Cathedral Square, Christchurch
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ChapterhouseInc
S 43° 31.850 E 172° 38.210
59G E 632262 N 5178932
Quick Description: Cathedral Square, locally known simply as the 'Square', is the geographical centre and heart of Christchurch, New Zealand, where the city's Anglican cathedral, ChristChurch is located.
Location: South Island, New Zealand
Date Posted: 2/20/2010 6:08:09 AM
Waymark Code: WM88YY
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
Views: 11

Long Description:
Cathedral Square, Christchurch
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cathedral Square, locally known simply as the 'Square', is the geographical centre and heart of Christchurch, New Zealand, where the city's Anglican cathedral, ChristChurch is located.

The square was originally intended to be called Ridley Square, after the Protestant martyr Nicholas Ridley, but in Edward Jollie's 1850 plan of central Christchurch it is clearly marked Cathedral Square. Ridley's co-martyrs and colleague bishops, Cranmer and Latimer have Squares named after them, not far distant from Cathedral Square.

In 1851 the Canterbury Association kept aside an area of the Square for the planned Christ Church Cathedral and also for a school. This land came under the control of the Church Property Trustees in 1855, and in 1857 the site planned for a grammar school (Christ's College) was exchanged for its present site in the Botanic Gardens. The original choice of Ridley is another of Christchurch's many references to Oxford, since Ridley was martyred there.

There was initially little development. In 1862 the block on the eastern side of the Square was kept for the cathedral, and the rest of the land was taken over by the Provincial Government. Work started on the cathedral with the laying of a foundation stone in 1864.
A statue to John Robert Godley, the city's founder, was unveiled on 6 August 1867 on a pedestal opposite the cathedral. It was the first public statue in New Zealand. The city's central post office was located alongside the square in 1879.

Over the years Cathedral Square has been redesigned on several occasions. Two significant changes took place when the road in front of the cathedral was closed in 1965, and the road in front of the Post Office closed in 1972. In the late 1990s / early 2000s, the Square underwent a significant reconstruction using new tiling. This was an often criticised project, for example for the amount of glare that the tiles gave off in dry weather conditions, or the tiles being slippery when wet.

Although always called a "square", its shape is that of a cruciform.

Transport function
When steam trams began operating in the city in 1880, they left from the Square. Later, when buses replaced trams in 1954, the Square was used as the main point of departure. This did not change until the Bus Exchange in Lichfield Street opened in November 2000. Trams returned in 1995, with the introduction of a tourist tram ride around the central city. These days, the public transport use of the Square is by the airport bus, taxis and shuttles.

For many years, the square was a busy road intersection. In 1974 it was redeveloped to provide large pedestrian areas, and the south-west quadrant was closed to traffic.

Current function
The square is the city's main meeting place for people taking a break from their work, or just visiting the city, and is a regular site of street performers and speakers of all varieties. Until recent years, the most well-known of these was The Wizard of New Zealand.

Since the year 2000, The Chalice, a large piece of modern sculpture in the form of an inverted cone, has stood in the square subverting the shape of the spire that rises above the cathedral. The Chalice, designed by prominent New Zealand artist Neil Dawson, is made up of forty-two leaf patterns featuring different native plants.

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