Nelson's landmark cathedral stands proudly on Church Hill. The first church was a tent erected when Bishop Selwyn visited in 1842. It was replaced with a simple converted wooden building bought from the New Zealand Company
The Anglican Church bought an acre of land at the summit of the hill in 1848, and in June 1850 the foundation stone of a purpose-built church was laid. The new Christ Church was dedicated on 14 December, 1851, and its rapidly expanding congregation saw it enlarged in 1859 and again in 1866.
In September 1858 Queen Victoria issued Letters Patent establishing Nelson as a bishop's see (or diocese), thereby making Nelson a city. The 150th anniversary of the letters patent and of their arrival in Nelson was marked in September/October 2008 and February 2009.
Nelson's first bishop, Edmund Hobhouse, was consecrated in England in September 1858. He was empowered to make an existing, or future church the Cathedral Church of the Nelson Diocese, and the Church on the Hill assumed the unofficial status of cathedral. In 1887 Bishop (Andrew) Suter made its status official, saying the people of Nelson had accepted it as such.
By 1883 the old wooden church needed extending again and, while some wanted to build a new cathedral, it was decided in 1886 to start a further expansion. The "new" Christ Church Cathedral was consecrated on 16 February, 1887.
An earthquake in 1893 damaged the wooden spire and concerns about its stability saw the demolition of the spire and tower in 1916. In 1920 the City Engineer condemned the building as "a menace to the public" and further major repairs were undertaken after fire struck in the same year. It was definitely time for a new cathedral and, after preliminary plans were approved, the foundation stone was laid in August 1925.
The elaborate English Gothic design of the cathedral was to be built in Takaka marble. Work was suspended in 1932, during the Great Depression, with the partially built marble nave being closed in by a roof and a temporary ceiling. The chancel of the old cathedral was moved and joined onto the front of the new structure. This first stage of the new cathedral was dedicated by Bishop (William) Sadlier on 3 December, 1932. The plan was modified, in an attempt to save money, and work was stopped again by the outbreak of World War II.
It was not until February 1957 that a simplified plan to complete the cathedral, using concrete, was approved. It drew howls of protest, including criticism of how the proposed tower would look from Trafalgar Street. The Nelson Evening Mail declared: "...the changed design cannot compare with the most commanding ecclesiastical site in New Zealand...we are apparently to be satisfied with the second best."
The controversial plan was approved in September 1957, however, and fundraising began. Work started in May 1964 and the new cathedral was dedicated on 28 May, 1967. The cathedral became debt free in 1971 and was consecrated by Bishop (Peter) Sutton on 14 April, 1972.
Today, the concrete sections of the cathedral, particularly the tower, are deteriorating and the church again faces an expensive repair project.
This is the night shot of Christ Church Cathedral of Nelson. Appropriate white balance on my camera was chosen so that it wouldn't appear orangish.
Critiques | Translate
jhm (122410) 2013-01-07 4:25
Thank you very much for your interesting note.
You shows us splendid these entrance of the big church.
This church is wonderful maintain.
Wonderful composition, excellent captured.
Colors and presentation are superb. TFS.
Have a nice day,
- Copyright: Chian Sing Lai (kim_gwan) (268)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2012-11-15
- Categories: Architecture
- Camera: Sony Alpha a35, SAL 18-55 mm F3.5-5.6, SDHC 8G
- Exposure: f/11
- Details: Tripod: Yes
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2013-01-07 3:22