Christchurch’s First Stone Church Opened – 25th December 1864

On 25 December 1864, Durham Street Methodist Church opened its doors. It was the city’s first stone church. Materials were gathered from the Port Hills, Halswell and even as far away as Charteris Bay on Banks Peninsula.

After the first Methodist Chapel – situated on High Street – was sold earlier that year, a competition was set up for new design ideas. The winners were an Australian firm named Crouch and Wilson. The foundation stone was laid by Canterbury Superintendent Samuel Bealey.

From 1869 onwards, the church experienced upgrades and additions in the shape of a gallery, school house and memorial chapel. Damaged by the 1888 North Canterbury earthquake (7.0), the church’s spire was removed permanently. Severely damaged by the 4 September 2010 quake (7.1), it was further weakened by the Boxing Day quake (4.9) causing it to collapse on 22 February 2011 (6.3), tragically killing three workers of the South Island Organ Company who were inside repairing the church’s organ.

* Image courtesy of Durham Street Methodist Church

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