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West Belt Christchurch 1866

West Belt – (Park Terrace, Rolleston Ave) – Christchurch, 1866

I came across the following interesting newspaper article. (and didn’t they have a lovely turn of phrase) It gives you a taste of how, what is now a expensive address, used to look like.
Turning southward from the western extremity of the North Town Belt, we find that the so-called Town Belt has been misnamed, for it is not a belt. It does not encircle the town, but comprises only three sides of a aparallelogram. On the West side of the town the belt is absent, but instead of it, there is Antigua street. Into this we pass over an incline of about four feet, which runs obliquely across the street and find it covered with tussocks and flax bushes. The ground is firm, but very uneven, and two sections of it are cut off from the main area by gullies through which the Avon flows when the water is high. The width of this street, as far south as Armagh Street is irregular, as its western boundary is the river, whose curves it follows.
There are several excellent dwelling houses on the east side of the street, the most handsome of which is that of Mr Hawdon, at the corner of Salisbury street. South of this point, the ground becomes more level, the flax has been left behind, and the tussocks are fewer and smaller. Opposite Peterborough street there is a boat-house. The road has continued to improve, and may now be said to be easily passable by vehicles, and there is a good footpath. At Armagh street there are a foot-bridge across the Avon into Hagley park, and a neat palisade along the margin of the river for the protection of unwary passengers travelling westward. The road here is here metalled, and exhibits signs of much traffic on its surface. The river now winds off to the west, and the road is skirted by the close of Christ’s College Grammar School and Library, whose spire had been long visible in the distance.
Within this scholastic precinct is an assemblage of Gothic and cloistered wooden buildings – a humble colonial offshoot of the grand and time -honoured universities of Great Britain, made to appear as ancient and venerable as the newness of material would permit, and skill of the ecclesiastical architect could accomplish. At the south extremity of the College grounds the street is abruptly narrowed about 40feet by a projection of the Govt Domain, which is continued southward to Cashel Street where it is terminated by the river which by having pursued its devious track around the Collegiate Estate and through the Govt Domain, here runs Eastward and crosses Antigua Street. Opposite the domain, are the house of Rev Torlesse and the asylum, known as The Refuge. There is no bridge at Antigua street, but there is one at the next- Montreal Street.

Lyttelton Times, 2 March 1866

You will note there is no mention of the Canterbury Museum, it didn’t come into being until the 1870’s and the Botanical Gardens seem to have straightened out what is now Rolleston Ave.

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