Cashel Street looking east, from 1882

Ballantynes and Hobdays on Cashel Street in 1882
Ballantynes and Hobdays on Cashel Street in 1882
View down Cashel Street in 1882, looking west across Colombo Street past Beaths towards Hobday and Co. and Ballantyne’s drapery stores. Source: Burton Brothers Album. Image: Christchurch City Libraries File Reference CCL PhotoCD 1, IMG0009

The Burton Brothers captured this softly lit image of Cashel Street, the main commercial street of Christchurch. The camera sits at the corner of High Street and faces west to Colombo Street. We can see Hydes Boot Factory in the foreground, Beaths Clothiers & Drapers, Hobdays Drapery, and Ballantynes are all visible.

This image gives some indication of how dirty the streets became with the horse powered transport. Here large piles of horse manure has been swept up into tidy piles in the centre of the street, by a street cleaner.

Imagine the condition of the street on a wet day. No sensible man or lady would venture out into these city streets without a sturdy pair of boots. Hydes Boot Factory was ideally placed for business, located opposite Strange and Co. in High Street. George Hyde’s inventive advertising was designed to attract attention. In 1883 a pair of Hyde’s handmade new women’s and girl’s kid boots could be purchased for 9s 6d – about $1.

Cashel Street in 1946
Ad for Hydes Boot Factory. Star, Issue 3402, 6 March 1879, Page 1. Click on image to enlarge.

Walk towards Colombo Street and forward in time 64 years, and the scene changes but many of the iconic businesses, like Beath’s and Ballantyne’s remain. The horses and carts have been replace with private cars but the tram still brings shoppers and workers from the suburbs into the central city, along Colombo Street.

It is the end of the war, and the start of the Baby Boom. For the first time, all New Zealand families receive the universal family benefit of £1 per week.

Mothers dressed in short coats, pushing prams, stroll easily across the streets, perhaps heading to Beaths for one of their special high teas, their Beath’s charge card waiting in their purse. Fashions have changed noticeably since 1882; dress lengths have shortened considerably, hats are an accessory of choice rather than necessity. The streets are horse-free and cleaner, so sturdy boots have been replaced by court shoes.

Cashel Street looking wast in 1946 Source: 22cm x 31.5cm CCC Heritage files Collection Location CCC Archives File Ref. CCC-AFStacey-010
Cashel Street looking west in 1946 Source: CCC Heritage files Collection Location CCC Archives File Ref. CCC-AFStacey-010

The Bridge of Remembrance is a noticeable addition to the street scape, linking Oxford and Cambridge Terraces over the Avon River at Cashel Street. Opened on Armistice Day, 11 November 1924 as memorial to those who fought in the First World War, new additions have been made to the inscriptions to honour those who fought in World War II.


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