On 30 September 1972, almost 100 years since the city’s last town hall was destroyed by fire, Christchurch’s 3rd Town Hall was opened.
The site was chosen on the 9th October 1962 after locations on Hereford Street and Latimer Square were rejected. It had been the plan that the Christchurch City Council’s civic offices were to be built as Part II of the original Town Hall design but this never came to fruition.
Instead, the old Miller’s Department Store on Tuam Street was purchased in 1978 and this became the council’s civic office building.
Designed by Sir Miles Warren and Maurice Mahoney, the main auditorium held 2500 seats and the James Hay Theatre, a 1000. Other features are the Limes Room, the Cambridge Room, Boater’s Restaurant and the Ferrier Foundation. Although badly damaged by the earthquakes of 2011/2012, the C.C.C. have made a commitment to its rebuild.
On 1 October 1857, the city’s first town hall was opened. Built on Hereford Street – close to Cathedral Square- its timber verandah witnessed many of Christchurch’s earliest government elections. In 1864, right next door, the 2nd town hall – made of brick – was opened. Both would be gutted by fire in 1873. The city would be without a town hall for the next 99 years!
* Image courtesy of Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 29-May-12*