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Historical Snapshots of Christchurch

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The Cathedral

 The Cathedral


The Cathedral is in Cathedral Square in the centre of Christchurch.  Christchurch Cathedral was made for Bishop John Chitty Harper because he did not have a place to hold services. Benjamin Mountfort designed the Cathedral. George Gilbert Scott built the Cathedral in the gothic style.

The foundation stone was laid on a rainy day in 1864, shortly after the early settlers arrived.
It took 23 years to build and at one time of they stopped building for seven years.

In 1904 the Cathedral was finally completed at a cost of 64,000 pounds. It took another 90 years for the Visitors Centre to be added alongside. The Cathedral is 20.314 feet above sea level and the tower is 36 metres high, with the spire on top of that. There are 133 steps to climb to go up the tower. Altogether, the Cathedral is 63m high.

There have been two earthquakes which have knocked the spire off the top of the tower.


If you turn the Cathedral upside down, the ceiling looks like a boat because sailors made the roof.

The 13 bells form the southern most peal in the world. They hang upside down (mouth upwards) in the 66m tower and are rung regularly to announce major services and civic events. If you were up in the tower when the 13 bells were ringing, you could be deafened because they are so loud.


Over half a million people go to the Cathedral each year to worship and enjoy the beauty of this place, and to share its stories.

Concerts are held in the Cathedral, and people sing and play in bands.


There are a 1000 seats in the Cathedral. Bands, weddings and many other functions are celebrated there.

Lots of people use the Cathedral. We have our carol service in the Cathedral each year.

This page was made by Olivia, Becky, Mayan (back) and Molly (front).

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