St Saviour's Chapel

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St Saviour's Chapel
St Saviour's Anglican Church 90.JPG
St Saviour's Chapel at its Cathedral Grammar School site
Coordinates: 43°31′39″S 172°37′43″E / 43.5275°S 172.6285°E / -43.5275; 172.6285
LocationCathedral Grammar School, Christchurch Central City
CountryNew Zealand
Consecrated29 October 1885
Heritage designationCategory II
Designated24 June 2005
Architect(s)Cyril Mountfort

St Saviour's Chapel is an Anglican church in Christchurch, New Zealand. Originally located in Lyttelton, it was relocated to Cathedral Grammar School in the 1970s. Following the earthquakes and the demolition of the Anglican church in Lyttelton, St Saviour's is to be relocated back to Lyttelton on to the site of the former Holy Trinity Church.


Damage inside the Holy Trinity Church in Lyttelton, which was later demolished and is to be replaced by St Saviour's Chapel

Benjamin Woolley Dudley (1805–1892) was the first vicar of Lyttelton, having arrived on the Cressy.[1] He advocated for a second church in Lyttelton in a separate parish. His idea of a second church found support, but the separate parish was not. Dudley left an endowment to the church that could only be uplifted if the parish was divided. Hence, the parish of West Lyttelton was formed and a curate appointed in 1885.[2]

Cyril Mountfort was chosen as the architect for the chapel. During construction, sections of the building were transported onto the chosen site (the corner of Simeon Quay and Brittan Terrace in west Lyttelton) and bolted together. St Saviour's was consecrated on 29 October 1885 by Bishop Harper. The design allowed for three further sections to be added later, but the predicted growth of the congregation did not happen and the chapel was never extended.[2][3] Robert Falcon Scott and crew worshipped here prior to the Discovery and Terra Nova Expeditions.[2] Scott and his polar party reached the South Pole on the latter expedition, but they died on their return journey.[4]

In 1964, the urban area of Lyttelton was united into one parish, and over time, St Saviour's became secondary, with the focus being on Holy Trinity Church at 17 Winchester Street. In 1975, the parishioners offered the building to the Christchurch Diocese and the decision was made to give the chapel to Cathedral Grammar School. The chapel was dismantled into its sections and transported by truck to its current site on the corner of Chester Street West and Park Terrace in the Christchurch Central City. The chapel was erected on the school grounds in January and February 1976. Its Lyttelton site was used for housing for the elderly.[2] The original altar was given to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) for use in the Antarctic and is now in use in the Chapel of the Snows at McMurdo Station.[5]

St Saviour's Chapel itself suffered only light damage in the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake,[5] but land damage means that it would have been necessary to remove the chapel from its site, so that ground remediation could have been carried out. Paul Kennedy, the headmaster of Cathedral Grammar School, offered the chapel to the Christchurch Diocese, with Bishop Victoria Matthews in turn deciding that of the three applicants, the chapel be given to Lyttelton as a replacement for the Holy Trinity Church, which had been demolished after the earthquakes. It was hoped that the relocated chapel would be available to the parishioners by Christmas 2012,[6] but as of July 2013, the building had not been moved. The logistics of moving the chapel (e.g. by barge or truck) have not been decided yet.[7] Christchurch City Council gave a heritage incentive grant of NZ$143k in July 2013 towards the relocation costs.[8]

Heritage registration[edit]

The church was registered by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a Category II heritage building on 24 June 2005 with registration number 1929.[2]


  1. ^ Cyclopedia Company Limited (1903). "Farmers". The Cyclopedia of New Zealand : Canterbury Provincial District. Christchurch: The Cyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e "St Saviour's Anglican Church (Former)". Register of Historic Places. Heritage New Zealand. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  3. ^ "Consecration of West Lyttelton Church". The Star (5454). 30 October 1885. p. 4. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  4. ^ "Memorial oak to Robert Falcon Scott, Oamaru". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 29 August 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Chapel returning home to Lyttelton". Anglican Taonga. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  6. ^ Mann, Charley (28 May 2012). "Historic school chapel to return to Lyttelton". The Press. p. A6. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  7. ^ "Historic chapel to be relocated". The Press. 27 May 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
  8. ^ "Grant to help with relocation". The Press. 27 July 2013. p. A13.

External links[edit]