Jul 4, 2009

Same View Over 158 Years

Covering a period of 158 years, these are five southerly views of Colombo Street from the vicinity of Victoria Square.


1851


1868


1882


1949


2009

4 comments:

Canterbury Photography said...

I think I prefer the way Colombo Street looked in 1868.

Canterbury Heritage said...

Viewed as a whole, the Christchurch photographic record indicates that, in the earliest period of settlement, the city was almost indistinguishable from the towns of Eastern Australia or the American mid-West.

However, by the early 1900s, it had acquired the look of a cosmopolitan European city. The decline began in the early 1960s, with too many inner city buildings of architectural distinction making way for the nondescriptly utilitarian.

Our earliest forebears built a city of wood, their sons rebuilt it in brick, and their grandsons in stone to last centuries. Three further generations on, the fast-buck merchants erect concrete boxes to last a generation or two.

Jayne said...

Love the comparative montage, they're great :)
Is it a trick of the picture or is the road wider in 1868 than in 1882, and then marginally narrower again in 1949?

What was it with the 1960's and the almost complete world-wide loathing of all buildings more than 5 mins old?!

Canterbury Heritage said...

The wider road perception in 1868 rather than in 1882 probably relates to the depth of field of the different camera lenses.

The almost complete world-wide loathing of buildings from the 1960s on probably relates to the lack of craftsmanship evident in earlier times; the modernist styles that developed from the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Bauhaus movement all too often afforded more floor space per buck in buildings with planned obsolescence. Thus utilitarian pragmatism over rides superfluous quality in an era when the short term return on shareholder's equity is more important than design aesthetics.