Apr 1, 2009

West End


Much favoured by the professional class, the inner city area between the Avon River and Hagley Park was known as the residential suburb of West End. The name finally faded away in the 1950s.

Above are westerly and easterly views of Armagh Street, across the intersection with Durham Street, in the first decade of last century. Pictured are the buildings of the former Canterbury Provincial Council, which by that time were the offices of the Department of Crown Lands. Built in the mid 1880s and demolished in 1962, the substantial house was typical of the dwellings in this area. 


8 comments:

kuaka said...

ah, i have that 2nd pic on a postcard view and couldn't pick the exact location. Thanks for setting that straight.

Was the West End theatre in Chch more a ref to the Brit West End rather than the a local, throwback to local history ref?

While derivative, the West End moniker has a bit more appeal to it (a revival of its use to be sought?) than the "cultural precinct" label which has me thinking of the cultural police walking the beat. Come to think of it, that was your point the other day about the Chch art gallery...

Canterbury Heritage said...

Probable that both the West End theatre and the suburb were allusions to London's most salubrious quarter. The 1851 Bishop's palace was the first house built in Christchurch's West End, so possibly set the course for a desirable locale. A little surprising that one of the high rise apartment blocks that now pepper the area wasn't named West End, but the name would seem to have disappeared from communal memory.

Cultural Precinct in lieu of the more attractive West End is possibly a barometric indicator of the cultural inbreeding so redolent of isolated communities. After all, this a culture that prosaically renamed its homeland "South Island" in place of the more poetic Te Wai Pounamu (island of the waters of Jade).

Ps.
Chickened out and toned down the article about the Christchurch Art Gallery (but one's personal opinion hasn't changed).

kuaka said...

ah, the prospect of a good handbagging (a la Thatcher) when one next darkens the gallery's doors might well give pause to the most hardened scribbler.

somehow, in contrast, a lifetime ban from the gallery could be seen as a blessing.

Jayne said...

Beautiful buildings again *sigh, pity they've disappeared.

Canterbury Heritage said...

One usually dons working class mufti when lurking in the denizens of the bourgeois - they seem to have a tendency to ignore what is perceived as lesser beings (it's a nifty trick acquired from the Brits at your average 200 room weekender - the Duke's attire was indistinguishable from that of his gardeners).

Yes Jayne, it's a pity that too many have disappeared, but this is frontier town, which still lacks protection for built heritage. The least that I can do is to accumulate a photographic record of what is being lost.

Anonymous said...

Oh... were they left vacant and destroyed by fire?

Canterbury Heritage said...

One of the most curious aspects of last week's destruction of an heritage building by fire is that the local mainstream media reported on two suspicious fires that week - at a convenience store and a motor vehicle, but the historic house didn't rate a mention...

Sarndra said...

I find that reprehensible and heads should roll :-( such is the attitude of our historic buildings amongst those that should be caring.