Heart of the City: The Story of Christchurch's Controversial Catherdral - Edmund Bohan
From the days even before Christchurch was settled its cathedral has been the focus of ferocious public debate: Where should a cathedral be built? How would it be paid for? Should it be built in wood or stone in an earthquake-prone country? Who should oversee the building?
It took far too long to build and its financial position has often been perilous. In recent times there have been fresh quarrels over a visitors’ centre and whether ratepayers should help to pay for necessary earthquake strengthening. And, when the building was left almost in ruins, should it be demolished and rebuilt or should it be restored? And, most important of all to the people of Christchurch, to whom did it really belong?
It has been a tranquil and lovely place of devotion and worship, and a venue for the celebration of civic, national and international events. Thousands of tourists have walked its aisles and climbed its tower. It has won fame for the beauty of its music. Along with the Avon/Ōtakaro River, its silhouette appears on all the city’s official signage. Christ Church Cathedral has stood in its square for close to a century and a half.
Acclaimed historian Edmund Bohan tells the full and fascinating story of this beloved building, from its begin-nings in an embryonic settlement to its resurrection after disaster. In a lively, approachable text – well-illustrated throughout – he outlines the cathedral’s remarkable past and brings to life the equally remarkable people who have worked and worshipped there. He details the triumphs and the troubles, and looks to a future in which this instantly recognisable church will once again stand as the safe and welcoming heart of the city to which it belongs.