From the Resene News – issue 1/2008
Anniversary present - Christchurch Cathedral
Following the model of Christ Church in Oxford, the first four ships of settlers planned to build a Christchurch cathedral as the focal point for the new town. Progress was slow in the early days until the first Bishop of Canterbury, Henry Harper, got the go ahead to proceed on cathedral work in 1858. The English Gothic architect, George Gilbert Scott, created plans in England which were sent through to New Zealand to be overseen by Robert Speechley. The first foundation stone was laid in 1864 and followed by more, but a lack of funds soon halted progress beyond the foundations for a further decade.
Benjamin Mountfort arrived in 1883 and as resident architect rallied resources for the work to restart. He adapted the Scott design and added his own architectural elements of the tower balconies, west porch, font, pulpit and stained glass. 1881 saw the main body of the cathedral finally completed and opened to widespread celebrations. The transepts, chancel and sanctuary were a further 23 years in the making.
In 1904 the cathedral was finally complete, with a total project cost of 64,000 pounds. Ninety years later it was joined by an adjacent visitor centre reflecting its status as the most visited church building in New Zealand.
The passing of many years and many seasons have taken its toll on the cathedral requiring maintenance and redecoration work to protect the precious building into the future. The extensive project included a new roof consisting of 54,500 slate tiles requiring 9200 man hours to install, replacing, repairing and cleaning stonework, and the dismantling and remaking of the stained glass windows.
Various touchups and maintenance associated with the restoration of the Christchurch Cathedral were completed with donations of a variety of paint from Resene, including Resene Lumbersider waterborne satin, Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel, Resene Enamacryl gloss waterborne enamel and Resene Super Gloss. The traditional palette of Resene Nelson Red (colonial red), Resene Raven (timeless grey blue), Resene Black, Resene Spanish White (complex neutral) and Resene Sugar Loaf (greyed beige) are in keeping with the architectural styling of the cathedral. Weathered surfaces were treated with care, with Resene Rust-Arrest used on weathered rusted areas while Resene Sureseal was used to bind powdery surfaces readying them for painting.
The subject of millions of photos residing in cameras and homes all over the world, the freshened cathedral is once again picture perfect.
Building Contractor: Bill Fox
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