Local Heart, Global Soul

August 7, 2018

The Restoration Of The Trinity…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I did a great deal of my growing up in Christchurch New Zealand. As anyone in any place, rural or city will know, you become familiar with some buildings not just because you personally use them, but because they are landmarks. They are just “there”.

In my early 20’s I had a flat in one part of the central city and a job on the other side of the central city.
I preferred walking to cycling so would take various walking routes to work, one of which this part of Manchester Street and thus often walked past what was always known to me as the “Trinity Church”. I vaguely knew it was no longer a church, but in my mind, and I think in the minds of many others it still was and we always referred to it as such.

As soon as the News spread of the devastating Christchurch earthquakes I know that historic buildings like these would be hit hard. Fortunately, although the damage is significant, this beautiful building is being restored to it’s former glory.
There have had to be some concessions however: for instance: in place of layers of heavy stone blocks to make the tower, there is now a thin veneer of stone, a lighter and safer alternative to make the building future quake proof. There is an information panel on the plastic sheeting screening and separating the site from the public footpath and street area.

The first half reads:

Former Trinity Congregational Church. Architect: Benjamin Woolfield Mountfort (1825-1898). Opened: 17 January 1875. The site cost £ 500 and the building £ 5000. The church is to be restored and a replica tower constructed where the original was destroyed. The basis of the style is early French Gothic, a revival of church architecture of the late 12th and 13th centuries. It was an innovative and challenging design and the first New Zealand example of the style in stone.

Of particular interest is the combination of timber and stone in the interior of the church. In 1974 the church was threatened with demolition but saved as a community theatre until it changed hands again in 1993.
The church then became a popular wedding blessing venue followed by the Octagon restaurant until the building was badly damaged by the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010-2011. Once again it was threatened with demolition until Christchurch Heritage Limited purchased the building in 2013. Heritage Status: Category 1 – Heritage New Zealand, Group 1 – Christchurch City Council District Plan. “

For some reason my computer is refusing to let me rotate quite a few photographs so warning: this post may involve a little head turning. My apologies. The text on the right hand side of the sheet just gives an ownership list of the building, I haven’t typed that out separately. Once again I am seeing buildings in a particular stage of their lives. By the time we next visit, it will probably be complete, or at least nearing completion and it will be interesting to see what function the building will have. For me, with old bricks or thin veneer, this will always be: Trinity Church.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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