ChristChurch Cathedral, Christchurch

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"Christchurch Cathedral" redirects here. For the Roman Catholic cathedral in Christchurch, see Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Christchurch. For other cathedrals, see Christ Church Cathedral (disambiguation).
ChristChurch Cathedral
ChristChurch, Cathedral Square in 2006
Coordinates: 43°31′52″S 172°38′13″E / 43.531°S 172.637°E / -43.531; 172.637
Location Christchurch Central City
Country New Zealand
Denomination Anglican
Website christchurchcathedral.co.nz
Architecture
Heritage designation Category I
Designated 7 April 1983
Architect(s) George Gilbert Scott
Benjamin Mountfort
Architectural type Gothic Revival style
Clergy
Bishop(s) Victoria Matthews

ChristChurch Cathedral is a deconsecrated Anglican cathedral in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. It was built between 1864 and 1904, in the centre of the city surrounded by Cathedral Square. It was the cathedral seat of the Bishop of Christchurch in the New Zealand tikanga of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

Over its history, the building (mostly the spire) has been damaged by earthquakes in 1881, 1888, 1901, 1922, and September 2010. The February 2011 Christchurch earthquake destroyed the spire and part of the tower, and severely damaged the structure of the remaining building. The remainder of the tower was demolished in March 2012, and the west wall collapsed in the June 2011 earthquake due to a steel structure that was supposed to stabilise the rose window pushing it in. The Anglican Church hierarchy is determined to demolish the building and replace it with a new structure, which is one of the most controversial topics in post-quake Christchurch. Various groups have opposed the church, including taking it to court. So far, the judgements have mostly been in favour of the church, with one more judgement pending. No demolition has occurred since the removal of the tower in early 2012.

Since 15 August 2013, the cathedral community has been worshipping at the Cardboard Cathedral.

History[edit]

The origins of the cathedral date back to the plans of the Canterbury Association, which aimed to build a city around a central cathedral and college in the Canterbury region, based on the English model of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. In the original survey of central Christchurch (known as the Black Map), undertaken in 1850, it was envisaged for the college and cathedral to be built in Cathedral Square.[1] The area set aside for the college was found to be insufficient, and Henry Sewell suggested in June 1853 to move it to land reserved for the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.[2] This transaction was formalised through The Cathedral Square Ordinance 1858 passed by the Canterbury Provincial Council in October 1858.[3] The ordinance allowed for Colombo Street to go through the middle of Cathedral Square at a legal width of 1.5 chains (99 ft; 30 m) with the cathedral to the west.[3]

Henry Harper, the first Bishop of Christchurch, arrived in 1856 and began to drive the cathedral project.[4] Christianity has adopted the practice of praying towards the East as the Orient was thought of as containing the mankind's original home. Hence, most Christian churches are oriented towards the east,[5][6] and to comply with this convention, Harper lobbied to have the eastern side of Cathedral Square to be used. That way, the main entrance would face Colombo Street, resulting in praying towards the east in line with convention.[7] The Cathedral Square Amendment Ordinance 1859, formalised this change.[8]

In 1858 the project was approved by the diocese and a design was commissioned from George Gilbert Scott, a prolific British architect known for his Gothic Revival churches and public buildings (he later built St Pancras railway station in London, England, and St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland). Scott never visited Christchurch, but handed over the oversight of the project to Robert Speechly.[4]

Aerial view of Cathedral Square showing the curved alignment of Colombo Street (pre-1954)

Just before work on the foundations began, the alignment of Colombo Street through Cathedral Square was changed by introducing a curve towards the west, with the western side of the legal road having a radius of 3 chains 75 links (75 m),[9] to place the cathedral slightly further west, making its tower visible along Colombo Street from a distance.[7]

The cornerstone was laid on 16 December 1864, but financial problems in the fledgling city saw its completion delayed between 1865 and 1873. At the start of the project, Christchurch was still a small town (its male population numbering only 450) and raising funds for construction proved to be difficult. Commentators of the time voiced their disappointment at the lack of progress – the novelist Anthony Trollope visited in 1872 and referred to the "vain foundations" as a "huge record of failure".[4]

In 1873 a new resident architect, New Zealander Benjamin Mountfort, took over and construction began again. Mountfort adapted Scott's design, adding tower balconies and the west porch and decorative details such as the font, pulpit and stained glass.[4] The initial plans called for wooden construction, but were changed with the discovery of a source of good quality stone locally. Banks Peninsula totara and matai timber were used for the roof supports.[10]

ChristChurch Cathedral prior to 1894 without the western porch

The nave, 100 foot (30 m) long, and tower were consecrated on 1 November 1881, but the transepts, chancel and sanctuary were not finished until 1904.[10] The Christchurch Beautifying Society planted two plane trees to the south in 1898.[10]

The Rhodes family, who arrived in Canterbury before the First Four Ships, provided funds for the tower and spire. Robert Heaton Rhodes built the tower in memory of his brother George and the spire was added by George's children. The family purchased eight bells and a memorial window and paid for renovations as required. In May 2012, the Rhodes memorial window depicting St John the Evangelist was recovered from the north wall.[11]

The spire reached to 63 metres (207 ft) above Cathedral Square. Public access provided for a good viewpoint over the centre of the city, but the spire had been damaged by earthquakes on four occasions. The tower originally contained a peal of ten bells, cast by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough, and hung in 1881. The original bells were replaced in 1978 by 13 new bells, also cast at Taylors.[12]

In 1894, the widow of Alfred Richard Creyke arranged for the western porch to be built in his memory.[13] On the south side of the nave there is a Watts-Russell Memorial Window in memory of her first husband.[14]

The cathedral underwent major renovations during 2006 and 2007, including the replacement of the original roof slates.

Earthquakes[edit]

ChristChurch Cathedral, before the 1901 earthquake damaged its spire
ChristChurch Cathedral the day after the February 2011 earthquake collapsed its spire (note the round rose window still intact)

The Canterbury region has experienced many earthquakes and, like many buildings in Christchurch, the cathedral has suffered earthquake damage.

1881
A stone was dislodged from the finial cap, immediately below the terminal cross within a month of the cathedral's consecration.[15]
1888
Approximately 8 metres of stonework fell as a result of 1 September 1888 North Canterbury earthquake. The stone spire was replaced.[15]
1901
The top of the spire fell again as a result of 16 November 1901 Cheviot earthquake. It was replaced with a more resilient structure of Australian hardwood sheathed with weathered copper sheeting, with an internal mass damper.[15] The repairs were funded by the Rhodes family.
1922
One of the stone crosses fell during 25 December 1922 Motunau earthquake.[16]
2010
4 September 2010 Canterbury earthquake caused some superficial damage and the cathedral was closed for engineering inspections until 22 September 2010, when it was deemed safe to reopen.[17] Further damage was sustained in the "Boxing Day Aftershock" on 26 December.[18]
2011 February
The 6.3-magnitude earthquake on 22 February 2011 left the cathedral damaged and several surrounding buildings in ruins. The spire was completely destroyed, leaving only the lower half of the tower standing. While the walls and roof remained mostly intact, the gable of the west front sustained damage and the roof over the western section of the north aisle, nearest the tower, collapsed from falling tower debris.[19] Further inspections showed that the pillars supporting the building were severely damaged and investigations of damage to the foundations will determine whether the cathedral can be rebuilt on the site.[20]
Preliminary reports suggested that as many as 20 people had been in the tower at the time of its collapse,[21][22][23] but a thorough examination by Urban Search and Rescue teams found no bodies.[24]
2011 June
The cathedral suffered further damage on 13 June 2011 from the 6.4-magnitude June 2011 Christchurch earthquake with the rose window in the west wall falling in[25] and raised the question of "... whether the cathedral needed to be deconsecrated and demolished".[26]
2011 December
The cathedral suffered further damage from the swarm of earthquakes on 23 December, the largest measuring 6.0 on the Richter magnitude scale, during which what remained of the rose window collapsed.[27]

Interior[edit]

The nave of the cathedral in 2010

The high altar's reredos was made from kauri planks from an old bridge over the Hurunui River and includes six carved figures: Samuel Marsden, Archdeacon Henry Williams, Tamihana te Rauparaha, Bishop George Selwyn, Bishop Henry Harper and Bishop John Patteson.[28]

The pulpit, designed by Mountford, commemorates George Selwyn, the first and only Bishop of New Zealand. Mountford also designed the font, which was donated by Dean Stanley of Westminster Abbey in memory of his brother, Captain Owen Stanley of HMS Britomart, who arrived in Akaroa in 1840.[12]

The cathedral contains the throne and memorial to Bishop Harper, the first Bishop of Christchurch and the second Primate of New Zealand, who laid the foundation stone in 1864 and preached at the consecration service in 1881.[29] In the west porch are stones from Canterbury Cathedral, Christchurch Priory, Tintern Abbey, Glastonbury Abbey, Herod's Temple, St Paul's Cathedral and Christ Church, Oxford.[30]

The north wall includes a mural dado of inlaid marble and encaustic tiles, donated by the Cathedral Guild in 1885, which includes fylfot motifs. A memorial window above the mural was donated in memory of Sir Thomas Tancred, Bt (1808–1880).[12][31]

The Chapel of St Michael and St George was opened by the Governor-General, Sir Bernard Freyberg VC, on Remembrance Day (6 November 1949) and dedicated to Archbishop Campbell West-Watson.[32]

Heritage listing[edit]

Tablet listing the members of the Canterbury Association - one of the many memorials within the building

On 7 April 1983, the church was registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a Category I historic place, registration number 46. It is the only church designed by Scott in New Zealand. Its design was significantly influenced by Mountfort. It is a major landmark and tourist attraction, and for many it symbolises the ideals of the early settlers. There are numerous memorial tablets and memorial windows, acting as a reminder of the early people and the region's history.[33] For example, a list of the 84 members of the Canterbury Association was first compiled for volume one of A History of Canterbury. Even before the history was published in 1957, a memorial tablet of the members was installed in the western porch in 1955.[34]

Proposed demolition[edit]

ChristChurch Cathedral in July 2012 showing the demolished tower and the collapsed west wall. As of October 2014, this is still the current situation
ChristChurch Cathedral in September 2012 showing partial demolition

It was announced on 28 October 2011 that the structure would be deconsecrated and at least partially demolished,[35] although it was not clear whether any parts would be retained and included in a future building; this would depend on the state of the fabric as determined during the work.[36] ChristChurch Cathedral was deconsecrated on 9 November 2011.[37]

On 2 March 2012, Bishop Victoria Matthews announced that the building would be demolished.[38] She questioned the safety of the building and stated that rebuilding could cost NZ$50 million more than insurance would cover and that a new cathedral would be built in its place.[39]

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) backed the demolition due to safety concerns.[40][better source needed] The decision was supported by 70 local Christchurch churches and Christian groups.[41]

In September 2012, Bishop Matthews suggested sharing a new church with the Roman Catholic community, as their place of worship was also damaged in the quakes. The Roman Catholic diocese was not receptive to the idea.[42]

Opposition[edit]

There has been opposition to demolition, with heritage groups including the UNESCO World Heritage Centre opposing the action. A local character, the Wizard of New Zealand, made protests calling for the cathedral to be saved.[43]

Kit Miyamoto, an American-based structural engineer and expert in earthquake rebuilding, inspected the cathedral after the September 2010 quake. He cited his experience in stating that restoring and strengthening of the building was both "feasible and affordable".[39]

In April 2012, a group of engineers from the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering launched a petition seeking support of 100 colleagues to stop the demolition. They claimed that legal action was also a possibility.[44] In the same month the Restore Christchurch Cathedral Group was formed and sought signatures for a petition to save the cathedral.[45][dead link][46]

Progress[edit]

In late March 2012, demolition began and the scope involved removing the windows and removing the tower.[47] By 23 April 2012, the stained glass of nine windows had been removed and work had begun to pull down masonry from the tower to give safe access to more stained glass windows.[48] On 15 November 2012 the High Court issued an interim judgement[49] granting an application for judicial review made by the Great Christchurch Buildings Trust, challenging the lawfulness of the decision to demolish. This placed a stay on further demolition.

While accepting that the application for judicial review should be granted, the court did not set aside the decision of the church at this stage. Because the diocese had indicated it wanted to rebuild on the site, its decision to demolish was "incomplete" but not unlawful. It was said that the diocese should have an opportunity to reconsider and complete its decision having regard to the interim judgement.

In granting the review, Justice Chisholm ruled the diocese must formally commit to rebuilding a cathedral in Cathedral Square, but was not required to replicate the cathedral as it stood before the quake. Justice Chisholm did not set any time frame but ruled that he wanted the review to take place "as soon as possible".[50]

In early December 2013, the Supreme Court rejected a bid to preserve the cathedral. Whilst the diocese interpreted this as being free to demolish the building and continue with plans for a replacement[51][better source needed] demolition has not commenced, as there is still another court case pending.

Transitional cathedral[edit]

Main article: Cardboard Cathedral

Construction of a temporary cathedral started on 24 July 2012.[52] The site, on the corner of Hereford and Madras Streets, several blocks from the permanent location, was blessed in April 2012.[53] Designed by architect Shigeru Ban and seating around 700 people, it was expected to be completed by Christmas 2012, but the completion date was put back to July and then August 2013. The materials used in its construction include cardboard tubes, timber and steel.[54] The dedication service was held on 15 August 2013.

In November 2012 the diocese began fund raising to pay for the NZ$5 million project, following a High Court judge indicating it may not be legal to build a temporary cathedral using its insurance payout.[55]

Deans[edit]

Dean Peter Beck with a member of the US Armed Forces

Beck resigned in late 2011 from his role with the Anglican Church; disagreement between Beck and Bishop Matthews were cited as his reason for leaving.[61] He was succeeded as dean by Lynda Patterson, for the first 20 months in an acting position, but as ChristChurch Cathedral was inaccessible, Patterson first worked at St Michael and All Angels and then at the Cardboard Cathedral.[62][63]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Wigram 1916, p. 147.
  2. ^ Sewell 1980, pp. 306f.
  3. ^ a b "Session X 1858 (October to December 1858)" (PDF). Christchurch City Libraries. pp. 12–14. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Cathedral History". Christchurch Cathedral. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  5. ^ "Orientation of Churches". Catholic Encyclopedia. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  6. ^ Peters, Bosco (30 April 2012). "Architectural Design Guidelines 1". Liturgy.co.nz. Retrieved 3 December 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Wigram 1916, p. 148.
  8. ^ "Session XI 1859 (September 1859 to January 1860)" (PDF). Christchurch City Libraries. pp. 7f. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  9. ^ "Session XXII 1864 (August to September 1864)" (PDF). Christchurch City Libraries. pp. 8f. Retrieved 1 May 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c The Cathedrals of Christchurch, Christchurch City Libraries
  11. ^ "Rhodes Window saved". The Press (Christchurch). 4 May 2012. p. A14. 
  12. ^ a b c "The Nave – Northern Side / Inside the Cathedral / About / Home". ChristChurch Cathedral. 1 November 1981. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  13. ^ Smith, Jo-Anne. "Watts Russell, Elizabeth Rose Rebecca". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  14. ^ "The Nave – Southern Side". ChristChurch Cathedral. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  15. ^ a b c "Cathedral no stranger to quake damage". Brisbane Times. 22 February 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  16. ^ "Our Shaky History". Environment Canterbury. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  17. ^ "Cathedral re-opens after clearance". Anglicantaonga.org.nz. 22 September 2010. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  18. ^ Christchurch Cathedral. "Christchurch Cathedral : Emergency Architecture, New Zealand". christchurchcathedral.co.nz. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  19. ^ "First look inside collapsed Christchurch Cathedral". bbc.co.uk. 22 February 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  20. ^ "Cathedral damage worse than feared". TVNZ. 28 May 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  21. ^ "65 dead in devastating Christchurch quake". Stuff.co.nz. 23 February 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  22. ^ Interview, Radio New Zealand, broadcast 22 February 2011.
  23. ^ 'We may be witnessing New Zealand's darkest day': PM says 65 killed in quake, The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 February 2011.
  24. ^ "Christchurch quake: 'No bodies' in cathedral rubble". BBC News. 5 March 2011. 
  25. ^ "Landmarks suffer further damage". stuff.co.nz. 15 June 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  26. ^ Gates, Charlie (16 June 2011). "Cathedral future now uncertain". The Press. Retrieved 24 September 2011. 
  27. ^ "Swarm of quakes hits Christchurch – national". Stuff.co.nz. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  28. ^ "The Apse / Inside the Cathedral / About / Home". ChristChurch Cathedral. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  29. ^ Christchurch Cathedral. "Christchurch Cathedral : Emergency Architecture, New Zealand". christchurchcathedral.co.nz. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  30. ^ "West Porch / Inside the Cathedral / About / Home". ChristChurch Cathedral. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  31. ^ Cyclopedia Company Limited (1903). "Sir Thomas Tancred". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Canterbury Provincial District. Christchurch: The Cyclopedia of New Zealand. pp. 372f. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  32. ^ "125th Anniversary Campaign / Support Us / Home". ChristChurch Cathedral. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  33. ^ "Cathedral Church of Christ (Anglican)". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 19 March 2011. 
  34. ^ Hight 1957, p. 242.
  35. ^ Charlie Gates. "Christ Church Cathedral To Be Partially Demolished...". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2 March 2012. 
  36. ^ "Cathedral to be deconsecrated" (Press release). Anglican Church of Canada. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  37. ^ Christchurch Cathedral. "Christchurch Cathedral : Emergency Architecture, New Zealand". christchurchcathedral.co.nz. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  38. ^ "Christ Church Cathedral to be pulled down". Stuff.co.nz. 2 March 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  39. ^ a b Manhire, Toby (2 March 2012). "Christchurch's quake-damaged cathedral to be demolished". London: Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  40. ^ "Christchurch cathedral to be demolished". Liturgy. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  41. ^ Carville, Olivia (3 April 2012). "Church leaders back bishop". The Press. Retrieved 22 April 2012. 
  42. ^ "Anglicans talk of super-cathedral". 3 News. NZ Newswire. 9 September 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  43. ^ "Calls for protection as Cathedral demo crane arrives". The New Zealand Herald. APNZ. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  44. ^ Mann, Charley (17 April 2012). "Cathedral can be saved – engineers". The Press. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  45. ^ "Restore the Christchurch Cathedral website". 
  46. ^ Booker, Jarrod (21 April 2012). "Anglicans mum on cathedral petition". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  47. ^ Mann, Charley (27 March 2012). "Work on cathedral demolition under way". The Press. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  48. ^ Gates, Charlie (23 April 2012). "Crane begins tower's demolition". The Press. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  49. ^ "Interim Judgement of Chisholm J" (PDF). Stuff.co.nz. High Court of New Zealand. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  50. ^ Greenhill, Marc (21 November 2012). "New church on cathedral site likely". The Press. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  51. ^ "Anglican Taonga : New Zealand's Anglican News Leader". anglicantaonga.org.nz. Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  52. ^ "Underway at Last" Cathedral website[dead link]
  53. ^ "Site blessed for cardboard cathedral". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 23 April 2012. 
  54. ^ Mann, Charley (16 April 2012). "Work to start on cardboard cathedral". stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 20 April 2012. 
  55. ^ Mead, Thomas (29 November 2012). "Fundraiser started for Cardboard Cathedral". 3 News. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  56. ^ "The late Dean Harper". Evening Post. 7 January 1930. p. 11. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  57. ^ "Obituary: Very Rev. C. W. Carrington". Evening Post. 7 August 1941. p. 11. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  58. ^ "Sullivan, Martin Gloster". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  59. ^ Reid 2003, p. 110.
  60. ^ "Former Dean of Christchurch dies". The Press. 29 April 1997. p. 4. 
  61. ^ Gates, Charlie (9 December 2011). "Dean quit after bishop 'made position untenable'". The Press. Retrieved 9 December 2011. 
  62. ^ "It's official: Dean Lynda Patterson". Anglican Taonga. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2014. 
  63. ^ Broughton, Cate (21 July 2014). "Cathedral dean Lynda Patterson dies". The Press. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]