Selwyn House School
Why were the Provincial Chambers built?
The Provincial Chambers were built so people could have meetings and decide new laws for New Zealand. New Zealand was made up of provinces (areas) and the different provinces had similar laws, yet some were a little different. Councillors from all the different provinces meet at the Chambers. Special meetings were held at the Provincial Chambers as there was no Parliament building in Wellington.
Who designed it?
It was designed by Benjamin Mountfort. Superintendent James E. Fitzgerald asked Benjamin Mountfort to design the buildings, and he designed them in a gothic style.
Description of the Provincial Chambers
The Provincial Chamber is made from stone and timber. The first chamber was made from wood. The second chamber, which was a lot bigger, was made from stone with the floor and ceiling being made from timber. The building of the stone chamber was started in 1861 and finished in 1865.
City councillors have been meeting in the historic stone chamber where the Canterbury Provincial Council met more than a century ago.
The stone chamber interior is made from tiles, timber and stone.
When was it built?
The first elections for the Canterbury Provincial Government were held in 1853. The first meeting, which was on the 29th of September 1853, was in a desolate looking potato garden. The councillors decided they really needed a building for their meetings. The first chamber built was made of timber. It became too small and cramped, as there were thirty-five councillors by 1861.
These stone and timber buildings were constructed between 1858 and 1865 to house the Canterbury Provincial Council.
The barristers meet in the Provincial Chambers to decide rules and laws for all of the people of New Zealand.
The Provincial Chambers are an important landmark in Christchurch because the councillors had a special place to meet. They wanted a building so they could decide on rules and laws and they didnít want to meet in a potato patch.
This page was made by Hu-Lien, Ruby and Julia.