John Robert Godley, Canterbury’s Founder was always a man on the go…in more ways than one.
The Godley Statue was unveiled on the 8th August 1867, six years after Godley passed away from illness in London. From 1904, talk of moving the statue began to circulate as a tram shelter was needed. It wasn’t until 1918 that the statue made the move to the north side of the Cathedral, where the People’s War Memorial now stands.
The tram shelter was demolished in 1931 and in 1933 Godley was returned to his original spot – facing the Christchurch Cathedral. He was in this spot during Christchurch’s darkest day, the 22nd February 2011, where as the [Rhodes] spire of the Christchurch Cathedral rumbled into the Square below, he fell from his pedestal, breaking into two pieces where his human likeness had stood 160 years ago.
That day was hard enough for those who lived through it but as a historian I am kinda grateful that our Founding Fathers such as John Robert Godley did not see it…after all, the icon that is the Christchurch Cathedral – a icon we are about to lose – was in the hearts of those of the Canterbury Association since 1848…