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Posts Tagged ‘Cathedral’

Stephen and I went on a Behind the Fences tour of Christ Church Cathedral, as part of the Beca Heritage Festival.  A group of 24 assembled by the police kiosk in the Square, and had our names ticked off the list.  Only three of these tours are scheduled, and I was glad I’d booked early.  A couple of people who hadn’t booked turned up and were politely told there was no room for them.

It felt privileged to be allowed through the gate and into the area which has been off-limits since February 2011.  We’d all been told to wear long sleeves, long trousers (no dresses or skirts), and enclosed flat shoes suitable for rough surfaces.  One man who was wearing shorts to below his knees was given overalls to put on, and we were all issued with hi-vis vests and hard hats.  All of this is required on the site because of Health and Safety regulations, and nobody under 18 was allowed on the tour.

The marshals were members of the Cathedral Reinstatement Project team, and our guides were two Cathedral Vergers, Jenny May who is Heritage adviser for the reinstatement, and Chris Oldham the Cathedral Administrator.

Commencing the tour with Jenny and Chris

It felt quite emotional to be walking on ground that has been forbidden to us for more than eight years, and to have a close-up view of the earthquake damage.

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Parts have been covered with plywood to make them weatherproof, and some of the treasures have been removed.  The statue of the Risen Christ which stood near the front door has been put into storage.  It’s expected that the reinstatement will take 7-10 years, and is still at the planning stage.  I could well be 80 years old before the reinstatement is complete.  All the bells but one survived their fall.  They’ve been refurbished and will be part of the reinstated building.  Halfway through, and at the end of the tour, a recording of the bells was played – nostalgic as we often heard them from home if the wind was blowing in the right direction.  This recording is played at midday every Friday.

There was no charge for this tour and no request for donations, although we were each given a pamphlet which included information about donating.

On the way back to the car park I was accosted by a Radio New Zealand journalist, asking whether I’d be buying a ticket for tonight’s Powerball Lottery, where the prize is $38 million.  I told him I’d never bought a Lotto ticket and disapproved of gambling (you may hear me on Checkpoint this evening).  I did say that when I was in paid work Lottery had paid part of my salary and I’d appreciated that.  I thought afterwards that the Cathedral reinstatement may well be hoping for financial support from Lottery.

We went inside Cathedral fence
the project planned there is immense.

 

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An alternative cardboard cathedral was erected yesterday in the Market Square of the Arts Centre.  French artist Olivier Grossetete wanted to make something magical in the heart of the city.  With the help of many volunteers he used cardboard boxes and tape to create an exciting construction, which will be demolished at 3pm this afternoon.  It’s an interesting coincidence that this temporary cathedral was erected on the same day that the Anglican Synod finally made the decision to restore our Cathedral in the Square.

“A cardboard building led the way
while Synod members had their say.”

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Mad ideas that might work for the Square’s regeneration were offered by Dr Geoffrey Rice at a Heritage Week talk.   He put forward four main ideas:

1 Paving should incorporate Maori taanako designs.  The Square would then be linked with areas along the river where such designs have already been used, and takata whenua would be acknowledged.

2 Height of surrounding buildings be limited to four storeys.  This would give the Square a human scale, and uniformity.  The dreaded Telecom building would need to go.

3 Arcades (cloisters) all around the Square, with tables and chairs.  We would have shelter from rain and sun, and they could be built on the public land.  Any developers would need to make their buildings interactive with the cloisters, if they want to attract the public.

cathedral-small

4 The Cathedral – there have been many suggestions as to what will happen, and we are all waiting hopefully for a decision in early December.  Dr Rice pointed out that Coventry Cathedral, often offered as a model, is actually two separate buildings, one old and one new.  It would be great to have some kind of tower as a central focal point.  I fondly remember how in my childhood the Cathedral spire could be seen from a far distance (or so it seemed to me).  When we returned to Christchurch I was disappointed to find the spire was no longer able to be used as a reference point because of the tall buildings around it.  Despite rumours to the contrary, the definitive Tonkin and Taylor report has shown that there is no problem building on the Cathedral land.  We could have some kind of pyramidal spire, built on public land if the Anglicans don’t want to do it.  Some suggestions were London’s Gherkin (my favourite!) or Shard, or the Transamerica Tower in San Francisco.  I like this idea.  Will we have the will (and the money) for it to become reality?  What do you think?

“Ideas put forward were not so mad
a focal tower I wish we had.”

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"Forever in our memories"

“Forever in our memories”

This new mural on the corner of Manchester and Gloucester Streets is by someone called “Jonny4Higher”.  I presume that means he creates murals on commission.  I appreciate having this image of the cathedral to remind us of what we’ve lost.

“We may not see its like again.
This mural helps remember when…”

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L is for Labyrinths

Labyrinth at Ely Cathedral

Labyrinth at Ely Cathedral

This is the one at Ely Cathedral. constructed (the labyrinth, that is) in 1870 by Sir George Gilbert Scott, who also designed ChristChurch Cathedral.  The fact that it was just inside the main door meant people were walking across all the time which made it hard to concentrate.  If you walk it, as I did, you will have covered 66 metres, the same distance as the height of the ceiling above.

M is for Mousehole

The quintessential Cornish fishing village.

Mousehole Harbour

Mousehole Harbour

Mousehole (pronounced Mowzel) is absolutely delightful.  We were there on a sunny day when children were playing on the beach.  This photo was taken later as the sun was going down.

“We saw so many lovely sights.
The English countryside delights.”

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The transitional cathedral is now open to the public, and looks wonderful.

Inside the new cathedral

Inside the new cathedral

It’s light and simple and the cardboard tubes give it lovely lines.  I like it and I think most people will too.  It’s so good to finally have the construction fences around it removed.

There was a sign saying that tonight’s concert has sold out.  I’d hoped to buy some small gifts from the shop, but it wasn’t open.  Apparently there’s been a delay in getting internet access, so their tills aren’t yet working.  It should be open early next week, but I won’t be here then!

“Our cardboard church is looking great
and definitely worth the wait.”

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The Transitional (Cardboard) Cathedral is almost finished and will be open to the public next Tuesday.

Transitional Cathedral almost ready

Transitional Cathedral almost ready

If you look hard you can see stacks of chairs inside.  The cardboard tubes can’t be seen on the outside, they’ve had to have a weatherproof covering, but they will be clearly seen on the inside.  From 6-14 August there’s a programme of low-cost concerts “Joyfully Un-munted”.  I’m sorry not to be able to go to any of these, but am looking forward to lots more exciting events in the new Cathedral.

“The rebuild’s really made a start
with this Cathedral at its heart.”

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We can now walk across Cathedral Square in front of the old Cathedral, provided we keep an eye out for trucks and moving cranes.  A new structure is going up in front of the Cathedral, and I wonder what it’s going to be.  It has a metal frame draped with heavy pvc.

Canvas Cathedral?

Canvas Cathedral?

Perhaps it will be some kind of information booth?  They also seem to be building a solid fence around the old Cathedral.  I hope there’ll  be some peepholes left so we can see what’s going on.

“It’s good to have an open Square
but what is going on in there?”

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– sort of!

I walked home today through Cathedral Square – well, almost.

The  Colombo Street entrance to the south of the Square is now open, although only to pedestrians and cyclists.  (I don’t think vehicles should be allowed in at all).

Access open to Cathedral Square

Access open to Cathedral Square

The area in front of the old Post Office is clear and open.  Presumably this is where ‘they’ plan to have gatherings and entertainment.

The old Post Office - will it stay?

The old Post Office – will it stay?

You still can’t walk across the front of the Cathedral.  I had to go around the back, across the old Warners’ site, then back into Colombo Street.  It still felt good to be re-tracing old steps that have been off limits for soooo long.

“It’s two years since I walked just where
I walked today, around the Square.”

 

 

 

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Work on our transitional cathedral continues, despite uncertainty over its funding.

Cardboard Cathedral gets wrapped up

Cardboard Cathedral gets wrapped up

This week they’re covering the cardboard tubes with white cling film to protect them from bad weather.  22 May has been announced as the opening date.  I’ve got my fingers crossed that it’s ready for the function I have booked there on 17 June.

“Cardboard Cathedral’s on its way
but we’re not sure just who will pay.”

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