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Time capsules to be opened by Mayor Bob Parker

Time capsules to be opened by Mayor Bob Parker

In the weeks following the 22 February earthquake the discovery of two time capsules beneath the Godley Statue in Cathedral Square was a welcome spot of good news. In recent weeks a third time capsule has been unearthed in the old Civic Building on Manchester Street.

Of the two time capsules discovered in Cathedral Square, the first capsule is a glass bottle containing a vellum manuscript, the second is a larger sealed copper tube. The Mayor handed both these over to the Canterbury Museum for assessment and conservation work on Tuesday 1 March.

The third time capsule to be recovered from the old Civic Building is a sealed tin box and now also in the care of Canterbury Museum.

Mayor Bob Parker will open the two sealed time capsules at Canterbury Museum on Tuesday 12 April at 2pm. Media are invited to attend.

The vellum manuscript from the glass capsule has been unrolled and dried out and will also be available for viewing at this time.

Background Information

John Robert Godley Statue
The Godley Statue was created by Thomas Woolner. The finished statue arrived in Lyttelton on 1 August 1866. After delays resulting from disputes over the site and the ceremony, the Godley statue was finally unveiled on its current site on 6 August 1867. The site was formally designated the Godley Statue Block in 1873, a site reserved for public buildings for ‘the general good of New Zealand, provided the Godley statue is not interfered with in any way’ (Christchurch City Council).

Despite this legal provision, increasing traffic volumes in Cathedral Square and a need to construct a larger tram shelter prompted the Council to move the statue to a new position to the north of the Cathedral. This move took place in 1918 and the statue remained in this location for fifteen years. It was at the time of this move that the glass time capsule was placed beneath the statue.

In 1933, legal action finally forced a return to its original site and the copper time capsule was placed beneath the statue along with the glass one from the 1918 move.

Old Civic Building
The old Civic Chambers, located on the eastern side of Manchester Street between Gloucester and Worcester Streets was brought and refurbished by the Christchurch City Council in 1924. The new offices were constructed for the Council and opened on 1 September 1924 by Monica Thacker.

This building, which became popularly known as The Civic, had served the Christchurch City Council and its staff for 56 years before the move to the Tuam Street premises in 1980 and subsequently the New Civic on Hereford Street in August 2010.

Canterbury Museum
Canterbury Museum has been fortunate to withstand the recent earthquakes with very limited damage to the building and collections.

Staff are currently working on a number of recovery projects and it is hoped that the Museum will re-open to the public in approximately one month.


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