Mrs Hucks' Theatre Royal Café

Mrs Hucks’ Theatre Royal Café
CCL PhotoCD 16, IMG0090

February 24, 1881
First century in first class cricket scored by G. Watson for Canterbury.

February 25, 1908
Theatre Royal opens. This is the building which exists today, the third to bear the name.

February 25, 1978
New Brighton Mall opens.

February 26, 1931
Bowker Fountain in Victoria Square in operation.

February 26, 1938
Summit Road opens.

February 26, 1947
First ticketed airline flight from New Zealand – Lancastrian “City of London” flies from Harewood to Sydney.

February 27, 1964
Lyttelton road tunnel opens, New Zealand’s longest.

February 28, 1853
Provincial boundary defined by proclamation. Westland (then called West Canterbury) included as part of Canterbury.

March 1, 1851
“Isabella Hercus” arrives with settlers.

March 1, 1880
School for the Deaf (now Van Asch College) opens in Sumner. Director Gerrit van Asch introduced oral teaching methods to New Zealand.

March 1, 1930
Majestic Theatre opens – the city’s first steel frame building.

A general view of Victoria Square, Christchurch

A general view of Victoria Square, Christchurch
CCL PhotoCD 8, IMG0097

Christchurch chronology

A timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

February 16, 1770
Captain James Cook in the “Endeavour” sights Banks “Island” (Peninsula).

February 17, 1939
New Millers Department Store building (the former Civic Offices) opens. Designed by G. A. J. Hart, the building contained the South Island’s first escalator.

February 18, 1982
Internationally famous writer Dame Ngaio Marsh dies at her home in Cashmere.

February 19, 1873
Anglican synod decides (by a narrow margin) not to sell the present site of ChristChurch Cathedral.

February 22, 1909
New “Press” building in operation in Cathedral Square. Designed by J.J. Collins and R.D. Harman, it was the city’s first ferro-concrete building.

February 22, 1960
New airport terminal (designed by Paul Pascoe) opens.

Photo of first house on the Canterbury Plains, Riccarton

The first house on the Canterbury Plains, Riccarton [ca. 1890]

Christchurch chronology

A timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

9 February 1917
Scott statue, sculpted by his widow, unveiled opposite the (then) Municipal Offices in Oxford Terrace.

10 February 1864
First Council artesian well drilled at the corner of Tuam and High Streets. It gushed to a height of 3 or 4 metres above ground level.

10 February 1913
News reaches Christchurch of the Scott expedition’s fate. The city’s special relationship with the expedition caused deep mourning over the tragedy.

11 February 1843
Deans, Gebbie and Manson families sail from Wellington on the “Richmond” to settle at Riccarton.

12 February 1905
Catholic Cathedral (the Basilica) opens. Designed by F. W. Petre, it is widely regarded as the finest Renaissance-style building in New Zealand.

Image of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Barbadoes Street, Christchurch [ca. 1905]
CCL PhotoCD 4, IMG0042

13 February 1951
Waterfront strike begins, with all New Zealand ports idle by February 19. As in previous strikes, Lyttelton avoided the worst of the violence and confrontations which occurred in other ports.

15 February 1840
Chiefs Tairoa, Tuhawaiki and Karetai “sell the South Island” to John Jones and W. C. Wentworth for £500.

More February events in the Chronology.

2 February 1960
Burnside High School opens. For a long time it was the biggest high school in the Southern Hemisphere.

2 February 1974
Commonwealth Games end with “the greatest middle distance race of all time”. Tanzanian Filbert Bayi wins the 1500 metres in new world record time. Second was John Walker who also broke the existing record. The national records of five countries – Tanzania, Kenya, Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand – were all broken in this race.

Booklet of Canterbury Public Library opening [1982]2 February 1982
Official opening of the new Central Public Library (designed by Warren and Mahoney) in Gloucester Street. (It had opened for business on 12 January).

3 February 1915
Canterbury Battalion sustains New Zealand’s first casualties of W.W.I at Suez Canal.

3 February 1962
Peter Snell sets new world records for the half mile and 800 metres at Lancaster Park.

4-5 February 1868
Severe storm and gales. Several ships wrecked, floods throughout Canterbury. Waimakariri River overflows into the Avon causing serious flooding. Water flows a metre deep in Market Square (now Victoria Square).

6 February 1908
Stranges fire destroys buildings in High, Cashel and Lichfield Streets. Stranges Department Store was New Zealand’s biggest in the early days of the 20th century. The early morning blaze spread to the DIC, Ashby Berghs and the White Hart Hotel. Damage was over £300,000, New Zealand’s worst to that date.

Image of Strange's Hotel

Card showing W. Strange & Co. Ltd premises in 1863 and 1910, Christchurch : used to notify customers that their orders had arrived. [ca. 1910] CCL PhotoCD 4, IMG0058

More February events in the Chronology.

Cover of The Way of All Flesh26 January 1883
New Zealand Shipping Company begins direct steam service to the United Kingdom.

27 January 1860
Writer Samuel Butler arrives at Lyttelton on “Roman Emperor”. He is best remembered for the novels Erewhon, published after his return to England several years later, and The Way of All Flesh, which was published a year after Butler’s death, in 1903. Christchurch City Libraries holds a special Butler collection.

28 January 1851
Fire destroys a large part of Riccarton (Deans) Bush.

31 January 1921
New Zealand’s first regular airmail service begins between Christchurch, Ashburton and Timaru.

More January and February events in the Chronology.

19-22 January 1954
Visit by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh (the first New Zealand visit by a reigning monarch).

Cover of Professor Bickerton's Wainoni19 January 1935
River carnival on the Avon near Park Terrace.

20 January 1882
First drainage pumping station in operation. This was the beginning of New Zealand’s first sewage farm.

22 January 1929
Death of Professor Bickerton in England. Since his sacking by the university – see 1902 – he had operated the extraordinary Pleasure Gardens at Wainoni, made fireworks, promoted patent medicines and then travelled to England to promote his “partial impact” astronomical theory.

24 January 1974
10th Commonwealth Games open at Queen Elizabeth II Park, one of the greatest sporting events in New Zealand’s history. Visitors include the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and Princess Anne. Highlight of the opening ceremony was the New Zealand Army Band’s spectacular novelty marching routine. Seen on international live TV, the idea was soon copied by bandsmen throughout the Commonwealth.

25 January 1974
Cantabrian Richard Tayler wins 10,000 metres in games record time. This was the first live colour TV coverage of a major race. Tayler was honoured as 1974 “Sportsman of the Year’, but his sports career was cut tragically short by the onset of crippling arthritis.

More January events in the Chronology.

13 January 1891
First public display in New Zealand of Edison’s phonograph.

14 January 1898
“Great Peninsula Fire” destroys much of the bush on Banks Peninsula.

16 January 1936
Inauguration of inter-island air service by Union Airways.

18 January 1851
First bank, the Union Bank of Australia, opens at Lyttelton.

18 January 1894
New Brighton pier opens.

A group of seaside businessmen formed the New Brighton Pier Company in 1888. There were many problems, one engineer even taking the company to court for non-payment of fees owed to him. A Frenchman, Mr. Duval, was the engineer for the pier as it finally emerged, a much reduced structure than that which was originally planned. The first pile was driven into the seabed on 2 May 1891 and the pier was opened by the Governor on 18 January 1894. At the time the structure consisted of nothing more than the pier itself and a turnstile leading on to it. The pier company came to the end of its life soon after the opening of the pier.

Various individuals owned it thereafter, erecting a building which accommodated tearooms and side shows. The most prominent owner of the pier was Charles Agar of Lyttelton. He struggled to make a profit from the complex and tried, without success, to get the government to buy it. For a long period after Agar’s death in 1931 the pier was in the hands of the Public Trust.

Ultimately, it was purchased by Leonard Hampton ‘Sam’ Duffield who let people fish from the pier. Duffield belonged to the syndicate which sought to bring controversial English call-girl Mandy Rice-Davies to New Zealand. Duffield hoped that Mandy would sing at the New Brighton pier. Keith Holyoake’s Government banned her. In Oct. 1964 the pier was demolished. Sam Duffield died two years later.

Sources: A seaside item which never really succeeded / Richard Greenaway, The Press, 22 May 1976; New Brighton scrapbooks 1847-1940 / Alfred William Owles, held by Christchurch City Libraries

More January events in the Chronology.

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