Sydenham Borough formed, 1877

We take it for granted now, but it’s really not that long that Christchurch has had a city council that covered the whole city – only since 1989.

Before that was not only the Christchurch City Council (established in 1862) but also the Waimairi, Paparua, Halswell, and Heathcote County Councils, the Riccarton Borough Council,  and the  Christchurch Drainage and Transport Boards. Phew!

( The Banks Peninsula District Council joined Christchurch City Council later on, in 2005)

The Sydenham municipal building [1903] File Reference CCL PhotoCD 7, IMG0020
And that doesn’t even take into account other councils that had existed prior to that – one of which was the Sydenham Borough Council whose first meeting was held this day in 1877. At the time the population of the borough was between 5-6,000, which grew to around 12,000 by the turn of the century.  According to  The Cyclopedia of New Zealand by 1902 Sydenham had 26 miles of streets, 95 gas lamps for street lighting with 2009 ratepayers. Businesses included butchers, bootmakers, bakers and builders!

But the Borough was not to be long-lived: in early 1903 polls were held in Linwood and St. Albans as well Sydenham to vote on joining Christchurch City Council to make a Greater Christchurch. In Sydenham 939 voted in favour of amalgamation, 421 against, giving a 518 majority vote  in favour.  The first elections for the Greater Christchurch City Council were held on 29 April 1903, but it seems that voters weren’t particularly excited by the whole exercise, as the turnout was less than 50%.

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Messrs Minson & Co.’s Premises, Colombo Street, Christchurch: Picturing Canterbury

Messrs Minson & Co.’s premises, Colombo Street, Christchurch [1898]. File Reference CCL PhotoCD 6, IMG0020.
This was for many years a leading Christchurch crockery and glassware store. It was opened on 1 Jan. 1857 in Colombo Street by William Neeve, an ironmonger, who owned it for 16 years before selling it to John Hallifield Spencer in 1873. Later owners were James Mortlock and Thomas Hudson who traded as Mortlock and Hudson. In 1892 William Minson took over the business, renaming it Minson and Company. The shop was situated at 220 Colombo Street, Sydenham.

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Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch and Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Messrs Minson & Co.’s Premises, Colombo Street, Christchurch