On 1 April 1907, Beckenham joined the Greater Christchurch and came under the care of the C.C.C.
Brothers, Stephen and James Fisher, and James’ wife, Harriet, arrived in Lyttelton on the ‘Charlotte Jane’, the first of our First Four Ships on 16 December 1850.
When James and Harriet married, her father brought the pair 100 acres of the new Canterbury Settlement as a wedding gift. Stephen followed suit by purchasing a further 100 acres neighbouring his brother’s land and named his farm Beckenham after their hometown in Kent.
The area soon became known as Fisherton. The site of Stephen’s farmstead is now Fisher Ave in Beckenham. As the area was very swampy, the brothers had to drain it, afterward being able to grow wheat and then they branched into cattle farming.
Around the time that Stephen and James would have been out ploughing their fields, the nearby Beckenham Loop (the area of the Heathcote River that ran through their farms) had taken on life as a favourite swimming spot for the neighbourhood children. Some even crafted homemade boats and rafts, using the flowing current to conduct races.
Beckenham Farm was bought and subdivided after the death of Stephen in the late 1890′s. It was one of the first areas of Christchurch to get the tramway and this led to an increase in the building of housing there – namely the mass erection of government funded housing.
The naming of Seddon Street is a reminder of this connection. Richard ‘King Dick’ Seddon was Prime Minister from 1893 till his death in 1906. He was a great advocate for the common working man with whom he felt most at home with.
* Image courtesy of Annette Bulovic*