New Zealand’s Most Beautiful Street 1932

From Circus Paddock to Busy Tourist Street In the early days of Christchurch, an open field along the west side of Manchester street, between Armagh and Gloucester streets, which was bounded by a row of well grown English Poplars and known as the Circus Paddock, was regularly used for touring circuses which came to town.1…

The Canterbury Ladies’ Slaves

Imagine you were born 100 years ago… what job would you have done? If you are female, part of the working class and living in England, then there is a one in three chance that you would be part of the largest women’s industry in the Kingdom – domestic service. If you are under fifteen…

Government Building Worcester Street – Building for the Future

The construction of government buildings have long attracted opinion and criticism and the Italian Renaissance style Government Buildings on the corner of Worcester street and Cathedral Square were no different. Cabinet passed the plans for the construction of the new Government Buildings on 28 June 1910. They would be built on the site of the…

Was Christchurch the birthplace of Mary Poppins?

89 years ago the story of Mary Poppins and the Match-Man was published for the first time – in Christchurch’s afternoon The Sun newspaper. But how did the story of the world’s most famous nanny find its way first into a Christchurch newspaper? To answer this we need to delve into the early life of…

Tram vs Bus in 1930s Crush

The busiest intersection in the central city heaves under a rush of pedestrians, buses, trams, cyclists and private motor cars, pushing passed each other as they head for various parts of the city.

A Great Pilgrimage Over the Clouds

Imagine an event so exciting, so spectacular, that 38 trains were required travelling at 28 minute intervals to convey curious sightseers to Lyttelton in order to witness it.
The roads from Christchurch were chock-a-block with cars travelling in first gear, with many people choosing to walk over the hill roads on foot. On the morning of the 3rd January 1838…

Christchurch Gardens – Their Early History

The Old and the New 1 Christchurch people of the younger generations and strangers to the city who wander among the ordered prettinesses of the Christchurch Botanical Gardens, and pace along the pleasant winding paths between old-world blooms and old-world trees, can scarcely realise that little more than 50 years ago the place whereon all…

Port Lyttelton – ‘a mean, insignificant little place’

This land-locked port of Lyttelton – called occasionally Port Cooper and sometimes Port Victoria – is the main, or rather the only, entrance to the Province of Canterbury. The surrounding hills, which are entirely volcanic, vary in height from 2000 ft, to 6000 ft, and bear, on close inspection, very palpable marks of calcination. The…

The Glenmark – Tragedy and a Fortune in Colonial Gold

“The tale of a shipwreck has for most readers a fascination unequalled by any other of the many forms of tragedy which from time to time sweep some unlucky band or section of humanity into eternity, and during last century [19th Century] shipping disasters were all too frequent around our rugged and then little-known coast….

The Oldest Building in Canterbury

Built Sixty Years Ago – Now Used as a Laundry To settle what seems to be a somewhat vexed question, a representative of the Lyttelton Times yesterday made inquiries among a number of the Pilgrims with regard to the authenticity, or otherwise, of the statement that the building now being used as a residence on…

A Visit to the Suburbs and a Parting Nor’ Wester

Notes on a Christchurch Trip By Fabian Bell Part V: A Visit to Some of the Suburbs and a Parting Nor’ Wester The room in which Bishop Julius was entertained at luncheon the other day is a particularly striking one. It is in the building which was formerly (when each province had its separate Government)…

The First Car Comes to Christchurch

A Packing Case on Wheels Local and General. Star, Issue 6789, 8 May 1900, Page 3 A weird-looking vehicle has recently been seen travelling through the streets of the city much to the amusement and astonishment of the onlookers. At first appearance it looks like an ordinary packing case placed on three wheels, the Jehu…