Port Lyttelton – ‘a mean, insignificant little place’

This land-locked port of Lyttelton – called occasionally Port Cooper and sometimes Port Victoria – is the main, or rather the only, entrance to the Province of Canterbury. The surrounding hills, which are entirely volcanic, vary in height from 2000 ft, to 6000 ft, and bear, on close inspection, very palpable marks of calcination. The…

The Glenmark – Tragedy and a Fortune in Colonial Gold

“The tale of a shipwreck has for most readers a fascination unequalled by any other of the many forms of tragedy which from time to time sweep some unlucky band or section of humanity into eternity, and during last century [19th Century] shipping disasters were all too frequent around our rugged and then little-known coast….

The Oldest Building in Canterbury

“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 the South Belt, near the Southern Cross Hotel, was the earliest of the dwellings occupied by the dwellers on the plains.”

A Visit to the Suburbs and a Parting Nor’ Wester

Notes on a Christchurch Trip By Fabian Bell Part V: A Visit to Some of the Suburbs and a Parting Nor’ Wester The room in which Bishop Julius was entertained at luncheon the other day is a particularly striking one. It is in the building which was formerly (when each province had its separate Government)…

The First Car Comes to Christchurch

A Packing Case on Wheels Local and General. Star, Issue 6789, 8 May 1900, Page 3 A weird-looking vehicle has recently been seen travelling through the streets of the city much to the amusement and astonishment of the onlookers. At first appearance it looks like an ordinary packing case placed on three wheels, the Jehu…

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…

Going Under Canvas at Sumner – 1890s

During the past year or two it has been customary for a number of parties of young men to go into camp at Sumner for the summer months, and to come up to Christchurch during business hours. Special facilities for this purpose having been offered by the Christchurch Tramway Company, the number of camps has…

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…

Captain Lorraine’s Final Fatal Balloon Ascent

Captain Lorriane Loses his Life The Balloon Carried out to Sea A Terrible Fall. The Aeronaut Drowned, Fruitless Search for his Body. Star, Issue 6633, 3 November 1899, Page 4 Not one of the thousand spectators who gathered at Lancaster Park yesterday afternoon to witness the balloon ascent of Captain Lorraine would willingly pass through…

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…