2 Oct 2022

Christchurch's always controversial Cathedral

From Standing Room Only, 12:16 pm on 2 October 2022

It was so nearly lost.   As the Christ Church Anglican Cathedral is being rebuilt, historian Edmund Bohan is releasing a history of the distinctive Gothic building.    It seems it was controversial even before work started on designing it,  let alone building it.  

From the laying of the foundations to the official opening, it took 40 years, after squabbles over pretty much every aspect of its construction - not to mention the huge problems raising the money to build it in the City Centre.

In Heart of the City: The Story of Christchurch's Controversial Cathedral, Edmund is critical of the former Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews' determination to demolish the badly-damaged cathedral after the Canterbury earthquakes, to replace it with a modern church.

And he tells Lynn Freeman he's very much looking forward to seeing the Cathedral restored to its former glory after a lengthy and pricey rebuild.

But first he sets the scene.  Back in the 1860s, there was controversy over where the cathedral should go, its design, whether it should be in stone or timber - even if there should be a cathedral built at all!

Heart of the City: The Story of Christchurch's Controversial Cathedral, by Edmund Bohan is published by Quentin Wilson Publishing.