Refugee and Philanthropist – Hyman Marks and the Christchurch Hospital, 1897

In Christchurch Hospital’s busy, twenty first century entrance foyer, patients, staff and visitors hurry past a distinguished man immortalised in bronze. These days, many do not have time to stop and acknowledge the Victorian gentleman’s likeness which was sculpted by William Trethewey (1892-1956) between 1920-30. However in the last decade of the nineteenth century, this man…

St. Luke’s Anglican Church, Kilmore and Manchester Street corner

The wooden church of St Luke the Evangelist, stood in Manchester Street, just north of the Avon, from 1858 until it was pulled down in 1908 to make way for a larger stone and brick structure, faced with stone from Halswell. The old church had fallen into decay, and since the Cathedral had been constructed,…

The Savoy Theatre, Cathedral Square

After World War One, there was a growing appetite for the glitzy glamour of the ‘Jazz Age’ and Hollywood. Christchurch residents were hungry to embrace American culture and its new commercialism. Soon the Victorian and Edwardian city was punctuated with ‘picture palaces’ that appeared to shoot up in rapid succession. The movie theatres which were…

The Government Provincial Buildings

Christchurch has a frontier appearance about it in this photograph taken by Dr. Barker in 1860 from the tower of the Canterbury Provincial Buildings.  With little beyond the immediate streets, it certainly has an appearance of being very small and very isolated in the middle of a large swampy plain.  However, there are some semblances…

The Royal Exchange, Cathedral Square, 1905

The Royal Exchange’s beautiful tower, dome and decorative facade is taking shape as the building nears completion. Fresh to the shores of New Zealand,  the Australian architect brothers and partners, Alfred Edward (1872 – 1932) and Edward Sydney “Sidney” Luttrell (1865 – 1924) were commissioned to design a building.  Their concept was a mixture of decorative…

Edwardian and Elegant Working Class Sydenham c.1912

Marking Time in Sydenham In 1912, the impressive Sydenham Post Office stood as a sentinel on the busy corner of Colombo and Brougham Streets. It was a huge post office which served a large community of citizens living around this suburb and commercial street. The photograph appears to have been taken on a quiet summer…

Deutsche Kirche, corner of Worcester and Montreal Streets, 1880

It is the year 1880 and Wilhelmina Arnst and John Christian Aschen have just married in the Deutsche Kirche, on the corner of Worcester and Montreal Streets. They stand outside on the street with their family, friends, Pastor Theodore Albert Meyer (third from the right) and his wife and daughter. The German church was built…

Botany, Physics Department and Observatory, Canterbury College 1919

The most beautiful quadrangles lead to the Botany and Physics Department and Observatory of the Canterbury College, University of New Zealand in 1919. In 1873 the Provincial Council passed the Canterbury College ordinance to provide higher education in buildings adjacent to Boys High School on the corner of Worcester and Antigua Streets. Three professors of…

The Chief Post Office

The moving of the Post Office from Market Square to its new site in Cathedral Square, was a significant development in Cathedral Square’s importance in Christchurch business and city life. The building was designed by the English trained government architect , William H. Clayton, in a stately Italianate Renaissance Palazzo style. Unfortunately Clayton died in…