Surf Comps, New Brighton, 1970s: Christchurch Photo Hunt 2018

October is Photo Hunt month at Christchurch City Libraries. We invite you to share any of your photos and help grow the city’s photographic archive. All entries must be received by 31 October.

Christchurch City Libraries has produced a set of four postcards promoting the competition which are available from your local library. Each week during October we’ll be featuring one of the postcard images on our blog.

Surf Comps, New Brighton, 1970s. Kete Christchurch. PH16-TeCo-C-W-Surf-001.Entry in the Christchurch City Libraries 2016 Photo Hunt. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

This picture was taken during the Surf Comps in the 1970s. The location is the North Ramp car park in New Brighton.

Date: 1970s.

Highly Commended entry in the 2016 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Teresa Connor.

About Kete Christchurch

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

A new whale for a new generation

It looks just like the original.

Many might assume that an old friend has returned to New Brighton.

But it is, in fact, a replica.

At the Whale Pool, 1970. Kete Christchurch. PH14-307. Entry in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Creative Commons License

Along with the lighthouse, the concrete whale has been an iconic feature of the pool at the New Brighton playground for over forty years. Known as the ‘whale pool’, such is the attachment that local residents have towards it, that when a survey was held in 2016, asking them what they expected from a redevelopment of the playground and pool, 90 per cent of the respondees stated that they wished for the whale to remain.

Children of Christchurch were first introduced to the whale in 1971, when, after years of planning, the playground opened on 16 December.

The origins of the playground lie in the formation of the New Brighton Pier and Foreshore Society which was established in 1964 to save the historic New Brighton pier (built in 1894) from demolition. Although the pier was eventually demolished in 1965, the society continued to serve the community. In 1967 the organisation decided to build a children’s playground and pool.

The northern carpark by the beach was chosen as the location, and in 1968 proposed designs were made. In the following year they were submitted to the Christchurch City Council but these were rejected as inadequate. To remedy this, the society hired a professional architect to bring their plans up to a required standard. Eventually these plans were scaled down, and when presented again to the council in 1971, they were approved. The pool and playground were completed in time for the summer holidays.

Like many of the other paddling pools in Christchurch, the whale pool was damaged during the February 2011 earthquake. Repairs were made and the pool officially reopened on 17 November 2012.

Whale Pool Re-opening Day – 17 November 2012. Kete Christchurch. Whale_Pool_Re-opening_Day_-_17_November_2012__DSCF3403. Creative Commons License

As early as 1998, there had been discussions surrounding the concept of a saltwater hot pool complex at New Brighton. After the restoration of the whale pool, the idea was raised once again. In December 2016 the council approved the funding for the Beachside Playground and coastal protection works to be carried out by Development Christchurch Limited. Construction on the new playground began in August 2017 after a sod turning ceremony was held.

Although it was initially planned to keep the old whale (but with a new water jet installed), an engineer’s assessment found that it would not survive the relocation. Given that it was important for the whale to remain a part of the playground, a fibreglass mould was made and a replica whale produced. The ‘clone’ of the original was set into place on 5 December.

The new playground (complete with replica whale) is scheduled to open on Wednesday 20 December 2017 at 10.30am.

Find out more

Have your say about New Brighton

New Brighton has undergone many changes in the last ten years or so. From the early 1900s, it was a bustling tourist spot with people catching trams from all over Christchurch to sunbathe on the beach. New Brighton also had the distinction of being the only place in Christchurch where Saturday shopping was permitted.  This lasted until 1980 when Saturday shopping became the norm.

New Brighton is currently getting another makeover with construction of a fancy new playground under way, and several other projects being planned. Development Christchurch Limited (DCL) is looking for feedback on early design ideas for Christchurch Hot Pools in New Brighton. Christchurch City Council is working with the community to develop ideas for the revitalisation of New Brighton Pedestrian Mall and Marine Parade and you can vote on some improvements. You have until Sunday 12 November to have your say, so get typing now.

To get you inspired, here are some images of New Brighton through the ages

A view of the New Brighton Pier circa 1910.  The original pier was opened in 1894 and was demolished in 1965.

A view of the New Brighton Pier circa 1910.  The original pier was opened in 1894 and was demolished in 1965. New Brighton, near, Christchurch. N.Z. by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License
A view of the New Brighton Pier circa 1910.  Kete Christchurch. CCL-Beaumont-005A Creative Commons License

Beachwear has certainly evolved over the years.  These poor souls must have been sweltering.  New Brighton Beach 1928.

People Sitting In Sand Dunes New Brighton  Kete Christchurch. People_sitting_in_sandhills_New_Brighton_5107143000_o Creative Commons License

This image from the 1920s shows how thriving New Brighton was.

General view of pier and enclosures : showing terminus of two trams and pier front. [ca. 1920] CCL PhotoCD 18, IMG0020
General view of pier and enclosures : showing terminus of two trams and pier front. [ca. 1920] CCL PhotoCD 18, IMG0020
Cullimore’s Brighton Exchange was located on the corner of Beresford Street and Seaview Road.  This image dates from the mid 1930s.

Cullimore's Brighton Exchange by CCL Photo Hunt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License
Cullimore’s Brighton Exchange. Kete Christchurch. 2012-PH-151 Creative Commons License

This image from the 1950s shows Donkey Rides on New Brighton Beach. This would have been awesome. Let’s bring back the donkeys!

Donkey rides on New Brighton beach [195-] CCL Photo Collection 22, Img02321
Donkey rides on New Brighton beach [195-] CCL Photo Collection 22, Img02321 Creative Commons License
The iconic whale will be a part of the new playground development. Here is what it looked like in 1970.

At the Whale Pool, 1970. Kete Christchurch PH14-307.jpg CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ
At the Whale Pool, 1970. Kete Christchurch. PH14-307 Creative Commons License

New Brighton Mall had an upgrade in 1977 removing the road and making it a pedestrian mall.  The road was partially reinstated in 2005.

Seaview Road & Oram Avenue - New Brighton - Mall Development - January 1977. Kete Christchurch. Kevin_Hill-Seaview_Rd___Oram_Ave_New_Brighton__Mall_Development-No_-1
Seaview Road & Oram Avenue – New Brighton – Mall Development – January 1977. Kete Christchurch. Kevin_Hill-Seaview_Rd___Oram_Ave_New_Brighton__Mall_Development-No_-1 Creative Commons License

In the 1980s, New Brighton Mall had a seriously funky fountain.

New Brighton mall bollards and the fountain. Kete Christchurch VL-2012-PH-088
New Brighton mall bollards and the fountain. Kete Christchurch. VL-2012-PH-088 Creative Commons License

Here are the matching bollards.

New Brighton mall bollards and the fountain. Kete Christchurch. VL-2012-PH-087.jpg
New Brighton mall bollards and the fountain. Kete Christchurch. VL-2012-PH-087.jpg Creative Commons License

The building of a new pier began in 1996 and was opened to the public on the 1st of November 1997.  Here is a lovely shot of the pier at sunrise in 2015.

Sunrise at New Brighton. Kete Christchurch. PH17-BrMo-02
Sunrise at New Brighton. Kete Christchurch. PH17-BrMo-02 Creative Commons License

After the earthquakes, artists beautified damaged buildings in the mall with murals.

9 December 2012 - Gapfiller Mural - New Brighton. Kete Christchurch. _December_2012_-_Gapfiller_Mural_-_New_Brighton__DSCF3884
9 December 2012 – Gapfiller Mural – New Brighton. Kete Christchurch.  _December_2012_-_Gapfiller_Mural_-_New_Brighton__DSCF3884

Every year New Brighton holds a popular Santa Parade.  The big guy is known to make his entrance via a surf lifesaving boat.

Santa Hits the Beach at New Brighton, 2009. Kete Christchurch. Santa_Hits_the_Beach_at_New_Brighton_4173431910_o
Santa Hits the Beach at New Brighton, 2009. Kete Christchurch. Santa_Hits_the_Beach_at_New_Brighton_4173431910_o Creative Commons License

We can’t forget the New Brighton Library which is situated in the location that is open for submission.

New Brighton Library. Kete Christchurch. 20150802_08120
New Brighton Library. Kete Christchurch. 20150802_08120 Creative Commons License

Kite Day is a popular day at New Brighton with families from all over Christchurch coming to join the fun.

Kite Day at New Brighton Beach. Winning entry in the CCC Annual Plan 2016/2017 Photography Competition by Jianhuai Chen. Kete Christchurch. AP16_JiCh1__-_Winning_Entry_-_Jianhuai_Chen_3
Kite Day at New Brighton Beach. Winning entry in the CCC Annual Plan 2016/2017 Photography Competition by Jianhuai Chen. Kete Christchurch.  AP16_JiCh1__-_Winning_Entry_-_Jianhuai_Chen_3 Creative Commons License

View our Edge of the East documentary photo record.

Simon H
New Brighton

Peacock at New Brighton Zoo: Picturing Canterbury

Peacock at New Brighton Zoo. Kete Christchurch. PH13-246. Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 New Zealand License.

Peacock at New Brighton Zoo. January 1965. The North Brighton Zoo started as an aquarium, possibly as early as the 1880s and became a mini zoo, run by Bill Grey, in the late 1940s. It closed in 1996.

Date: 1965.

Entry in the 2013 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt.

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 photographs of the former New Brighton Zoo? If so, feel free to contribute to our collection.

Go fly a kite

Cover of Just A KiteDo you remember what your first kite was like? Mine was made out of brown wrapping paper. It had a picture of John, Paul, George and Ringo that had been carefully cut out of a magazine stuck on it. It didn’t fly very well at all.

Cover of KitesI was not deterred, and over the years I owned many kites that flew. I don’t own a kite at the moment, but I wouldn’t mind having a go at making one and taking it down to New Brighton beach and flying it. Kite Day is going to be on January 30th, and if I don’t get my kite to fly, I will get to enjoy those that do. I love the way that the small kites seem to duck and weave their way between the huge colourful kites.

So if you are like me and love kites, head on down to the New Brighton Beach, south of the Pier, on Saturday, 30th January between 1.30pm – 4.30pm with your kite and join in the fun.

Streets Kite Day, New Brighton 2015
Streets Kite Day – New Brighton 2015, Flickr 2015-01-24-IMG_4948
Streets Kite Day, New Brighton 2015
Streets Kite Day – New Brighton 2015, Flickr 2015-01-24-IMG_4942

The Reserves of New Brighton

Camera flashes at the annual gala at Wainoni Park on January 24. [24 Jan. 1914] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 18, IMG0019
Camera flashes at the annual gala at Wainoni Park on January 24. [24 Jan. 1914] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 18, IMG0019
Richard Greenaway is an Information Librarian with an interest in the history of East Christchurch. He has an eye for a good story and the skill and patience to check and cross check all kinds of references. He has compiled a wonderful array of New Brighton stories. Here he explores the reserves early residents of New Brighton could enjoy. These reserves were gazetted in the time of the Canterbury Provincial Council, 1853-76.

No. 224 – Spit Reserve

This is the reserve on the New Brighton side at the mouth of the Estuary. It was set aside for the purposes of a lighthouse which was never built.

Many ships were wrecked on the Sumner Bar. For, example, the Irish lawyer and later judge, Henry Barnes Gresson (1815-1901), lost his substantial legal library which he had brought from the Old Country.

No. 1616 – Thomson Park

This is the land on the eastern side of Rawhiti Domain. In 1896 the New Brighton people petitioned for the establishment of a borough council so that they could take over this wilderness. The borough council was established in 1897.

People wanted to sell it off for housing. An act went through Parliament during World War I to try to bring this about. In his 29 April 1922 Star reminiscences, ‘Old New Brighton’, George Thomas Hawker described it as ‘New Brighton’s menace’.

Part of the land was made into a children’s playground during the Depression. This work was carried out under the leadership of Thomas Edward Thomson (1877-1942) and the place was named ‘Thomson’s Park’. In the Christchurch City Council’s Reserves Department reports, there is a scathing indictment of the work of these amateurs.

The first golf match held at Rawhiti Domain [1952] File Reference CCL Photo Collection 22, Img02332
The first golf match held at Rawhiti Domain [1952] File Reference CCL Photo Collection 22, Img02332

No. 1579 – South Brighton Domain, Pleasant Point and Rawhiti Domain

This includes the South Brighton Domain, Pleasant Point and the western side of Rawhiti Domain. It also included land in North New Brighton where night soil and food waste was dumped. This last piece of land was eventually sold for housing and the money used so that the city council might be able to purchase the New Brighton Trotting Club land which became Queen Elizabeth II Park.

‘Harold Logan’ was a famous pacer. He won the New Zealand Trotting Cup in the 1930s. He was owned by Ernest Hinds but raced in the colours of Hinds’ step-daughter, Effie Hinds. The horse was kept in the South Brighton Domain and one small boy shouted excitedly to his parents: “Look, Harold Logan’s eating our grass”. Christchurch City Libraries holds, in its archives, the Harold Logan papers, newspaper articles and photographs relating to the famed horse and its career.

The Nautilus on the Avon-Heathcote Estuary in the 1920s [ca. 1920] File Reference CCL Photo Collection 22, Img00080
The Nautilus on the Avon-Heathcote Estuary in the 1920s [ca. 1920] File Reference CCL Photo Collection 22, Img00080
Pleasant Point developed as a picnic spot in the 1920s when New Brighton baker, Harry Nelson Hawker (1868-1947),  plied his big launch, Nautilus, for hire on the Avon river from the Seaview Road bridge to Pleasant Point. The launch was built in Auckland and has been retired there.

In the Depression, men were employed by the Christchurch City Council and New Brighton Borough Council (and paid by the Government) so that much of the domain could become a golf course. In October 1934, the local authorities went as a deputation to the Ministry of Unemployment in Wellington. The local bodies wanted the unemployed to be excused from going to a ‘slave camp’ on the Ashley River.

On 15 October, the Mayor reported on the insensitive attitude of Bromley, deputy chairman of the board, and the free hand allowed him by his political master, the Right Hon. J. G. Coates …. The civil servant spoke of the ‘golden golf course’, because of the huge amount of public money which had been spent creating the course.

The library has some great photographs of New Brighton capturing its life as one of New Zealand’s premier seaside suburbs, full of life and character. New Brighton residents have been good at recording their local history and the place has inspired novels and biographies. Read more blog posts about New Brighton history, including more from Richard.

Sources

The bridges of New Brighton

The Spit, New Brighton. [3 Dec. 1954] File Reference CCL Photo Collection 22, Img02328
The Spit, New Brighton. [3 Dec. 1954] File Reference CCL Photo Collection 22, Img02328
Richard Greenaway is an Information Librarian with an interest in the history of East Christchurch. He has an eye for a good story and the skill and patience to check and cross check all kinds of references. He has compiled a wonderful array of New Brighton stories. Here he explores the bridges early residents of Christchurch used to travel to New Brighton.

Dallington bridge

Built in 1883 by Henry Jekyll (1844-1913) and Henry Philip Hill (1845-1923). They owned Rural Section 183, at Dallington, to the north of the Avon River. The river was the western boundary of the property and the northern boundary was McBratneys Road. Jekyll and Hill planned to put a tramline through to New Brighton. Nothing came of the venture but the original Dallington bridge.

Bower bridge

Bower bridge, Wainoni Road, was opened by Sir John Cracroft Wilson in 1876. The present Bower bridge opened in 1942. In the 1920s and ‘30s the Inter-City bus service pioneered transport on Wainoni Road, across the Bower bridge and to North New Brighton and New Brighton. This was a private service, very popular, cheap and run on the smell of an oily rag. It was managed and owned by Walter Bussell (1887-1967) who had his headquarters on Bowhill Road. The bus company had been in competition with the Christchurch Tramway Board’s trams on the Pages Road route and there was what was called the ‘bus war’.  Trams and buses would try to beat each other to pick up the next passenger.

An electric tram crosses the New Brighton bridge with a barge moored underneath  [ca. 1910] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 2, IMG0005
An electric tram crosses the New Brighton bridge with a barge moored underneath [ca. 1910] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 2, IMG0005

Central Brighton bridge, Seaview Road

A route was put through by New Brighton Tramway Company. Opened in 1887 horse trams ran from Christchurch to New Brighton between 1887 and 1905, after which the Christchurch Tramway Board took over and electrified the line. The company’s line was later opened as a public road, Pages Road, named after tramway company director, Joshua Page (1826-1900).

One of the people in charge of the New Brighton Tramway Company was George McIntyre (1841-1934), a surveyor by occupation. He was Mayor of New Brighton when King Edward’s Well (outside the New Brighton Library) was unveiled in 1902.

The original Seaview Road bridge was a flat bridge. It was replaced at the beginning of 1930s by the present bridge. This was designed by H. F. Toogood, father of Selwyn Toogood.  You can see photos of the bridges in George W. Walsh’s New Brighton, a regional history, 1852-1970.

The modern Seaview Road bridge is a high bridge. The hump in the bridge is there because Richard Bedward Owen (1873-1948), tailor and conservationist, known as ‘River Bank Owen’, argued that boats could come ‘sailing with the tide’ to Christchurch. They never have. Read all about it in A bridge with some history.

Seaview Road, New Brighton [ca. 1920] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 12, IMG0006
Seaview Road, New Brighton [ca. 1920] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 12, IMG0006

South Brighton bridge, Bridge Street

Opened in 1927 it was the result of the work of New Brighton Borough councillor, Herbert Arundel Glasson (1866-1931). He lived in South Brighton and persuaded fellow residents that they should be a ‘special rating area’ and pay extra rates to the New Brighton Borough Council providing that a South Brighton bridge was built. A small wooden bridge was built. This meant that South Brighton residents could cross the river and get to town, saving the long journey up to Central Brighton. A new bridge was opened in 1981.

Estuary bridge

The Estuary Bridge has never been built. It has been proposed by various people over the years. See The Bridge that never was.

The library has some great photographs of New Brighton capturing its life as one of New Zealand’s premier seaside suburbs, full of life and character. New Brighton residents have been good at recording their local history and the place has inspired novels and biographies. Read more blog posts about New Brighton history, including more from Richard.

Sources

How to get to New Brighton

Richard Greenaway is an Information Librarian with an interest in the history of East Christchurch. He has an eye for a good story and the skill and patience to check and cross check all kinds of references. He has compiled a wonderful array of New Brighton stories. Here he explores the way early residents of Christchurch travelled to New Brighton.

Road making on Tramline [later Pages] Road, near New Brighton  [1897] Dutch, F. W. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 5, IMG0066
Road making on Tramline [later Pages] Road, near New Brighton [1897] Dutch, F. W. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 5, IMG0066

New Brighton Road

The first route from Christchurch to New Brighton in European times was via FitzGerald Avenue (then the East Belt), and Shirley and New Brighton Road. Because it was the first route, it was sometimes called the ‘Old Brighton Road’. New Brighton Road dates from 1860s. This route avoided bridges.

A mishap to the Christchurch-New Brighton tram at Wainoni Park  [14 Dec. 1913] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 18, IMG0035
A mishap to the Christchurch-New Brighton tram at Wainoni Park [14 Dec. 1913] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 18, IMG0035

City and Suburban Tramway Company route

The City and Suburban tramway Company put through a tramline which started in town, went down Travis Road and towards the sea along what is now Bowhill Road. The line then went along the Esplanade (Marine Parade) to Central Brighton. The line was opened for traffic in 1894. The company went out of business and was taken over by the man who had built the line, John Brightling (1843-1928). Bowhill Road is named after Thomas Bowhill Thompkins (1837-82), a publican, who had land in the area. Stronger Christchurch uncovered some tram tracks from this line in 2012.

Seaview Road, New Brighton  [ca. 1910] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 18, IMG0021
Seaview Road, New Brighton [ca. 1910] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 18, IMG0021

Avon River

Richard Bedward Owen thought of the Avon as a route to Christchurch. Some small vessels trying to negotiate Sumner bar sank there and at the entrance to the Avon-Heathcote Estuary.

Paddle steamers

These came down the Avon to New Brighton, mainly bringing picnickers. Notable among these was the Maid of the Avon. In 1866 the captain, John Mills, chopped down the Stanmore Road bridge because it was impeding a true-born Englishman’s right to pass along a navigable waterway. Another notable paddle steamer was the Brighton which was part of Joseph Harrop Hopkins’ attempt to boost New Brighton in 1872-75. He also had built the original New Brighton hotel, in Seaview Road (later Patterson’s and McCormack’s).

It was customary for the Christchurch fire brigade to hold an annual picnic. On 3 April 1874, members of the brigade celebrated the occasion by chartering the Brighton for an excursion to the beach. With their friends, and with Mr. Bunz’ popular band, they set off.  They enjoyed the races and games of cricket on the beach, as well as the luncheon provided at Mr. Hopkins’ hotel.

One of the brigadesmen, Richard Edward Green (1853-1938) wrote about this outing in the Star of 1928. Green recalled the chorus of one of the songs that firebrigadesman Samuels had sung at a party that day:

Ah – she has fairly broken my heart.

I wish I had never seen

that dark young girl with her hair in curl

that works at the sewing machine

The library has some great photographs of New Brighton capturing its life as one of New Zealand’s premier seaside suburbs, full of life and character. New Brighton residents have been good at recording their local history and the place has inspired novels and biographies. Read more blog posts about New Brighton history, including more from Richard.

Sources

On the beach: Picturing Canterbury

Photo of New Brighton beach at Christmas [1927]
New Brighton beach at Christmas [1927]
Explore our sampler of Christmas photographs from our collection. We also have images of the Hay’s Christmas Parade.

Browse DigitalNZ sets of images:

More images