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.
This picture was taken during the Surf Comps in the 1970s. The location is the North Ramp car park in New Brighton.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Many might assume that an old friend has returned to New Brighton.
But it is, in fact, a replica.
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.
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
View photographs of the 2012 whale pool reopening in Kete Christchurch.
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.
Beachwear has certainly evolved over the years. These poor souls must have been sweltering. New Brighton Beach 1928.
This image from the 1920s shows how thriving New Brighton was.
Cullimore’s Brighton Exchange was located on the corner of Beresford Street and Seaview Road. This image dates from the mid 1930s.
This image from the 1950s shows Donkey Rides on New Brighton Beach. This would have been awesome. Let’s bring back the donkeys!
The iconic whale will be a part of the new playground development. Here is what it looked like in 1970.
New Brighton Mall had an upgrade in 1977 removing the road and making it a pedestrian mall. The road was partially reinstated in 2005.
In the 1980s, New Brighton Mall had a seriously funky fountain.
Here are the matching bollards.
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.
After the earthquakes, artists beautified damaged buildings in the mall with murals.
Every year New Brighton holds a popular Santa Parade. The big guy is known to make his entrance via a surf lifesaving boat.
We can’t forget the New Brighton Library which is situated in the location that is open for submission.
Kite Day is a popular day at New Brighton with families from all over Christchurch coming to join the fun.
Do 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.
I 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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 regionalhistory, 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.
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.
The Estuary Bridge has never been built. It has been proposed by various people over the years. See The Bridge that never was.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: