Bishopspark Main Building and Chapel

100 Park Terrace, Christchurch

  • Bishopspark Main Building.
    Copyright: www.dayout.co.nz. Taken By: Alan Wylde.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 296 Date Entered 24th November 1983

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Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lot 1 DP 46511, Lot 1 DP 46369, Lot 2 DP 13073 and Pt Sec 23 Town of Christchurch (CT CB28F/1159), Canterbury Land District, and the buildings known as the Bishopspark Main Building and Chapel and their fittings and fixtures thereon. [The main Bishopspark residence was demolished in 2015 following the Canterbury earthquakes. The Chapel survives.]

City/District Council

Christchurch City

Region

Canterbury Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DP 46369, Lot 1 DP 46511, Lot 2 DP 13073, Pt Sec 23 Town of Christchurch (CT CB28F/1159), Canterbury Land District

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This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. The following text is the original citation considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Bishopscourt was designed in 1926 by the eminent Christchurch architect Cecil Walter Wood and is regarded by many as his masterpiece. It replaced an earlier bishops' residence on the same site, a wooden building by B.W. Mountfort erected in 1858 and destroyed by fire in 1924.

The present Bishopscourt is in the Colonial Georgian style and shows the influence of American architecture particularly strong in the area of domestic design in New Zealand in the 1920s and 30s. It is a large house with over twenty rooms contained in its three storeys. It has stuccoed walls and a slate hipped roof with square-headed dormer windows in traditional Georgian fashion. The building is L-shaped in plan with the main entrance leading off a courtyard enclosed on two sides within the L.

The garden façade of the house is particularly attractive with balcony porches located at each end on the ground floor and shuttered French doors opening out onto a terrace in between. To the left of the elegant and relatively informally designed garden façade is a small Georgian chapel joined to the house by a covered way. This chapel is probably the only Georgian styled building of its type in New Zealand.

The imposing entrance ways and large expanse of lawn and trees around the house have for many years considerably enhanced the building's character. This relationship between the house and its site has recently been changed with the construction of thirty four units around the house, the first stage of a retirement complex known as Bishopspark.

The building has very considerable historical significance as the traditional residence of the Bishops of Christchurch, an influential body of men in a city founded as an Anglican settlement.

It remains as an excellent example of the work of Cecil Wood and one of the finest Colonial Georgian houses in New Zealand.

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Construction Professionalsopen/close

Wood, Cecil Walter

Born in Christchurch, Wood (1878-1947) was articled to the local architect Frederick Strouts between 1894 and 1899. He worked for a short time as a draughtsman with the firm Clarkson and Ballantyne before travelling to England in 1901. Here Wood was exposed to a high quality of architectural design in the Edwardian Free Style, and was employed by two leading Edwardian architects Robert Weir Shultz and Leonard Stokes.

In 1907 Wood returned to New Zealand to take up partnership with Samuel Hurst Seager. The partnership lasted for only one year for Wood set up his own practice in 1908. The years 1908-1915 were dominated by domestic commissions, but it was also during this time that he began his association with Christ's College, which included such commissions as Hare Memorial Library (1915), the Memorial Dining Hall (1923-5), Jacob's House (1931) and Open Air Classrooms (1932). During the 1920s Wood's practice began to expand and a Georgian influence can be seen in such works as Weston House Park Terrace (1923-4) and Bishopscourt (1926-7).

A short lived partnership in 1927 with R S D Harman allowed Wood to travel to the United States while another in 1937 with Paul Pascoe allowed him to travel to England, Europe and the United States without neglecting his practice. During this second trip he made preparations for the design of St Paul's Anglican Cathedral in Wellington, which was erected after his death.

During his life Wood had made a substantial contribution to the architecture of Christchurch, having an enthusiasm for both European and American styles.

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Construction Dates

Original Construction
1926 -

Other Information

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.