Bridge of Remembrance

Cashel Street, Christchurch

  • Bridge of Remembrance.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Melanie Lovell-Smith. Date: 1/09/2001.
  • Bridge of Remembrance.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Melanie Lovell-Smith. Date: 1/09/2001.
  • Bridge of Remembrance.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Melanie Lovell-Smith. Date: 1/09/2001.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Registered List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1
List Number 289 Date Entered 2nd April 1985

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Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Stopped Street SO Plan 14545, Canterbury Land District and the structure known as the Bridge of Remembrance thereon, and its fittings and fixtures.

City/District Council

Christchurch City

Region

Canterbury Region

Legal description

Stopped Street SO Plan 14545, Canterbury Land District

Summaryopen/close

The Bridge of Remembrance was built over the Avon River in 1923 to commemorate the soldiers of Canterbury who fought overseas during the First World War. The triple-arched bridge was designed in 1921 by William Gummer, then a partner in Gummer and Prouse. It is built of concrete faced with Tasmanian stone. Over the end arches lie carved lions, representing the British Empire, carved by the noted Canterbury carver Frederick Gurnsey. Gurnsey also carved the other symbols on the bridge, including rosemary wreaths and laurel leaves. Panels on the main arch list the major battles of the First World War; after 1945 those of the Second World War were added. The bridge's role as a place of remembrance has continued with plaques being added over the years to commemorate other New Zealanders who have fought and died in various wars around the world. These include Captain Charles Upham, Victoria Cross and Bar, who fought in the Middle East during the Second World War and was the third man to be awarded a bar to the Victoria Cross for his bravery and leadership.

The Bridge of Remembrance was converted in 1976 to pedestrian use only and remains a notable feature of the riverside area of Christchurch. Its design is a significant example of the work of one of New Zealand's leading architects of the time. Gummer's combination of utility, monumentalism and muted symbolism created a distinguished and substantial memorial to New Zealand's dead. The site on which the bridge was built is also significant as a place that all the Canterbury soldiers passed as they marched off to war.

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Completion Date

20th August 2001

Report Written By

Melanie Lovell-Smith

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

Dictionary of New Zealand Biography

J.A.B. Crawford, 'Upham, Charles Hazlitt 1908-1994', Vol 5, 1941-1960, Auckland, 2000, pp.531-533

MacLean, 1990

Chris MacLean and Jock Phillips, The Sorrow and the Pride: New Zealand War Memorials, Wellington, 1990

pp.117-119.

Thornton, 1996

Geoffrey Thornton, Cast in Concrete: Concrete Construction in New Zealand 1850-1939, Auckland, 1996

p.178