On 1st June 1862, a two storied ‘…barn-like structure…’ was opened at the edge of Hagley Park. Despite the huge ‘Hands Off Hagley’ protest rally against its construction, the building of the Christchurch Public Hospital went ahead.
The site of the Canterbury Provincial Chambers was one of the first locations considered but it was thought to be too small. A new site was chosen inside the Government Domain (Hagley Park) as the park like surroundings would be uplifting for patients. In 1861, the £1500 from the Canterbury Provincial Council breathed life into the project.
Following the initial structure that was built, others were soon added including a separate fever ward. More additions took place (including the building of a stable and fowl house) from the 1890’s right through to the 1930’s. One by one, the old wooden wards were replaced with brick, the last original building being demolished in 1917.
The hospital that we know today was yet another upgrade that took a few decades to complete, late last century. Christchurch Hospital is now the largest tertiary hospital in the South Island.
*Image courtesy of The Canterbury Public Library – http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/ – File Reference CCL Photo CD 2, IMG0091*