Situated at 242 High Street, the Dainty Inn first opened in 1940 as a “milk bar and quick lunch business”. It was later purchased by James Michael Curnow (1922-2014) who ran it for 28 years. His recollections feature in Remembering Christchurch. Although it was not the only milk bar on High Street (the other being the Milky Way), part of its attraction was a pulley system which took orders to the kitchen. The business closed in 1989.
This store advertised itself as “The busy booksellers, stationers and printers “. Envelopes, writing paper, pen and ink were provided free. Stamps could be purchased here, as could postcards of local and New Zealand views, magazines, etc.
The business had its origins in a printing and stationery firm, founded in 1862 by J.T. Hughes which, in 1878, was purchased by Alfred Simpson and J.S. Williams. The store remained in operation until 1972, with the printing business closing in the following year.
Do you have any photographs of High Street shops? 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.
This week is the last week to catch Underground Overground Archaeology’s exhibition of finds at the South Library. The display is a great way to come face to face with recently rediscovered everyday objects from Christchurch’s past. If you can’t make it along to the library you can also check out Underground Overground’s blog of the work they have been doing digging into numerous demolition sites all over the city.
Together with the fascinating website High Street Stories this blog started me thinking about how much of the intimate history of Christchurch has been revealed since the earthquakes – those fragments that otherwise would have remained lost or stories recorded that might not have been under different circumstances.
As you might imagine, High Street stories is all about the history of this fascinating street, with stories told in video, audio, text and images. You can find out about Ngāi Tahu’s relationship with Ōtākaro (Avon River), the history of the Odeon Theatre and the regeneration of Lichfield Lanes amongst many others. I am not from Christchurch but it is from projects like this that you can get a real sense of how an area has developed and get an impression of what the atmosphere might have been like in the past.
Delving back into Underground Overground’s blog you can find out how archaeological discoveries have been researched and read the stories associated with them that have now come to light. So many of the artefacts that have been discovered seem mundane (lots of bottles!), but when investigated they highlight Christchurch history in a very real and immediate way. For example find out about beer bottles, burlesque houses and the everyday life of early residents.
The physical landscape of Christchurch has totally changed since the earthquakes, but thanks to projects like these – and others – its history and heritage will not be forgotten.
Have any of you used these websites, or any like them, already?
Don’t forget A Craft Christmas Market, Saturday 18 December 10am to 4pm in Poplar Lane and the High Street Pop Up Market Day , Sunday 19 December 11am – 3pm. They are great opportunities to support the inner city, and finish off your Christmas shopping at the same time. The CCC Tuam Street car park will be free and the Wilson car park between Barbadoes and Madras will be $2 all day.
T. Armstrong & Co’s Christmas float outside their High Street store. 1930
Like what you see? Complete this form to order an image. If you have any further information on any of the images, or if you would like to donate images to our collection please contact us. Want to see more? You can browse our collection here.