has stood outside the  Christchurch Anglican Cathedral for eighty years. She survived the earthquakes of 2010/2011 undamaged.

On 9 June 1937 the statue was unveiled by Colonel S.C.P. Nicholls, after a service by Anglican Archbishop Julius.

Originally modelled in clay by local artist William Trethewey, the moulds for the statue were sent to England to be cast in bronze by A.B Burton.

There are six figures in the statue.

Seated with outstretched arms is a figure representing the Mothers of the Empire in an attitude of grief for her lost sons.

St George, in armour, is on the right, facing the Cathedral. He represents valour and protection. On the other side is Youth, holding a torch.

Above St George is Peace, who holds an olive Branch and a dove. Next to her is Justice, who is blindfolded and carries a set of scales, a symbol of balance.

The Angel at the top (my Dad’s favourite) is breaking a sword. She was to be called Victory, but it was decided not to name her.

Peek through the fence surrounding Christchurch Cathedral at this wonderful statue. It’s still there amongst the weeds…

Further information