Farewell to Christchurch’s Cathedral?

Posted on: December 16th, 2011

This year marked the 200th year anniversary of the Victorian architect Sir George Gilbert Scott’s birth. Whilst the anniversary was a great cause for celebration with the re-opening of Scott’s St Pancras Station, it also brought the sad news of the devastating earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand which damaged Scott’s Cathedral.

Christchurch Cathedral was commissioned from Scott in 1858 by the city’s diocese. Scott himself never visited Christchurch, but gave the project to overseer Robert Speechley. In February 2011, an earthquake ruined the Cathedral’s tower, which had been weakened from the earthquake the previous September. Then in June, a third earthquake destroyed the rose window. After the third earthquake and partial demolition, the church was deconsecrated in November. Now that Christchurch is rebuilding the city, there is great concern that the historic buildings, including the Cathedral are at risk of demolition, as an estimated 50% of buildings in the city’s business district are already listed for demolition.

The Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) was established in February to co-coordinate the rebuilding of Christchurch. Cera has demolished 127 historic buildings and Christchurch Cathedral is at risk of being added to the list unless they take notice of the national preservation organizations such as The Historic Places Trust and members of the public who demand a revision to the demolition plans.

For further information about the situation of Christchurch’s historic buildings read The Art Newspaper’s article here and to help support the preservation of Christchurch’s historic buildings visit Change’s campaign http://chn.ge/u4fSJt