May 29, 2009

Christchurch: Armagh Street 1860 - 1908 - 2008


Matching easterly views of Armagh Street from Oxford Terrace, across Colombo Street, towards Manchester Street, with Victoria Square to the Left. Not one building survived from one photograph to the next.

8 comments:

kuaka said...

>Not one building survived from one photograph to the next.

So, one can be quite hopeful that the aesthetically displeasing structures of 2008 can be expected to disappear by 2060 or so...

The similarly low aesthetic standards of the 1860 & 2008 structures may be noted. The former era's acts are excusable as that of a frontier community that often has to build in haste and cheaply. The latter's stem from just a lack of taste & civic pride. Christchurch, provincial capital.

Canterbury Heritage said...

In spite of the naïve but obsessive boosterism, this provincial capital continues to be a frontier culture. International references to our shallow aesthetic date back to less than seven decades after we were still being referred to as The Cannibal Islands (now that we're being asked to consider yet another name change, a reversion to that former nomenclature might well whet the touristic appetite).

Long referred to as the most English of foreign cities, we would now seem to have devolved into Wichita City in a time warp. But unlike our genuine sister city (same era of foundation, size, grid pattern streets, with a river winding through them, etc.) the most informed opinion would appear to indicate that not long after 2060, the waters will return to Victoria Square and Armagh Street. Then our follies of taste and civic pride might well be reminiscent of no more than the mighty works of King Ozymandias.

kuaka said...

"The Venice of the South"!

- Professor Joseph K. Pumphrey, Chair of Babbittry, Zenith State University, 2060.

Sarndra said...

I'm loving your comparative photo journalism! Keep them up :-) Any with cemeteries? ;-) ... you know me!

Canterbury Heritage said...

The Venice of the South Pacific we might have been had the proposal gone ahead for the city to be connected to the sea via the Avon-Heathcote estuary to the south and the Waimakariri River to the North. Complimented by an enlightened policy of heritage preservation we could now have become a real tourist magnet. Instead we succumbed to an unthinking attachment to lower middle-class social values and materialism. 135,000 tourists visit Venice every week, we get 9,600. If only...
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Cemeteries as a subject of Victorian photography don't seem to have been a popular choice, Sandra. But both the Barbadoes Street Cemetery and the graveyard of the Holy Trinity church in Avonside were photographed in the 1860s. I'll leap onto the bike and re-photograph the same aspects - it would be good to relocate the exact site of the Barbadoes Street Cemetery's 1863 mortuary chapel, which was demolished in 1955.

kuaka said...

I admit to a tad bit of romanticism at the thought of arriving at old Lancaster Park's no. 3 stand, now even bigger concrete thing, by gondola for a rugby match. A 1906 map of the Avon-Heathcote canal proposal suggests the dock area would've been in the Wilson's Rd, Charles St block. This would be most disconcerting to one of my relatives who currently lives where dock no. 3 would be!

On the good news front, Chch'ians eventually "fixed" the drainage thing, while Venice continues to sink further into the mire. But I guess it's only a matter of timing, since you've got greater Chch pegged to be part of an expanded Travis swamp by 2060.

Canterbury Heritage said...

Since the removal of the adjacent heavy industries from its lagoon Venice is no longer sinking, but the restoration of the city's foundations will long continue to be an ongoing process.

Most of inner Christchurch is barely 7 metres above seal level. With the impending loss of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet this will be reduced to somewhere between zero and four metres above seal level. That projection does not take into consideration the domino effect of global warming as a whole.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's projected world temperature increase of 4.1˚C by 2100 would be enough to melt both polar ice sheets, producing a possible 70 metre sea level rise. Venice will be a top scuba diving destination and our grandchildren will all be living on the Port Hills.

Fi from Four Paws and Whiskers said...

To quote an earlier comment - "Not one building survived from one photograph to the next.

So, one can be quite hopeful that the aesthetically displeasing structures of 2008 can be expected to disappear by 2060 or so..."

Appears the Feb 2011 earthquake might achieve the destruction of these new high rise buildings shown in the 2009 photo ... what next?