Local Heart, Global Soul

February 13, 2012

Sad News about the “Press”…the Last Corner(stone) of the Square…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I’ve almost finished my walking tour of Christchurch city centre…

I’ve been here close to two hours now, talking my time,  adsorbing the scenes and getting used to the rawness of the situation around me.

This area has been hard to photograph, we can’t get close, there are  many empty spaces, there is not a great line of sight.

The furthest corner away from us is the north eastern corner, where the beautiful Christchurch Press Newspaper used to stand.

The Christchurch Press is the ‘institution” of Christchurch newspapers, it’s been keeping the inhabitants of Christchurch, Canterbury and the South Island up to date with News since the first issue appeared in 1851.

In 1909 the paper moved into it’s new building in Cathedral Square and from then on as the decades passed, it’s only cemented it’s place as an iconic Christchurch building and a newspaper institution.

I regret never having taken a decent photo of the building because I always admired it, but fortunately other people did, because I found this stunning image on Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Christchurch_Press_Building_-_as_it_once_was.jpg

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Now all that remains is an empty space, the paper itself lives on and I think they are working out of new premesis close to the airport.

One worker lost their life in the Press Building in the September 22nd 2011 quake, so it’s with mixed emotions that I view the old photo, I adore Heritage buildings and would love to save them whenever possible, but never at the cost of anyones life, that’s for me at least, too high a price to pay.

I look around this last corner of the Square… Warner’s Hotel used to be next door and was just as well known as the Press building but as I stand behind fences some distance away it’s now really hard to see what’s gone and what’s there and if it’s there, for how much longer.

I’m delighted to see that the War Memorial appears to have escaped unscathed, this has always been a favourite of mine, and I find myself smiling at the little Police station… it’s been a stock feature of the Square for decades and it’s reassuringly familiar.

From this corner of the Square comes the constant clatter of demolition noises, the fire engine is on hand to spray water and keep the dust down: there are noises of diggers and jackhammers. I made a small video clip but YouTube is being a bit weird about uploading stuff at the moment so I will add that on another day after I’ve summonded some technical assistance.

I’m almost ready to leave the Square… This little piece of “home” will never be the same, …emotions have been more than I expected, but then too, so has the scale of the damage. Just as it’s time to move on in a physical sense it’s time to move on in an emotional one too.

Easier said than done but you need to start somewhere. I wonder what the future holds for this piece of real-estate ? Someone has poked a little bouquet of flowers into the fence… they’ve long since wilted but the sentiment of eerie sadness that they exude is all around us.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The war memorial…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Little Police kiosk…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Little Mr. doesn’t quite get why there needs to be an engine if there is no fire?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Seemingly unscathed artwork (I love it too) on the other side of the Square…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Quake-scaped lamp-post from a different angle…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

BEFORE photos to compare… (white building in centre currently being demolished)…

(photograph © Thanks to Google Street View)

(photograph © Thanks to Google Street View)

(photograph © Thanks to Google Street View)

1 Comment »

  1. You came near to the cathedral, last time I was there nearly everything was on the red zone

    Comment by Raymund — February 14, 2012 @ 12:01 am | Reply

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