Park Bridge

Armagh Street crossing of the Avon River to North Hagley Park, Hagley Park, CHRISTCHURCH

Quick links:

The Canterbury Association survey of Christchurch in 1850 laid out the nascent town in a grid, bisected only by diagonals providing access to the port of Lyttelton and the northern hinterland. Disrupting the regularity of this street pattern however were the sinuous curves of the Avon River. These proved a serious impediment to travel within the city, and necessitated the prompt construction of a series of bridges. Initially simple structures, by the 1880s the majority of these inner city bridges had been replaced in permanent materials. With their fine cast iron railings, they contribute much to the townscape and character of Christchurch. The first bridge at the Armagh St crossing of the Avon River into Hagley Park was a two span timber structure erected in 1859-60. The popularity of Hagley Park and possibly the idea of a carriage drive to Riccarton saw the inclusion of this crossing in the city council's extensive bridge building programme of the early 1880s. The selected design was similar to that of the other Armagh St Bridge, which was designed by City Surveyor Charles Walkden. The 40 ft long and 41 ft wide bridge was commenced in mid 1885, and opened to the public by the mayor C. P. Hulbert on 26 November of that year, at a cost of £1754. Surveyor and engineer Charles Walkden (1824-1908) had worked in Austria and Denmark for a number of years before arriving in Christchurch in 1871. In 1874 he was appointed City Surveyor to the City Council, a position he held for 22 years. During this time, Walkden was responsible for building or rebuilding many of the bridges in central Christchurch. He retired in 1896 on an allowance of £375 p.a. About 1935 a set of iron gates were erected at the western approach to the bridge. These were donated by Mrs Abigail Mickle to commemorate her late husband, Dr Adam Frederick John Mickle M. D. (1847-1935). Yorkshire born, Adam Mickle was educated at the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh. Owing to ill health he embarked on a sea voyage, arriving in Christchurch in 1880. After nine months as house surgeon at Christchurch Hospital he married the matron, and commenced private practice. In 1896 Mickle was elected to the Christchurch City Council for the North East Ward, but resigned the following year. He retired in 1921, although undertaking some medical work in the early 1930s amongst the unemployed. The choice of a gate to commemorate Dr Mickle is particularly apposite, as Mickle Gate is a prominent street in the city of York.

Park Bridge, Christchurch. CC BY-SA 4.0 Image courtesy of | Michal Klajban | 03/08/2019 | Michal Klajban - Wikimedia Commons
Park Bridge, Christchurch. Image courtesy of the Christchurch City Council | Matthew Percival | 09/09/2018 | Christchurch City Council
Park Bridge, Christchurch. CC BY-SA 4.0 Image courtesy of | Michal Klajban | 03/08/2019 | Michal Klajban - Wikimedia Commons
Park Bridge, Christchurch c.1905 Image courtesy of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa photography collection. Reg. No C.011488 | Muir & Moodie Studio | No Known Copyright Restrictions



List Entry Information


Detailed List Entry



List Entry Status

Historic Place Category 2


Able to Visit

List Number


Date Entered

6th June 2004

Date of Effect

6th June 2004

City/District Council

Christchurch City


Canterbury Region

Extent of List Entry

Registration includes: the bridge and Mickle Gates on its site.

Legal description

There is no legal description or certificate of title for this structure.

Location Description

Crosses the Avon River from Park Terrace into Hagley Park. Registration Includes: The bridge and Mickle Gates on its site.

Stay up to date with Heritage this month