Feb 7, 2009

The Way We Were

Christchurch's The Star newspaper publishes the regular The Way We Were series of illustrated articles. This week's wee gem is a photograph of a pair of shops in Victoria Square.

The caption includes the following information "... probably around the turn of the 19th century, shows Paddy's Market, a well patronised group of stores and stalls which sold fruit, vegetables and many other bits and pieces."

However, in the intrests of historical accuracy we tender the following:

In what was known as the market place until 1901, the former Immigration Barracks (subsequently the second Fire Station), Police Station and assorted City Council sheds were demolished in 1878. A group of thirteen wooden shops was subsequently erected on the western side of lower Victoria Street, between Armagh Street and the bridge to Papanui. These shops sold only fresh produce, which also included meat and fish. The development was a fairly short lived affair and the photographic record indicates that all of the shops had been removed by 1885. There would appear to be no evidence in the historic record to indicate that any part of Market Place was ever known as "Paddy's Market."

The photograph published in The Star shows the second and third shops at the Armagh Street end of the block. The image comes from a panoramic sequence of five heavily retouched photographs, showing all of the shops in about 1880.


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