Electric Trams – “Horses No Longer Required”

Christchurch was the last of the four cities to introduce electric trams. They had tried to introduce the system in 1902, but it was prior to the amalgamation of the boroughs, so with the advent of greater Christchurch and the Tramway Board being established, the work was able to be begun.   Unlike Auckland, Wellington…

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…

“The Sick, Faint Feeling of Violent Shakes,” Jane Deans

For one of our city’s most famous early women settlers, poor health had marred not only her voyage to New Zealand but also her arrival to her new home at Riccarton. From the moment Jane Deans boarded the sailing ship at Plymouth for Canterbury in November of 1853, she suffered from motion sickness. As the voyage progressed, her sea…

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.

The Mystery of the Severed Hand

“When the Clerk of the Court, in his quiet, matter-of-fact way, called Arthur Robert Howard, there was a hush of the murmured conversation among the crowd, and everyone looked towards the door by which prisoners enter the Court…” The Severed Hand or Severed Hand Mystery, Page 15-16, Published by Capper Press Eight miles from Christchurch…

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…

Christchurch’s Countess – Léontine, Countess de la Pasture

To the inhabitants of colonial Nelson, Léontine, Countess de la Pasture was the epitome of Victorian refinement and manners. To her husband – Gerard Gustavus Ducarel, the fourth Marquis de la Pasture – she was his beloved Lily, a virtuous and noble woman, who not only possessed great strength but generously opened her hand and her heart to the needy.