On 7th June 1937, the Citizen’s War Memorial was unveiled in Cathedral Square; a gift to the city from Christchurch business man, George Gould II.
The son of early settler, George Gould Senior, he was from proud stock. His father had been the first to erect a building in Christchurch which became the first general store located on Colombo Street facing into Market Place (Victoria Square). This business was eventually passed down to his sons.
In 1919, there was a merger with another merchant company known as Pyne, Guinness and LeCren Ltd. Together they became the largest stock and station agents in New Zealand. Today we know this company as the Pyne Gould Corporation and the spin-off company of P.G.G. Wrightson.
By the 1920’s, many projects to honour the Canterbury fallen of World War I were on the table. George wanted to finance a memorial column to be erected opposite the Cathedral. Although fully backed by the Anglican Diocese, the Bridge of Remembrance was chosen by the C.C.C and opened in 1924.
In 1933, when a tram shed was demolished in Cathedral Square and the Godley Statue (which sat beside the Cathedral at that time) was to be moved back to its original site, George again made his suggestion for another memorial. As the Anglican Diocese owned the land and said yes, the project went ahead at full steam.
Designed by George Hart and sculptured by William Trethewy, Gould wanted the memorial to be an emblem of peace.
It reads ‘In grateful remembrance of the sons and daughters of Canterbury who fell in the Great War 1914 – 1918. Give us peace in our time, O Lord”.
Before the earthquake of 2011, Christchurch’s ANZAC services were held at this site.
For a more in depth look at the Gould Family, please check out the following link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/the-goulds/
*Image courtesy of Roger Wong*