Apr 14, 2009

1906 Christchurch Panorama


Photographed from the southern tower of the New Zealand Exhibition building is this easterly 1906 panorama of Christcurch. Restored from three photographs, across the foreground is Park Terrace.

1. The house to the extreme Left was constructed by George Braund Woodman in 1858. Originally a carpenter, Woodman (1826-1890) became a partner in the road contracting enterprise of Woodman & Wright, using much of the profit to make pastoral investments in the Ellesmere district.

Woodman was also the first Publican of the Devonshire Arms Hotel, original home of Latimer Square's Christchurch Club. Dating from 1852, the Devonshire Arms on the south-east corner of Durham and Peterborough Streets was rebuilt in 1876 as Barrett's Family Hotel to the design of the renowned William Barnett Armson. Subsequently renamed the Gladstone Hotel, it was one of the city’s oldest hostelries, being demolished in 2005 to make way for an office building. Parts of the 1876 structure have been incorporated in the new building.

2. Set in spacious grounds to its Right, at the corner of Kilmore Street, is the much enlarged Macfarlan house of 1864.

3. The dwelling on the opposite corner is yet to be identified, but above it is Cranmer Square and on the sky line can be seen the tall chimney of the Christchurch City Council's 1903 refuse destructor near to the corner of Manchester and Armagh Streets. The incinerator not only generated the city's first electricty supply (with a pair of 100 Kilowatt generators driven by two steam engines), but also heated the adjacent 1908-1947 swimming baths in Manchester Street.

4. To the centre foregound, at the northern corner of Park Terrace and Chester Street, is the Reginald Cobb house of 1871. Cobb was a partner with Henry Sawtell in Cobb, Sawtell and Company, general, wine and spirit merchants and agents for the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency. In 1916 it would become Helen Connon Hall, a hostel for 70 university students until 1974. Sold by the University of Canterbury to the 1881 Cathedral Grammar School and renamed Chester Hall, it was demolished in 2001. The site is now occupied by the relocated 1886 St Saviour’s church from Lyttleton.

5. On the other corner of Chester Street is the 1880 home of the Reverend William Henry Elton (1845-1914), Cathedral Precentor. Elton's house was later purchased by the Church Property Trustees to become the Cathedral Grammar School. It was demolished in September 1985.

6. Next to it is the much smaller Sanders house, built in 1880 and demolished 1977.

7. To the far Right, at the corner of Rolleston Avenue and Armagh Street is the extant 1867 house built for the lawyer George Harper, fourth son of the city's first Bishop. It has been owned by the nearby Christ's College since 1918.

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