Here’s looking at Flickr – more than 3 million views

To celebrate cracking the 3 million views mark on our Flickr photostream, here are some photos to capture your imagination.

Our most interesting image, as Flickr sees it:

Hospital corner, winter morning 1960s
Hospital corner, winter morning 1960s 1959-1960s This scene was photographed by my father and features a PA Vauxhall Velox with bicycle protruding from the boot. Flickr: HW08-D-013-Hospital_Cnr Heritage Week 2008 Competition Entry Highly commended – 1960s category

Some more in the “interesting” section:

Storytime at the Library
Storytime at the Library Storytime at the children’s section of the Canterbury Public Library still has lots of appeal with city youngsters during the school holidays. Here Margaret McPherson (Children’s Librarian) reads to a group Apeared in the Christchurch Star Home edition 13 May 1968 page3 Flickr: CCL-Star-525
A Standard Vanguard Phase III shown being assembled
A Standard Vanguard Phase III shown being assembled At the assembly plant of Motor Assemblies South Island Ltd in Tuam Street, between Barbadoes and Madras Streets, Christchurch circa 1960 Flickr: Reference: CCL-KPCD-11-048 From the Canterbury Progress League Archives, Christchurch City Libraries Archive 72

Our most viewed image:

Flooded Avon River on Oxford Terrace
Flooded Avon River on Oxford Terrace Wednesday 5 March 2014. Flickr: 2014-03-05-IMG_2335

And a few more that have clocked up many looks:

Harewood Airport
Harewood Airport 1954 Staff from No. 4 Hanger. Name of aircraft “PEHO” (D.C 3). This plane was built 20 March 1945 as a freighter for the RNZAF for use as a paratrooper.  Flickr: HWC08-UR-030a Heritage Week 2008 Competition Entry
Bibliographic Services
Bibliographic Services November 1993 Flickr: CCL-150-403

See more images:

Christchurch Photo Hunt 2013

I am proud to unveil this stunning set of winners from our Christchurch Photo Hunt. Congratulations to winners and entrants – you’ve added to our collection of Christchurch images and have helped Reconnect Christchurch.

Overall winner: Father Christmas at 4 Square

Photo of Father Christmas at 4 Square

Diane Rolton is the overall winner and the winner of the Places category for this photo of a family with Father Christmas. Faith Sumner and children. Four Square shop on the corner of Milton and Selwyn Streets. circa 1952.


Millers Department Store, Tuam Street. 1953 Diane Rolton

Photo of Millers Department Store, Tuam Street

Taken at the time of the Queen’s visit in 1953. They show the buildings decorated to celebrate this event.


Andrea McHarg is the winner of the People category.

The violin man who regularly busked outside the ANZ bank on Colombo Street

Photo of The "violin man" who regularly busked outside the ANZ Bank on Colombo Street.

Highly commended

Dave Reynolds is the winner of the Highly Commended Prize for a series of family photos which captured the judges’ attention. Here are some of his photos.

 Photo of Watching TV after a family tea Photo of Summer day at Pines Beach

Highly commended

Julia Thomas is the winner of the Highly Commended Prize for her special study of waiting for the milkman.

This boarding house stood on the corner of Worcester and Barbadoes Streets.

Photo of 208 Worcester Street Photo of Waiting for the milkman Photo of Milk bottles and payment Photo of Plinth at 208 Worcester Street

See all images and judges’ comments on our Christchurch Photo Hunt 2013 page.

Libraries, brownies, planes, quakes, & wifi: Our top 5 Flickr pics

Christchurch City Libraries joined photo sharing site Flickr in August 2008. We have just passed the milestone on 1,500,000 page views (after having reached the million mark on 23 October 2012). Coincidentally, this is also our 3500th blog post!

Here the current all-time most popular photos on our Flickr:

Public Library, Christchurch, N.Z.
Canterbury Public Library building
Circa 1903-1907 (before the YMCA was built on the other corner in 1908). Postcard, Maoriland Series
Tanner Bros 518

Harewood Airport
Harewood Airport 1954
Staff from No. 4 Hanger. Name of aircraft “PEHO” (D.C 3). This plane was built 20 March 1945 as a freighter for the RNZAF for use as a paratrooper. The aircraft went to the National Airways Corporation 29 September 1947 and went back to the Air Force 20 February 1967.

WiFi users outside the Central Library
Even though the library is closed due to the earthquake customers are still happy using the free Wi Fi. 7 September 2010.

Little Brownie Judith
Little Brownie Judith. 1973. Christchurch. Judith, aged about 7, in her Brownie uniform.

Central Library : after the quake
Central Library after the quake. 8 September 2010.

Survivors of the First Six Ships: Picturing Canterbury

View in our collection

Survivors Of The First Six Ships Grouped Around The Godley Statue, Cathedral Square, Christchurch 1925
Passengers who arrived by the Charlotte Jane, Randolph, Sir George Seymour, Cressy, Castle Eden and Isabella Hercus took a prominent part in the celebrations of Christchurch’s 75th anniversary. They are shown at the foot of the statue of John Robert Godley, the founder of Canterbury.

Prominent in Cathedral Square and unveiled in 1867, the Godley statue is inscribed simply:

John Robert Godley, Founder of Canterbury

The statue, the first public commemorative statue in New Zealand unveiled to a single person, was sculpted by the English Pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner. In 1907 the statue was hidden from public view by the tram shelter. Despite public deputations to the Council, the statue was not moved to a more prominent public position on the north side of the Cathedral until 1918. There it remained until 1933 when it was returned to its present and original site.

The statue fell from its plinth during the 22 February 2011 earthquake and has become one of the most photographed symbols of the damage to Christchurch. It is currently on display in the Quake City exhibition in the Re:START Mall.

We have a winner …

After a random draw,  the winner of the copy of Christchurch Dreaming is OisO. We will be in contact to get your prize to you!

Her favourite image in our collection is “A horse with cart is watered at Armagh Street Bridge, Christchurch : Provincial Buildings and Supreme Court at left”:


Thanks to those of you who shared your favourites:

Roy chose these two  image “Princes Street Bridge, Woolston (now Rutherford Street), looking east” and “The old Rakaia combined road & rail bridge : at right the new road is under construction”:

Photo  photo

Jan chose this image of “Cashel Street Christchurch, looking west toward the Bridge of Remembrance “:


And sweetasnzgirl chose this fab pick of a 1960s musical interlude in New Regent Street:
Strumming on the roof

Window-shopping in the city of memories

The Images collection on the CCL website is one of my favourite places for an idle trawl, especially the costume section. Among the showier treasures there is this little gem featuring a shop window, circa 1967. The caption reads “Vance Vivian, their menswear store, either in the Government Life Building, Cathedral Square, or in Surfside Mall, New Brighton”.

Everything about this photo is ’60s perfection: the diamonds surrounding the lettering of Vance Vivian, the manliness of the mannequin’s  jaw, the floral arrangement, the brand names featured – remember Rembrandt?

Why was it called Vance Vivian? In the 1960s I think they had a trendier off-shoot called The Vault, possibly also in the Square or in the recently demolished Manchester Unity building. The Vault had its very own poster done in best ’60s Yellow Submarine style, a poster that graced my bedroom wall for some time, not because I had bought any menswear from the shop, but because it was so cool.  If only it had been digitised.

And Surfside Mall – just the name brings back memories of the days when New Brighton was the only suburb to have Saturday shopping. The road went straight down to the clocktower and there would be bumper to bumper traffic, especially on Easter Saturday.

What shops still stand in your city of memories ?

Christchurch evolution

CoverThe Christchurch of July 2011 is a very different city from the Christchurch of July 2010. But while recent changes have been dramatic, Christchurch has always been evolving.

The library has several collections that let you discover the many faces of our city through the years. There are beautiful books, such as Gwenda Turner’s Christchurch, and Christchurch Changing by Geoffrey Rice, and there are some wonderful hidden gems in our online collection:

If these resources whet your appetite, don’t forget to also search the library’s catalogue for more publications about Christchurch and Canterbury. Try the following searches:

coverI have just placed a hold on Canterbury – The Big Snow, 1992 to see how different Christchurch in white looked then and now.

What other gems showing our city and region’s history would you recommend?

And then there were 196 …

coverNations, that is. The latest, South Sudan, is not even a month old, having officially been ‘born’ on 9 July 2011.

It is undeniably trivial, but, as a librarian, one of my first thoughts was of the atlases that now need updating.

I have always liked maps – an interest no doubt fostered by the year I spent at intermediate school sitting facing a wall-size map of Africa. While the teacher droned on, I’d listen with half an ear, while my mind would take off on flights of fancy, flitting from the mosques of mysterious Timbuktu to the markets of Zanzibar.

I’d follow the path of the Nile from its source at the centre of the continent, near that tantalising line that signalled the Equator, past the pyramids in Cairo to Damietta and Rosetta where the mighty river fans out to meet the Mediterranean Sea. And I’d wonder at the bravery of those first explorers who, prior to the opening of the Suez Canal, ventured to circumnavigate Africa to reach the fabulous Spice Islands.

It’s difficult to fathom the many ways in which Africa and the world have changed in the twenty or so years since I sat daydreaming in front of that map. And I’m not thinking only in terms of political changes of borders and placenames. As we have recently been reminded, the earth is constantly transforming itself: mountains rise, sea levels fluctate high and low, and rocks crumble. 

The further confessions of a happy snapper

coverYou can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, and you can’t turn a poorly composed, badly lit, out of focus photo into an award-winning photo. That doesn’t mean I don’t try.

The libraries‘ computers have Picasa. This free download is so easy to use, and is designed to be a photo sharing tool, however I use its photo editing capabilties as well. These are divided into three categories: ‘Basic fixes’,’ Tuning’ and ‘Effects’.

‘Basic fixes’ allow me to do things like crop, correct red-eye and straighten the horizon. ‘Tuning’ is for changing the amount of shadow and highlight. ‘Effects’ allow me to be a little bit creative. I like using Soft Focus, which blurs the background, while keeping the main focus of the photo sharp. I also enjoy using  Focal B&W. It retains the colour in the centre of the photo, and the background fades to black and white. Picasa is something that you can click around and experiment with. If you need help, find books on Picasa at your library.

If you want a whole lot more than what Picasa has to offer, you might like Photoshop. I had Photoshop on my old computer. I would spend ages cropping and colour correcting my old photos. Then I would turn them into oil paintings.  To get the most of Photoshop, you need a manual. The library has quite a large selection; just make sure you choose one that matches your version.

Remember one thing, you can improve your photo to a certain extent with photo editing and you can have fun with special effects, but sometimes the best thing to do is use delete.

A photographic treasure trove of Canterbury’s past!

The Christ Church Cathedral under construction, looking at the east arch from Worcester Street, Christchurch (circa 1880)

At your library, we’ve taken great care and time to capture our province’s past. Browse our fine collection of online photographs – they show just how far we have come – and might serve as inspiration for the future.

Our website contains a vast collection of material on Caterbury’s history – did you know the Christ Church Cathedral lost its spire three times in separate earthquakes between 1881 and 1901?