Thursday, December 17, 2009

Take a Paddle Before the Bikies Arrive - New Brighton, Christchurch, early 1900s

The Weekly Press, 31 May 1905, p. 40, Christchurch City Libraries.

With the advent of the infernal (!) combustion engine, a tranquil paddle at the water's edge on New Brighton beach was an endangered pastime for a few decades.

Above, the start of the 9 mile scratch race of the Christchurch Motor and Cycling Club's motor races at New Brighton Beach in 1905.


Andrew said...

I suppose it looks and feels very different now, but New Brighton looks like a wonderful place to visit.

kuaka said...

An English visitor sniffed on the back of a postcard mailed back "home" around this time (1905) that the place had nothing on the real Brighton.

The new pier was built in 1997 on the same spot as the old one pictured here that was demolished in 1965. The new pier is anchored by the New Brighton public library and a cafe. A pleasant match. Nice to read The Press with a view out over the ocean.

The shopping precinct is in marked decline, a pale shadow of the glory days of Saturday trading when retailing in the rest of the city, as the country, was closed for many decades after the 1930s. Deregulation turned the tables in the 1980s.

I'm always a bit sad when I visit New Brighton now & see what it's become.

But the sun still comes out, you still inhale the sea breeze, kids have fun, and birds screech. A cool easterly can dampen the spirits, but only for a spell.

kuaka said...

Oh, I forgot to add that actually it really doesn't look too different now in terms of shoreline, beach-side views.

Not sure about "the feel" (how does one know?) but, like Sumner, the other Christchurch seaside suburb, I'd wager the feel of the place isn't much different from that of 100 years ago, unlike the built-up urban settings.

Both spots have been very popular with Christchurch residents over the generations. They're sort of good "hand-me-downs".

Many, I'd hazard, have fond memories of when Mum & Dad, Gran & Grandad "took me to Sumner or New Brighton". And they in turn introduce their children to these special nearby seaside places. Memories in the collective conscious.

Andrew said...

My memories of CH are hazy. I need to see where it is and give it some attention. Of course, if it has gone wrong, I will blame Piggy.