Early Days in Sydenham, how the Pioneers Fared

An interesting contribution to the history of the early days of Christchurch, and especially of the district now known as Sydenham, was made by Mr Henry Ffitch, of Glandovey road, Fendalton, in a series of reminiscences related by him to a “Press” representative. “I remember very well,” said Mr Ffitch, “that part of the country…

Rosa Harris’ Corner Shop, Beckenham 1919

It is the start of the second week of June 1919 and New Zealand’s Prime Minister, William Massey and the Minister of Finance, Sir Joseph Ward, are in Paris awaiting the signing of the Peace Treaty with Germany. Back home in Christchurch, at the corner of Colombo and Strickland Streets in Beckenham, Rosa Harris’ grocery…

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…

Mrs Merritt’s Boarding House

Drunkeness was a serious problem in Christchurch by the late 1870s.  It didn’t help that for a city of its size, there were 47 hotels and breweries as opposed to just 10 dentists and chemist shops. Several small churches organised abstinence societies but it wasn’t until the 1880s and ’90s that the temperance movement ramped up its fight against…