This week in Christchurch history (16 to 22 November)

16 November 1901
Earthquake (most severe at Cheviot) damages Cathedral spire again. After this third incident, the top of the spire was re-built in timber and metal instead of stone.

17 November 1895
Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens) visits. He described Christchurch as a town where half the people rode bicycles and the other half were kept busy dodging them.

18 November 1947
Disastrous fire in Ballantynes Department store. 41 lives lost in New Zealand’s worst fire tragedy. The fire led to drastic revisions of fire safety codes throughout the country.

Aerial view of the gutted shell of the three-storied department building [20 Nov. 1947]
Aerial view of the gutted shell of the three-storied department building [20 Nov. 1947], CCL PhotoCD 1, IMG0016
21 November 1865
Provincial Council buildings in Durham Street completed. The complex of buildings was architect B.W. Mountfort’s masterpiece. He had survived a professional disaster soon after arrival in New Zealand when his first building, a church in Lyttelton, had proved structurally unsound and had to be demolished.

Provincial Government Buildings, corner of Durham and Armagh Streets, Christchurch , [ca. 1885]
Provincial Government Buildings, corner of Durham and Armagh Streets, Christchurch , [ca. 1885], CCL PhotoCD 12, IMG0084
22 November 1986
Visit by Pope John Paul II (the first head of the Catholic Church to visit New Zealand).

22 November 1987
Trans Alpine express train, designed specifically for the tourist trade, begins its daily run from Christchurch to Greymouth.

More November events in the Christchurch chronology: a timeline of Christchurch events in chronological order from pre-European times to 1989.

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