Nov 12, 2008

Half a Building


Probably photographed in 1906, this is Harry Gudsell's Saddlery on the north side of Cashel Street, in what is now part of the City Mall (between Colombo Street and Oxford Terrace).

The building first enters the city's visual records in 1855 as the premises of the Hairdresser Tommy (Thomas Bowhill) Thompkins (below). Later a Publican at Heathcote, Bowhill Road at North Beach is named after him.

The Saddlery is standing at the extreme Left of an original quarter acre section, first occupied by the premises of the Carrier Richard Sutcliffe and now the site of the Sony Electronics shop (below).

This part of Cashel Street was the first city block to be entirely occupied by buildings and was the centre of the early town's original shopping and banking district. Demand for street frontage could have neccesitated the removal of the the Right hand part of the Saddlery building in order to allow access to the rear for horses and possibly wheeled vehicles at a time when the (not visible) building to the Right of the Saddlery was constructed. It would have been a later building on the same original section, to which the Saddlery appears braced.

The Saddlery would have been sited to the Left of the above group of buildings, photographed in 1862.

The brick building to the Left of the Saddlery was designed by Bejamin Mountfort and built in 1879 as an extension to Mountfort's 1875 Ironmongery for Twentyman and Cousins (below).

Both the 1875 building and the later extension still exist (below), but only the facade of the upper floor of the extension has not been modified beyond recognition. The gated right of way (draped with blankets in the top photograph) is also extant and would have originally given access to stables and for the weekly night cart.

At the time that the top photograph was taken the Twentyman and Cousins' building had become the premises of A. G. Healing and Company, bicycle trade suppliers and vendors of the Ideal and Leader brands of bicycle tyres.

An early photograph of Harry and Sarah Ann Gudsell

Born at Weedons in 1871, Henry (Harry) Gudsell is recorded as a Saddler at Sefton in 1905. By 1910 he was living in Division Road (now Street), Riccarton, later moving to nearby Picton Avenue.

Probably the last surviving building from the earliest phase of the inner city's development Harry's Saddlery had been replaced by 1907 with a two storey brick building. Harry moved his premises to the other side of the old Twentyman and Cousins' building. The business is listed at the new address in 1925 as Gudsell and Close, Saddlers of 81 Cashel Street.

A Board member of the Wharenui School, he was also a Councillor of the Riccarton Borough from 1913 until 1929. Harry Gudsell died in 1937.

Canterbury Heritage is gratefully indebted to Anthony Rackstraw, publisher of the excellent Early Canterbury Photographers web site for the photograph of his forebear's half building, which appears to be unique in the Christchurch visual record.


kuaka said...

Excellent work!

Nice to see new posts over at Mr Rackstraw's Early Canterbury Photographers site too.

Canterbury Heritage said...

Probably the most enjoyable aspect of this type of research is the detective role. Ascertaining the exact location of this half-building was entirely reliant on the decorative ornamentation of Mounfort's adjacent Venetion Gothic structure (but now with 8,377 geo-tagged historic photos in the archive, it's becoming a little easier).

Sarndra said...

Fabulous learning a bit more about the old buildings now long gone. Hadn't heard about this one before :-)