Feb 6, 2009

Christchurch 1872-2009


LARGE IMAGE OPENS IN A NEW WINDOW

A pair of southerly views of Manchester Street from the intersection with High and Lichfield Streets.

The site of this intersection had been a low lying swamp when construction of the Sumner Road commenced in 1849. This factor, along with the original proposal to build the Christchurch prison in the vicinity, ensured that development in the area did not flourish until the mid 1860s, when Manchester Street south became the principal thouroughfare between the central business district and the railway station.

To the Left in the earlier photograph, at the north-east corner of Manchester and Lichfield Streets, is the recently constructed premises of the grocers Hubbard, Hall & Company, with the offices of the Commercial Union Assurance Company above. The building was demolished in 1929 to make way for the extant Majestic Theatre.

At the south-east corner of Manchester and High Streets (centre Left) is John Barrett's Borough Hotel. Built by George Mouritz in 1865, it replaced Mrs O'Hara's single storey Harp of Erin Tavern. On Boxing Day in 1879 the intersection was the scene of a sectarian riot when parading Orangemen and Irish Catholics (who frequented the Borough Hotel) fought in the streets. The old hotel was demolished in 1881 to be replaced by the renamed Barrett's Hotel. Currently a Backpackers' hostel, the name was changed to the Excelsior Hotel at sometime between 1889 and 1892.

At the south-west corner of Manchester and Lichfield Streets is the Riccarton Mills store, premises of the Scottish Corn merchant Peter Cunningham (1839-1915). This building was demolished in 1904 in favour of the extant first stage of the Ridley's building, now occupied by the Ruben Blades Hairdressing Academy.

At the north-west corner of High and Lichfield Streets (Right) is the first chemist shop of George Hartley Bonnington (1836-1901). A partial reconstruction of this shop can be seen in the Canterbury Museum. Bonnington's pharmacy had originally been the premise of the Draper William Strange (1834-1914), who had subsequently moved to the adjacent shop (at the extreme Right) in 1863. The row of shops was demolished in 1899 to be replaced by a four storey extension to what became the vast department store of Strange & Company. What had become Australasia's largest department store went into liquidation in 1929, and shorn of its cornice and pediment, the dilapated building barely survives into its second century.



COMMENTS

kuaka said...

Very nice past & present item, as usual. Might one add that the Jubilee clock tower stood at the NW corner of High and Manchester Street circa 1897 to sometime in 1930s? It was just behind where the flower beds are in the present day pic. I'll refrain from commenting on the "kinetic" sculpture on the spot today (the red poppy looking object behind the trees).... The clock tower is now at the Victoria & Montreal streets corner.

Canterbury Heritage said...


At a cost of one thousand pounds, the clock in the tower was made to order in England in 1862 from a design prepared by the Provincial Architects Benjamin Mountfort and Isaac Luck. Deemed unsuitable for erection on the stone tower of the Provincial Buildings on the Armagh Street frontage, it lay among the rubbish in the old council yard on Oxford Terrace, where Captain Scott's statue now is. It was eventually erected by means of public subscription in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Jubilee. The intersection became familiarly known as "Clocktower," until the structure was removed in 1930.

The tradition of naming major city junctions has now been lost, but the intersection at Cashel and High Streets was known as "The Triangle" and the intersection of High, Hereford and Colombo Streets was commonly known as "The Bottleneck."

History is not a tale of progress, but a succession of cycles in which civilisation alternates with barbarism. In the case of Christchurch the most significant cultural apogee appears to have been achieved in the 1930s and 1940s. Thus the recently erected and naïvely abstract Poppy mobile on the corner might require a charitable sentiment, with the consolation of knowing that its gimcrackery will date soon enough.



Sarndra said...

Good grief that poppy is just gross....I haven't seen it before. Chch has changed so much even in the 18 months since I left.

4 comments:

kuaka said...

Very nice past & present item, as usual. Might one add that the Jubilee clock tower stood at the NW corner of High and Manchester Street circa 1897 to sometime in 1930s? It was just behind where the flower beds are in the present day pic. I'll refrain from commenting on the "kinetic" sculpture on the spot today (the red poppy looking object behind the trees).... The clock tower is now at the Victoria & Montreal streets corner.

Canterbury Heritage said...

At a cost of one thousand pounds, the clock in the tower was made to order in England in 1862 from a design prepared by the Provincial Architects Benjamin Mountfort and Isaac Luck. Deemed unsuitable for erection on the stone tower of the Provincial Buildings on the Armagh Street frontage, it lay among the rubbish in the old council yard on Oxford Terrace, where Captain Scott's statue now is. It was eventually erected by means of public subscription in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Jubilee. The intersection became familiarly known as "Clocktower," until the structure was removed in 1930.

The tradition of naming major city junctions has now been lost, but the intersection at Cashel and High Streets was known as "The Triangle" and the intersection of High, Hereford and Colombo Streets was commonly known as "The Bottleneck."

History is not a tale of progress, but a succession of cycles in which civilisation alternates with babarism. In the case of Christchurch the most significant cultural apogee appears to have been achieved in the 1930s and 1940s. Thus the recently erected and naïvely abstract Poppy mobile on the corner might require a charitable sentiment, with the consolation of knowing that its gimcrackery will date soon enough.

Sarndra said...

Good grief that poppy is just gross....i haven't seen it before. Chch has changed so much even in the 18 months since i left.

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

and yet "The Poppy" structure is still there gently turning above the carnage of the earthquake in that triangle....in fact, it is the quickest way to have any idea what you are looking at in the photos of the area!