The new Canterbury College building opened 140 years ago – in 1877

Canterbury College was founded in 1873 and quickly gained 87 students. Despite the Canterbury College Board of Governors approving a Gothic Revival building design by Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort in 1874, delays occurred when it could not be decided where to build — land they owned on Worcester Street or adjacent to the Museum.

Professor A. W. Bickerton was appointed in 1875 as the Professor of Chemistry, and his imminent arrival forced the issue of at least having laboratory space. A temporary laboratory was designed by Mountfort and built of corrugated iron and wood in 1876 on the Worcester Street site.

This “temporary” solution continued to be used for 40 years, although it was never finished properly due to it being a temporary solution and several derogatory nicknames grew around it, including ‘the tin shed’ and ‘the realm of stinks’. A new, permanent Chemical Laboratory was officially opened in 1910 and ‘the tin shed’ was eventually demolished in 1916 to allow the new College Library to be built.

Canterbury University College Clocktower, n.d., MB 1448, reference no. 4770, Macmillan Brown Library, University of Canterbury

In 1876, Mounfort was again engaged for the first formal building design for which he adapted a smaller version of his original design due to more restricted funds. This included the clock tower, the porters’ and registrars’ offices, the professors’ studies, a lecture room and a board room and was constructed for the cost of £6,370.

The College block, or Clock tower block, was built in front of the laboratory on Worcester Street and both were officially opened on the 7th of June, 1877, by the Governor of New Zealand, the Marquis of Normanby. As part of the evening celebrations that followed, an electric light display was produced by Professor Bickerton. However, the college classes were not held in the new building until the beginning of 1878, and from this time students were required to wear academic dress.

Canterbury College, Christchurch, showing clock tower and Great Hall [ca. 1882] Burton Bros. CCL PhotoCD 1, IMG0012
The Great Hall and clock tower, Canterbury College [ca. 1910], CCL PhotoCD 13, IMG0066
The 77 students of 1877 grew to 97 in 1878, so it was immediately apparent that the stone building would not be large enough for the growing numbers of  students and variety of courses offered. The East wing extension, also designed by Mountfort, began in 1878 and completed in 1879 and provided five more rooms.

The Great Hall was designed by Mountfort and built between 1881-82, but again, due to budgeting requirements, to a scaled down version of his original design.

The Observatory at Canterbury College [ca. 1910], CCL PhotoCD 2, IMG0097
Buildings continued to be added to the central city location as the student roll grew, until the University announced their decision to move to Ilam in 1949. Their roll had reached over 2500 the year before. Building began at the Ilam site in 1956 and the move occurred between 1957 and 1975. The Arts Centre of Christchurch Trust was formed to take over the buildings in 1978.

The Clock tower and other buildings were badly damaged in the 2011 earthquakes, but have recently re-opened after repairs.

Find out more: Learning by Design: Building Canterbury College in the City 1873-1973

Documenting the new west: The Halswell Project 2015

In a city that embodies change, few communities have experienced such a boom in development and growth as Halswell.

In order to create a documentary record of this fast changing community as it stands in 2015, Christchurch City Libraries and the University of Canterbury teamed up to produce The Halswell Project – a contemporary photographic documentary project on the wider Halswell area.

Three talented photography students from the School of Fine Arts, Ellenor Waters, Nicholas Glen and Mitchell Bright, hit the streets with their cameras and over the course of six months amassed hundreds of images and created an intimate portrait of a diverse community.

We’re celebrating the launch of the photographic archive this Thursday 3 December, 6pm at Te Hāpua: Halswell Centre with the opening of the Halswell Project exhibition. 30 prints will be on display along with a digital slideshow of a selection of the images.

The Halswell Project, 2015 – Slideshow from CCL Digital Content on Vimeo.

New Zealand photographer, writer and Senior Lecturer Glenn Busch will also be speaking about documenting a city through the Place in Time project at the University of Canterbury.

Woman waits at bus stop on Dunbars Road by Ellenor Waters CCL-HP2015-EW-DSCF1918
Woman waits at bus stop on Dunbars Road by Ellenor Waters CCL-HP2015-EW-DSCF1918
Chris standing next to his bike by Nicholas Glen CCL-HP2015-NG-IMG-2929
Chris standing next to his bike by Nicholas Glen CCL-HP2015-NG-IMG-2929
Housing development, Caulfield Avenue by Mitchell Bright CCL-HP2015-MB-DSC-0080
Housing development, Caulfield Avenue by Mitchell Bright CCL-HP2015-MB-DSC-0080

Sam Ludemann

Never too old to learn

Cover of The Mature Student's handbookDo you envy those with a bit of paper from university? Do you think “If I had the chance I could do that”?

Did you try university when you were younger and wonder if you could give it another try?

Are you are over 55 years of age and have not studied for the last five years? If you are you can apply for the Deans Award which will pay half of your fees.

Stepping Stones A Guide for Mature-aged Students at University Book coverHave you always had an interest in Greek myths or Medieval Europe, or wished you had learnt Māori or French at school? Do you want to read the great works of English or find out about Picasso? Do you want to explore what makes science good bad or bogus or discuss god and human freedom determinism then the University of Canterbury have the course for you.

If you want you can study for as little as one semester and take on subject or you could study for a year and get a Certificate of Proficiency in that course or courses. If you want to take a few courses and study part-time without studying for a degree you can get a Certificate in Arts. There are further options of a Certificate in Languages or Te Pourua Reo: Diploma in Languages (Te Reo Māori) for those who do not wish to complete a full degree or if you decide you can complete a Bachelor of Arts. You can even select your own programme of study with the help of a Student advisor.

If you need to speak to somebody who studied at University as an older student then I have the chap for you. Dr. Jefferey Paparoa Holman from UC Arts Lifelong Learning would be happy to talk to you about his experiences of starting out late in life on a university degree.

Mature students their life experience to their course of study bringing a whole new perspective to classes. Mature students are motivated and know how to work and apply themselves they give their experience to society. University life now has much more support for students than in the past and you do not have to buy as many books as much is available online.

How to study again book cover

Have I perked your interest? Have a look at our library resources on how to study again and studying in New Zealand as a mature student.

Are you or have you studied as a mature student? Share your story with us.

Nanotechnology in Christchurch

The study of a world so small, we can’t see it – even with a light microscope. That world is the field of nanotechnology, the realm of atoms and nanostructures. (How stuff works)

Christchurch is playing host to a Nanotechnology Festival. It includes a range of interesting events. The University of Canterbury website has full details, and bookings for the Don Eigler and Kim Hill events (they are free to attend, but require booking).

Events include:

  • Don Eigler, IBM, USA, “Playing with atoms” – Wednesday 1 September
    Don is a pioneer of nanotechnology and the winner of the 2010 Kavli Prize in Nanoscience.
  • Kim Hill hosts “A big discussion about small things” – Wednesday 8 September
    Views on nanotechnology from across the spectrum of scientists, Maori, government regulators, and more.
  • The Art of Nanotechnology – Wednesday 11 August to Friday 10 September
    An exhibition at Our City O-Tautahi featuring intriguing nanotechnology images, and art inspired by nanotechnology.
  • Nanotechnology at Science Alive – from 28 August
    The science behind nanotechnology, with a Christchurch flavour.

If you want to know more about nanotechnology, there’s a range of Nanotechnology material (non-fiction and fiction) at Christchurch City Libraries.  How Stuff Works has a useful explanation on what nanotechnology is all about.