Christchurch at risk of losing pre-quake memories
Christchurch at risk of losing pre-quake memories,
UC historian says
March 17, 2013
Christchurch people are at risk of pre-quake memories of the city being forgotten, a University of Canterbury (UC) historian says.
UC Associate Professor Katie Pickles says many iconic city buildings have gone and more landmarks are to be demolished.
``Many Christchurch landmarks have been demolished to make way for new buildings in what is becoming an exciting city.
``But we have never been a demolition city before, with hard hats, high-viz, cranes, and wrecking balls. This is what Cantabrians see and hear on a daily basis. Memories of the past pre-quake city are fading.’’
Professor Pickles will be talking about the lost landmarks as a key speaker at the second annual Seismics and the City forum at the Addington Events Centre in Christchurch on March 21. That evening UC’s new Quake Centre will be launched at the Westpac Hub.
Professor Pickles said Christchurch people tie memories and emotions to particular places and if the places are demolished, then they are no longer available to act as memory triggers.
``These old places that were there before the quakes are not there to see any more. They will be available as images in books and galleries and they will be locked inside our heads without the triggers to escape.
``We all make 'mental maps' in our heads made up of our life journeys around our environment. The earthquakes have short-circuited these mental maps.
``Tragically, there is grief and loss of life associated with some places. I think buildings that resulted in no loss of life can also trigger a wider association with the awful events. It is our individual mental maps that add up to make history.
``Different buildings and places have different memories for us but for me this is my top 10 glittering places that have vanished,’’ Professor Pickles said.
For personal reasons the buildings P:rofessor Pickles misses the most are:
1. The Westpac Building, formerly the Canterbury Savings Bank and Trustbank Canterbury building, in Cashel Street
2. The Lane Walker Rudkin complex on Durham Street
3. The Riccarton Raceway members’ grandstand
4. St George's Hospital heritage building
5. Cracroft House in Cashmere
6. Christchurch Girls' High School on Montreal Street
7. Cranmer Courts on Montreal St
8. Warner's Hotel in Cathedral Square
9. Occidental Hotel on Hereford St
10. The Christchurch Children's Library on Cambridge Terrace
``These are places where my family and I worked or went to school or socialised. They conjure up for me a mixture of happiness and sadness,’’ Professor Pickles said.