Mar 19, 2009

Christchurch Now & Then: High Street

North-westerly views of upper High Street from the Cashel Street intersection, circa 1906 and 2009.

The earlier image is from a postcard printed in Germany and published (possibly by Craig's Pictorial Postcard Depot of Colombo Street) in both monochrome and hand coloured versions, probably to coincide with the Christchurch International Exhibition of 1906-7.

To indicate the modernity of Christchurch, a motor bus, which first entered the photographic record in 1905, is included in the photograph.

A much enlarged version of the earlier image, annotated on the 7th of February 1908, can be seen on The New Zealand Journal web site.


kuaka said...

Thanks for putting up a recent view of the scene. I've only one from that spot looking down Cashel St. Besides, the current view down High St depresses me as it did in person in Jan 2009.

Any bets on which was the more prosperous period, in real terms, for this stretch of High Street - 1908 or 2008? My guess would be 1908 or at least 1906/07 when the huge influx of visitors to Chch for the Exhibition would've swelled local business coffers for accommodation, meals, and some retailing.

Kuaka, New Zealand Journal

Canterbury Heritage said...

The boom and bust economy of Canterbury reached another low in the late 1880s and the first decade of the new century was a period of boom in the commercial prosperity of the province.

During that earlier era the development of significant projects included Victoria Square, New Zealand's tallest building, the Royal Exchange, The Press, Government and Dominion buildings and Warners Hotel in Cathedral Square, the nearby Clarendon Hotel, a new Theatre Royal, the Agricultural and Industrial Hall (later the Civic Chambers) in Manchester Street, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, new police and fire stations and the King Edward Barracks (the city's largest venue for civic functions), etc. Many of the city's substantial mansions also date from this period. At Lyttelton a new Tug and also a Dredge were commissioned.

By comparison, the first decade of the twenty-first is marked by the sheer frequency of empty retail premises and "For Lease" signs on office buildings. In this decade the only new buildings of any consequence are budget hotels offering a couple of nights accommodation for foreign tourists heading for Queenstown and Milford Sound.

Jayne said...

My Great Grandparents had migrated from Scotland to Otago (can't locate them after they disembarked from the ship 'Wellington')in 1876 and they spent 4 years there pupping 3 more children before (we assume) the lack of employment sent them on to Melbourne, where great-grandfather had to travel constantly to find work as a boiler maker.

Canterbury Heritage said...

Jayne, you could try our bespoke search engine: New Zealand Cultural Heritage and Social History Search Engine.

Jayne said...

Ohh, thanks for that!

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