| New Zealand|
22 February 2011
25 December 1864
| Christchurch Central City|
Durham Street Methodist Church
25 December 1864 (1864-12-25)
Holy Trinity Avonside, Oxford Terrace Baptist C, Knox Church - Christchurch, St Luke's Church - Christchurch, Church of St Michael and All A
The Durham Street Methodist Church in Christchurch was the earliest stone church constructed in the Canterbury Region of New Zealand. It is registered as a "Historic Place – Category I" by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.
The church was severely damaged by an earthquake on 4 September 2010, but collapsed during a following earthquake on 22 February 2011, killing three workers who were removing the organ.
Durham Street Methodist Church Wikipedia
Christchurch was mainly an Anglican settlement. The congregation of Methodists was small, but active. The first Methodist Chapel, which was located in High Street, was sold in 1864.
An architectural competition was held for a new church in Durham Street. The winning architectural firm, Crouch and Wilson from Melbourne, had entered a design in the Gothic Revival style in the 1863 competition. Local architect Samuel Farr, who had come to Akaroa in early 1850, came second in the competition and was engaged to for the construction supervision. In early 1864, the foundation stone was laid by Samuel Bealey who at the time was Superintendent of Canterbury Province. The building was officially opened on Christmas Day 1864 and Canterbury thus had its first church built of permanent materials. The stone used includes Halswell and Port Hills basalt and Charteris Bay sandstone. A gallery was added to the building in 1869 and a schoolroom was built next to it in 1875. A parsonage was subsequently erected facing Chester Street. In 1951 a Memorial Chapel was added, dedicated to those killed in both World Wars.
On 2 April 1985, the church building was registered with the registration number 3099 by the Historic Places Trust as a Category I heritage building. An atrium was built in 1987 to connect the church to the Aldersgate building next door which houses offices for both the church and the Christian Methodist Mission.
The 1888 North Canterbury earthquake caused a spire in the south-eastern corner to tilt, leading to its subsequent removal. The church and hall were severely damaged in the September 2010 earthquake and the aftershock the following Boxing Day. The building collapsed the following February in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake while a team of eight workers from the South Island Organ Company were dismantling the organ, killing three of them.
The interior plan reflected the standard Victorian era Methodist layout of a meeting hall surrounded by galleries and was designed to accommodate 1200 people. The cedar pulpit, centred on the back wall, was accessed by a double staircase. The organ, installed in 1902, replaced an earlier hand pumped organ which had been installed in 1874. The replacement organ was built by Ingram & Co. in Hereford, United Kingdom and was valued at $1 million prior to the church's destruction. Four sets of memorial stained glass windows were installed at different times.