Now digitised: Municipal Chambers architectural drawings

“Design with beauty, build with truth.”

So wrote architect Samuel Hurst Seager in the corner of a sketch design of the eastern elevation for the proposed Municipal Offices in 1886. This quotation, along with many other notes and annotations by the architect, are now easy to discern through the use of the zoom feature in Canterbury Stories. The zoom feature, allows you explore Seager’s architectural drawings for the former Municipal Chambers in depth, even down to the details on the mantelpieces of the fireplaces.

Situated at 159 Oxford Terrace, the former Municipal Chambers building, designed in the Queen Anne style of architecture by Seager, and built in 1887, originally housed the main offices of the Christchurch City Council until 1924. Damaged during the Canterbury earthquakes, the building has remained off limits to the general public for the past decade.

Structural reinforcements on Old Municipal Chambers. Canterbury Stories. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ. CCL-Kete-9806.

In December 2020, the council leased the building to the City of Christchurch Trust for a term of fifty years. This trust was established by Box 112, a company which has experience in restoring heritage buildings in Christchurch. In May 2021, restoration work commenced.

Although the restoration work is expected to take up to two years, you can now view the original architectural drawings in our collection on Canterbury Stories. You can also read the history of the building, which was also known as Our City O-Tautahi.


If you have any memories of the former Municipal Chambers building, or wish to comment on the architectural drawings, register on Canterbury Stories.

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