On 1 April 1903, St Albans joined the Greater Christchurch and came under the care of the C.C.C.
Many of the early settlers just kept going past the area that would become St Albans. It wasn’t just the extremely boggy land, but the 10 foot or so toi toi was also a great deterrent! If that wasn’t enough for some, the horse and buggy that disappeared into the mud never to be seen again was almost the last nail in the coffin!
In 1856, attempts were made to tame the area. By stamping down the flax and toi toi, sand was then poured over to make the first roads and paths. The streets today in St Albans acknowledge these first families that faced the challenge: Bishop, Canon, Chapter and Purchas.
Among these families was George Dickenson who arrived in Lyttelton in 1851 from Sheffield, England. He had a well celebrated cousin, Harriet Mellon (pictured), who was known not only for her beauty but also her acting career. Married a few times, one of her husband’s earned her the noble title of being the Duchess of St Albans. Although she had been dead for almost 30 years when George was making his way in the tussock, she must have been a lasting persona in his mind. The area was named after her.
Today, St Albans is Christchurch’s largest suburb.