The Arts Centre

To tell the story of The Arts Centre, the cultural heart of Christchurch, is to surprising tell the story of Canterbury’s first school, the Anglican Christ’s College. Rev. Henry Jacobs was under no illusion. He knew that there would be no church or school awaiting him upon his arrival in Canterbury but like any man …

Hagley Park

“…the land commonly known as Hagley Park, shall be reserved for ever as a public park, and shall be open for the recreation and enjoyment of the public…”   and boy, have we Cantabs expected this law passed by our Founding Fathers in 1855 to be upheld and respected today or WATCH OUT! From the beginning …

The Olliviers

It was late 1853 when the Ollivier family stepped off the ‘John Taylor’ to seize all the opportunities that were on offer in Canterbury and that they did, for generations to come. John Ollivier, the head of the family, was a publisher by trade.  After receiving the best education in France, the British born teenager …

Henry John Tancred (1816 – 1884)

Henry John Tancred had a career that would make anyone’s head spin!!! Born in the Isle of Wight in 1814, Henry became an officer in the Austrian Army. In 1848, he had a nasty fall from his horse which left him mildly handicapped. He took his sick leave in England and it was there that …

Octavius Mathias (1805 – 1864)

Rev. Octavius Mathias – 1805 – 1864 Reverend Octavius Mathias no doubt knew that it was him behind Bishop Harper’s comment that some of the early clergymen of Canterbury just lacked the commitment. Educated at Cambridge, Octavius became a Chaplin in the Royal Navy. Taking a keen interest in New Zealand, he was one of …

Canterbury’s First School Opened – 6th January 1851

Just fifteen days after conducting Canterbury’s first Anglican Church service, Rev. Henry Jacobs opened a boy’s school in two rooms of the Lyttelton Immigration Barracks. He only had twelve pupils and it cost two guineas to enroll. In  April 1852, the school made the move over to Christchurch, setting up its base at Christ’s Church …