Discover Canterbury: Commemorating the Bridge of Remembrance

The Bridge of Remembrance, which crosses the Avon River from Cashel Street, was opened in 1924 to commemorate the soldiers of Canterbury who fought in the First World War. It was opened by Governor-General Lord Jellicoe, who had previously laid the foundation stone on Anzac Day in 1923.

Bridge of Remembrance at dawn by Gary Mills. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. CCL-PH23-GaMi-0001

The triple-arched bridge was designed in 1921 by William Gummer, then a partner at the firm Gummer and Prouse. It is built of concrete faced with Tasmanian stone. The carved lions, which represented the British Empire, lie over the end arches and were carved by the noted Canterbury carver Frederick Gurnsey. Gurnsey also carved the other symbols on the bridge, including rosemary wreaths and laurel leaves. Panels on the main arch list the major battles of the First World War, and after 1945, those of the Second World War were added.

Plan of proposed site of Memorial bridge by Christchurch City Council Archives. Christchurch City Council Archives - no known copyright. CCC-ARC-22-008-B88

The bridge's role as a place of remembrance has continued with plaques being added over the years to commemorate other New Zealanders who have fought and died in various wars around the world. The Bridge of Remembrance was converted in 1976 to pedestrian use only and remains a notable feature of the riverside area of Christchurch.


On the Canterbury Stories website, we are lucky to have numerous photographs and other material about the Bridge of Remembrance, including its original architectural drawings.

Do you have any photographs of the Bridge of Remembrance or other significant bridges in Canterbury?  You can contribute to our collection via the Discovery Wall website.


Christchurch City Libraries. 2024. Bridge of Remembrance. [online]. Available at

Canterbury Stories. 2024. Bridge of Remembrance. [online]. Available at

Lovell-Smith, Melanie. 2001. Bridge of Remembrance. [online]. Available at

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