May 11, 2009

Historic 1879 Christchurch Photograph Identified


Unidentified until now is a photograph that will be familiar to many with an interest in Christchurch history.

Taken in Cathedral Square in May 1879, it shows a large wooden building in the process of being relocated. In the background is the newly completed Government Building, subsequently the Chief Post Office and now the tourist information centre.

During that era pressure for commercial redevelopment within the inner city saw many dwellings from the earliest residential areas moved to what are now the inner suburbs, where they continue to survive into the twenty-first century.

Shown above is the 1868 Baptist church on its way from Hereford Street to Oxford Terrace. Built for £272 on the site now occupied by the central Police Station, it was relocated next to the subsequent Baptist Tabernacle (below), which continues to occupy the south-east corner of Madras Street and Oxford Terrace.


Enlarged upon its new site, the church re-opened on the 29th of June 1879, becoming the Baptist Sunday School on the completion of its neo-classic replacement in 1882. Damaged by fire in 1903, the front part of the 1868 church was replaced in brick (below). Aerial photographs indicate that the Sunday School was demolished in the early 1970s.



Photo Credits: top; Christchurch Star newspaper archives, center; Early Canterbury Photographers, Bottom; Frederick George Radcliffe (1863-1923).

6 comments:

Jayne said...

Love these photos :)

Canterbury Heritage said...

It's sort of like doing a giant jigsaw puzzle with 10,000 pieces. Found the middle pic this morning and suddenly it all fitted into place.

kuaka said...

Hope it had a WOF while in transit!

Canterbury Heritage said...

By the early 1880s John Anderson's Foundry in Cashel Street was importing steam traction engines from Aveling and Porter of Rochester, England. Then the house moving business really got underway, so in a perfectly flat city, it's not unusual to see old houses that predate the development of the suburbs they now inhabit.

kuaka said...

and then there are the ones that just slid down the Sumner & Cashmere hills. no traction engine needed...

Canterbury Heritage said...

One is relieved to hear that affluence and common sense don't necessarily go hand in hand.