The Forgotten, Earned & Unpopular Names Of Christchurch

Names from the Canterbury Association that didn’t stick…

Greig Island – Quail Island – named after Canterbury Association member Rev. George Robert Gleig.

The Shakespeare – The Avon – named after English playwright William Shakespeare.

The Courtenay – The Waimakariri – named after Canterbury Association member William Courtenay (Archbishop of Canterbury).

The Cholmondeley – The Rakaia – The honourable William Henry Hugh Cholmondeley was a member of the Canterbury Association and attended the very first meeting on the 27th tMarch 1848. His son Charles and nephew Thomas arrived in Canterbury aboard the ‘Charlotte Jane’, the Canterbury Association’s first ship.  It is through Hugh Herber Cholmondeley, William’s son and Charles’ brother that we know this name today. He founded the Cholmondeley Children’s Home.

Stafford – Christchurch – The city of Christchurch was originally going to be built at the head of Lyttelton Harbour –  Teddington – so the land that is now Christchurch was going to be called Stafford.

Port Victoria – Port Lyttelton – named after Queen Victoria who was Queen at the time.

Port Albert – Port Levy – named after Prince Albert, the husband and cousin of Queen Victoria.

Ridley Square – Cathedral Square – named after Protestant Bishop Nicholas Ridley.

Cass Rock – Cave Rock – named after Canterbury Association Surveyor Thomas Cass (pictured)

Names that were earned by those who lived there

Peacock’s Gallop – Main Road, Sumner – named after John Jenkins Peacock who would ride his horse at full speed from his home in Sumner into Christchurch because he feared passing the cliff faces in case rocks fell.

Peerwick’s Village – Church Corner, Upper Riccarton – named after the horse of Edward Jerningham Wakefield who was named ‘The Peer’.

Hammerston – Heathcote – named after the farm of early settler, Isaac Cookson.

Cachalot Head – Godley Head – named after a French Whaling ship – the Cachalot – that almost wrecked itself on the rocks when trying to sail into Lyttelton Harbour.

Crawford’s Spur – Moncks Spur – named after early settler Charles Crawford

Crawford’s Bridge – Wilson Street Bridge – named after early settler Charles Crawford

Fisherton (Fisher Town) – Beckenham – named after the Fisher brothers that farmed in the area and whose farm was named Beckenham.

Lanky Town – Waltham – named after all the workmen who worked on the railway and in the gas works.

Bing Land – Richmond – named after early settler Morice Bing who farmed in the area.

Buxton Corner – the corner of New Brighton Road and Kingsford Street – named after the Buxton family who farmed in the area and named the area Shirley.

The Styx – Redwood – the area was so boggy, settlers laid sticks down to mark a safe route through the marsh.

Rhodes Swamp – Marshlands – named after the Rhodes family who owned the land there.

Avonwood – Avonhead – name changed by owner William Bray as the head of the Avon began on his farm of Avonwood.

Deans Head – entrance to the Estuary – named after the Deans brothers.

Latters Spur – the land across the Port Hills from Sugarloaf to Dyers Pass Road – named in memory of early settler Edward Circuit Latter.

Helmore’s Planation – Little Hagley Park/Pilgrims Corner – named after Joseph Cornish Helmore.

The Golden Fleece Corner – the south east corner of Colombo and Armagh Streets – named after one of Christchurch’s first pubs/hotels that sat on that location – the Golden Fleece Hotel.

Watsonville/Poverty Flats – Redcliffs – named after early settler Alfred Clayton Watson.

Roimata – Woolston – some official documents concerning Woolston still bear the original name of the area ‘Roimata’ which in Maori means ‘teardrop’.

Hospital Corner – the intersection of Riccarton, Hagley Aves and Antigua,Tuam Streets; adjacent to the Christchurch Public Hospital – once the home of St Andrew’s, Canterbury’s first Presbyterian Church.

Golden Age Corner – the north west corner of Colombo and Gloucester Streets – named after the Golden Age Hotel that sat on that corner.

Surveyors Gully – Glentunnel – named after the ‘…tunnel in the Glen…’ built by James McIraith of Homebush (in 1874) so he could transport Homebush Mine’s coal to Sheffield without having to pay a toll to cross land he didn’t own.  The tunnel was never used as the railway ended up coming to Darfield first and then Sheffield.

Camper’s Flat – Arthur’s Pass – named after Arthur Dudley Dobson, a young surveyor/engineer who found the most suitable passage through the Alps from the Canterbury Plains to the goldfields of the West Coast in 1864.  A year later, his proud father, Edward Dobson, was the foreman engineer who constructed the road through.

Whitewash Heads – Scarborough Heads – named after the colour of all the droppings of the bird life that nested there.

Ashbourne –  the ‘Charleston’ area of Waltham – named after Charles Prince’s 12 roomed boarding house, ‘Waltham House’.

Maori Valley – Gebbies Pass – was named by the Rhodes brothers of Purau during the 1840’s as it was the main trail used by the Ngai Tahu to head south.  The Gebbies family moved into the area in 1845.

Bealey’s Crossing – Aylesbury Bend – the intersection of Railway, Bealey, Aylesbury, West Coast (once known as Bealey’s Track) and Station Roads at Aylesbury. Named after brothers, John and Samuel Bealey (the latter being our 3rd Superintendent) who would use Bealey’s Track (West Coast Road) to travel from Christchurch to their 45,000 acre farm, named Haldon. They would turn left off Bealey’s Track at this intersection, heading south-west to Haldon, down what is now known as Bealey Road.

The Devil’s Elbow – a section of the Heathcote River – between Settler’s Crescent and Waterman’s Close in Ferrymead, the Heathcote River sharply swings to thenorth before returning to the west almost in a hairpin corner.
Known as the Devil’s Elbow due to the conflict of wind the early boats had to deal with the sudden direction change. Most of the time, the boats would be towed around the bend by bullocks and then by horses.

Burnhead – Burnside – In a letter to her grandchildren in 1885, Jane Deans refers to Burnside [Farm] as Burnhead. In 1853, William Boag leased (with right to purchase in 5 years) 200 acres off John Deans I and named the land Burnside. The name means “at the side of a small stream”. The Boag’s would eventually own 1700 acres with a fine homestead that was located at the head of the current Avonhead Road but sadly was destroyed by fire in 1925. Burnside Farm’s north boundary once sat as far as McLeans Island!

Aston Suburb – St Albans – Aston was 50 acres that sat between Papanui Road, Bealey Ave (opposite Carlton Corner), Stoneyhurst and Beverley Streets.  It was in the ownership of Dr. A.C. Barker, ‘Charlotte Jane’ pilgrim, early doctor and photographer. He named the area after a family property back in England. The property sat in the care of a farm manager as the Doctor settled on the corner of Cathedral Square and Worchester Street. In 1873, the land was subdivided and sold off after the his death by family.

Oramstown – New Brighton – the name of the area south of Seaview Road to Union Street.  George Oram (1826 – 1876) was a hotel keeper who was New Brighton’s biggest promoter.

Rainestown – New Brighton – the name of the area from Union Street to the Heathcote River.  Thomas Raine (1820 – 1907) was a soda water manufacturer.

The Cook & Ross Corner – the south west corner of Armagh and Colombo Streets -‘The Apothecaries’ Hall’ opened in 1859 under the direction of Dr. John Somerville Turnbull.  He hired two chemists who surnames were Cook and Ross.

Cabstand Corner – the intersection of Victoria and Colombo Streets before the Square was closed to traffic.  Another popular place that cabbies would park up was the along the Triangle Centre on High and Colombo Streets.  This area earned the same name along with the term of Bottleneck Junction.

Paddy’s Market – the retail shanties and sheds that sat along the south side of Victoria Square.

Sharland’s Corner – the northern side of Colombo and Armagh Streets where Mrs. M.A. Sharland opened a corset shop.  Her business was an instant success and she remained on that site for 15 years before moving to Armagh Street in 1905.

The Three Sisters – Twisted Sister, Middle Sister and the Ugly Sister – Above Lyttelton, on Mt Cavendish are three obvious crags now known as these unflattering terms by climbers.
These crags were originally named after Sarah Anne, Lucy Ellen and Mary Moorhouse, the younger sisters of William Sefton Moorhouse who served Canterbury as a Superintendent. Legend has it; the sisters were stunning and left a lasting impression.
Sarah Anne went on to marry William Barnard Rhodes who had been the whaler who gave the first European names for Lyttelton Harbour and the Canterbury Plains, naming them Port Cooper and the Port Cooper Plains in 1836. He also named Port Levy (correctly spelt Levey). He landed Canterbury’s first hoof stock onto Banks Peninsula in 1838. His brothers farmed at Purau from the 1840’s till the 1860’s.
Lucy Ellen married John Studholme in 1862. John has been linked to the naming of Merivale (correctly spelt as Merevale) as this was his hometown in England and his Superintendent brother-in-law owned land there. He and his brother Michael are also regarded as the first Europeans to have walked from Dunedin to Christchurch and to have taken cattle across the Waitaki River.

The City of Trees – the Garden City – from the 1860’s, the planting of trees in Christchurch and mid-Canterbury exploded with the practical need for shelter and to help break up the flatness and vastness of the Canterbury Plains. Christchurch was also famous for its public gardens and domains – the use of English trees around the English looking buildings made Christchurch ‘…the little English town that isn’t in England…‘  The term of ‘the Garden City’ came from a innocent passing remark made by Sir John Gorst, the British Commissioner, who was a VIP visitor during the great International Exhibition that was held in Hagley Park in 1906/7

194-198 Manchester Street ‘The Civic – 158 Manchester Street ‘The Pines’ – before the earthquakes, 158 Manchester Street was the site of ‘The Civic’ building, once housing the C.C.C and was a venue for movies and musical bands. But before 1900, it was a property known as ‘The Pines’ and was the home of Dr. Henry Horsford Prins. This beautiful home was bulldozed for the building of the ‘Canterbury Hall’ to acknowledge the 50th Canterbury anniversary year. This structure was destroyed by fire in 1917, and ‘The Civic’ was then built. The quakes of 2011 claimed this heritage gem.

Dr. Prins had arrived in Canterbury in 1857. He is mostly remembered as one of the House Surgeons at the Christchurch Public Hospital. He was also the physician who attended after the murder of housemaid Margaret Burke (the Bloodstained Gravestone case) at the residence of ‘Ready Money Robinson’ on Canterbury (Cambridge) Terrace. The murderer, butler Simon Cedeno was later hanged at Lyttelton Gaol for the crime in April 1871.

Names that didn’t stick

Rhodesmont/Rhodes Bay/Acherson Bay – Purau –when dealing with the Canterbury Association over Banks Peninsula land owned by the Rhodes brothers, William Barnard Rhodes referred to Purau as ‘Rhodesmont’ – the Port Cooper Bay (Lyttelton) the Rhodes wanted to keep. Around the arrival of the Association settlers, maybe because Purau proved hard to pronounce, the term of ‘Rhodes Bay’ made an appearance but George and Robert Rhodes would correct the settlers where they could, referring to their farm in the Maori name only. The name Archerson appeared after a visit from the ship SS Acherson that visited Lyttelton in 1851.  This also did not last.

Milford – Merivale – possibly named ‘Milford by the Bowen Family – source unknown.

Christ’s Church – St Michael’s and All Angels – Christchurch’s first church.

Port Cooper and the Port Cooper Plains – Lyttelton and Canterbury Plains – named by William Barnard Rhodes after his employer Daniel Cooper.

Vincent’s Bay –Taylor’s Mistake – named after Captain John Vincent.

Wakefield Town – a section of Sumner – named by Felix Wakefield.

The Spit – Birdlings Flat.

The Punt – New Brighton – it had been planned that New Brighton would be a landing area for supplies from Lyttelton.  It was soon found to be unsuitable.

The Springs – Lincoln – named by James Edward Fitzgerald after all the fresh water springs he found on his land.

Seven Brothers – Port Hills – named by Sir Julius von Haast who surveyed the Port Hills.

The Dog’s Head – Kennedy’s Bush, Port Hills.

The Junction – the intersection of Papanui Road and Salisbury, Montreal, and Victoria Streets.

Bottleneck Junction – the Triangle Centre.

Hordon – Darfield – kept being confused with Hornby when concerning the railway system.  Darfield means ‘deer in the field’.

The Serpentine – Heathcote River – named after Canterbury Association Member Sir William Heathcote.

Daisy-field – Linwood – once a terraced paddock thick with daises, it is now divided by Brittan Street with housing.  It was once a popular place for children to roll down.  Brothers, William and Joseph Brittan, were neighbours on this land during the 1860’s.  Joseph built a fine house (lost to the 22nd February earthquake) and called his property ‘Linwood’, his back gate opening onto the land belonging to the Holy Trinity of Avonside.  William lived near the corner of Fitzgerald and Avonside Drive, his house known as ‘Englefield’ is red-stickered as now a part of the red zone.

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