Camping at Hanmer River: Picturing Canterbury

Camping at Hanmer River 1958. Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ CCL-PH16-080.

Family camping at Hanmer River, Christmas/New Year 1958.  Annual event with often three generations present.

Do you have any photographs of camping in Canterbury? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

The Discovery Wall is a large interactive exhibition which allows several people to simultaneously explore images and stories of the history of the people and places of Christchurch. It is viewable on the ground floor of Tūranga, 60 Cathedral Square, Christchurch, New Zealand. Images displayed on the Wall can also be found on the Discovery Wall website.

Picturing Canterbury: University students champagne breakfast on roundabout

Black and white photo showing University students champagne breakfast on roundabout. 1983
University students champagne breakfast on roundabout. Discovery Wall. CCL-StarP-01616A. Copyright Christchurch Star

3 March 1983.

Students, Tim Brooks, Karen O’Donnell, Richard Lake, Carol Hooke, Mark Alexander, and Shona Osmond having a champagne breakfast at Deans Avenue-Blenheim Road roundabout.

Do you have any photographs of student life in Christchurch? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

The Discovery Wall is a large interactive exhibition which allows several people to simultaneously explore images and stories of the history of the people and places of Christchurch. It is viewable on the ground floor of Tūranga, Central Library, 60 Cathedral Square, Christchurch, New Zealand. Images displayed on the Wall can also be found on the Discovery Wall website.

Wartime Britain – a certain glamour and nostalgia?

book coverI recently settled down to watch Wartime Farm on television and also started reading Jambusters: the story of the Women’s Institute in the Second World War. In the recent past I’ve read The love charm of bombs  about writers in wartime London. I also have a penchant for World War II noirish crime writers like Philip Kerr and Alan Furst. The Second World War definitely has a certain attraction, even glamour.

The Women’s Institute is best known these days through the movie Calendar Girls where a group of Yorkshire women produce a nude calendar to raise funds for cancer treatment. Every meeting begins with a rendition of Jerusalem – a rousing hymn not so well known these days. From Jambusters I learnt that 8,000 WI members gathered in London in 1939 for their annual conference which began with the singing of Jerusalem. It must have been quite a performance. I also learnt that by war’s end WIs throughout Britain had made 5,445,000 kilograms of jam and preserves.

But more than factoids I’m starting to learn about the women themselves. Many were in rural circumstances of hard work on farms with none of the modern conveniences we take for granted – electricity, indoor plumbing, appliances, motor vehicles and so on. The WI broke the isolation of many and empowered them with learning, leadership opportunities and by valuing the skills they took for granted – running a house and farm and feeding a family from produce they grew themselves. The WI even set up markets where members could sell their produce.

I think the jambusting spirit of WI resonates particularly in post quake Christchurch – groups like Gap Filler, CanCERN, Addington Action and Rekindle are definitely following in the footsteps of make do and mend in difficult circumstances.