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.

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…

Shaves & Shampoos on the North West Corner of Cathedral Square

It’s just before 3pm on a late summer day in 1914. Prolific Christchurch photographer, Steffano Webb is setting up his camera equipment inside the gents’ hairdressing saloon of well known Cathedral Square tobacconist, Frederick Woodward, the proprietor of Woodward & Co. The shop has been cleaned top to bottom; the floor swept clean so that…

D.I.C. 1909 – ‘An up-to-date Emporium’

The New Premises of the D.I.C. Cashel and Lichfield Streets, Christchurch From the ashes of the conflagration which ravaged the business heart of the city a year ago, there has arisen a wonderfully spacious and thoroughly up-to-date emporium, designed for the occupation of the extensive business undertakings of the Drapery Importing Company, firmly established in…

D.I.C. Opens for Business in Cashel Street, 1884

“…the advent of a new Company that will sell goods at reasonable profits for cash…” To the Editor of the Press. Dear Sir, All undertakings of a public beneficial nature, which are likely to affect the interests of others, are certain to arouse the ire and enmity of those interested, and to call forth letters…

A Penny Stamp for All Places – Cathedral Square c.1908

“There are two classes of Christchurch postcards – those with the Cathedral and those without.” [1]   The elegance of a lost age is captured in this exquisite photochrom postcard taken in Cathedral Square. The Edwardian photographer has recorded a moment in time, circa 1908, taken from outside the Christchurch Post and Telegraph Exchange. Women…

Handsome and substantial – Warner’s Hotel, Cathedral Square

On the north east corner of Cathedral Square, the Commercial Hotel, owned by John Etherden Coker (1832 – 1894) was opened in 1863. The name Warner’s was not used until the hotel’s third owner, William Francis Warner (1836 – 1896) purchased the establishment in 1873 and renamed it Warner’s Commercial Hotel. [1] Warner the Hero…

Rudyard Kipling’s Flying Visit to Christchurch

By Our Special Reporter Yesterday morning I was at the Christchurch railway station with the intention of going to Port by the five minutes to eight train, in order to meet Mr Rudyard Kipling, who was a passenger on the Talune. I found that the steamer had arrived early in the morning, and that some…

The Spanish Beauty and the Beast – The Manchester St Murder

For £55, reports The Press in 1909, an Antipodean may travel to London and back via the Cape, and secure a very pleasant holiday. For boarders and employees at Alfred and May Burn’s ‘Silver Grid’ boarding house and amusement parlour, holidays in London, champagne suppers and aviation exploits are only to be read about.

Christchurch’s first phone call

In 1877, the world was abuzz with the news of Professor Bell’s invention – the telephone. The Steinway Hall,  in New York, was packed to capacity on the 2nd of April, 1877 with the first exhibition in a series in that city of ‘that marvellous discovery’ the telephone. Speculation was rife that it would supplant…