Canterbury Club Gas Light

129 Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch

  • Canterbury Club Gas Light.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Melanie Lovell-Smith. Date: 1/12/2001.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 1838 Date Entered 25th November 1982

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Extent of List Entry

Registration includes: The gas light on its footprint.

City/District Council

Christchurch City

Region

Canterbury Region

Legal description

Legal Road, Canterbury Land District

Location description

Adjacent to Lot 1 DP 42570. On the footpath outside the Canterbury Club, 129 Cambridge Tce.

Summaryopen/close

The first public street light in Christchurch, a kerosene lamp, was erected by the municipal council in Market Square in 1862. The Christchurch Gas Company was established in 1863, and from 1864, gas street lamps gradually supplanted kerosene. In 1876 there were 152 gas street lamps; by 1913 there were 1335, using 13 million cubic ft of gas annually. However in May 1915, following the opening of the Lake Coleridge hydroelectric works, Christchurch streets began to be lit by electricity. By 1918 when their gas supply was switched off, only 59 of the old street lamps remained.

The Canterbury Club gas street lamp was erected in c1900 at the corner of Cambridge Tce and Worcester St. It was turned off in 1918, but by some twist of fate was not removed. The lamp was restored to use for the visit of Queen Elizabeth in 1962. In the 1970s it was shifted a short distance to its present position outside the entrance to the club. To protect it from vandals, the lantern was fitted with strengthened glass in 1973. The gas works closed in 1982, but arrangements were apparently made to maintain a gas supply for the lamp. By 1995 however, the Canterbury Club had converted it to electricity. Through the efforts of the Historic Places Trust and the Christchurch City Council, gas supply was restored to the lamp by 1999. The neighbouring Canterbury Club has assumed responsibility for the lamp for many years.

Beside the gas lamp is a hitching post, also Category II. Together with the adjacent Canterbury Club (Cat. II), and the nearby former public library, Worcester St bridge, and former Municipal Chambers, an important precinct is formed that contributes much to the heritage character of Christchurch.

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Historical Significance or Value

The Canterbury Club gas light has historical and technological significance as the sole remaining example of an original gas street light in Christchurch. Introduced to Christchurch streets in 1864 there were 1335 gas lights by 1913 before their replacement by electric lighting in 1915.

It is a unique example of the Victorian technology employed to light urban streets and is an evocative reminder of Christchurch's colonial beginnings

(h) serves to commemorate the role of gas in lighting New Zealand cities for 50 years;

(j) is possibly the only original gas light in New Zealand still operating

(k) forms part of a heritage grouping with the adjacent hitching post (Cat. II) and Canterbury Club (Cat II), and part of the Worcester Boulevard cultural precinct.

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Physical Description

A typical nineteenth century streetlight. The glass lantern is surmounted by a finial ventilator, and is set on a 2 M cast iron standard complete with 'shoulders' to hold the lamplighter's ladder.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1900 -

Construction Details

Cast and wrought iron, and glass.

Completion Date

7th October 2004

Report Written By

Pam Wilson

Information Sources

Alexander, 1990

Mark Alexander, Christchurch: a city of light: only the M.E.D. could light the Christchurch darkness . Southpower, Christchurch, 1990.

Christchurch City Council

Christchurch City Council

Heritage Unit File Canterbury Club Gas Lamp

Christchurch Press

5/8/1974

Christchurch Star

Christchurch Star

6/6/1980

Morrison, 1948

J Morrison, The Evolution of a City Christchurch: Christchurch City Council, 1948.

pp. 61-2.

New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)

New Zealand Historic Places Trust

Canterbury Club Hitching Post and Gas Light, NZHPT Field Record Form

Other Information

A fully referenced version of this report is available from the NZHPT Southern Region Office.

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.