Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Christchurch Bicycle Brass Band - Multi-tasking in the 1890s

Not too much information on this picture, simply identified as the Christchurch Cycle Band, probably circa 1890s.

Who said multi-tasking is a modern phenomenon? Aside from steering, pedalling, & balancing simultaneously, these daring bandsmen had to recall their music and play one-handed.

Perhaps there was a first aid cycle team that followed them around.


Marcus Castell said...

This north-easterly view was taken on the parade ground of the Army's drill shed complex, situated on the north side of Cashel Street east, between Cambridge Terrace and Montreal Streets. The 1860s buildings were replaced by the King Edward Barracks in 1905.

The building to the far right, with the roof skylight, is the city morgue, behind the Hereford Street Police Station of 1873.

kuaka said...

Thanks for the detailed information!

The site may be the future location of the House of Tahu, I hear, though the $52m price tag is reportedly causing some dissent among runanga members in these tough economic times.

Runanga leadership may well find need of a bicycle brass band to act as an entertaining diversion while scaffolding goes up.

As for the skylight morgue, the cold light of day on the corpse no doubt assists the post mortem...

Marcus Castell said...

The old Drill Hall had been a popular venue for public functions from the 1860s, as was its succesor, the King Edward Barracks from 1905 until demolished in 1996 by the Ngai Tahu. It has been a car park ever since. Much to their discredit, this same tribe has also been responsible for the demolition of the neo-Gothic Sunnyside Hospital building and many of the Wigram Airforce Base buildings, which they have subsequently closed in pursuit of yet another overly ambitious property development scheme.

A close inspection of records relating to the Christchurch City Council, Ngai Tahu Holdings Ltd and another large property development company appears to reveal a litany of cross directorships and interchangeable employees. Public cynicism and moral disgust therefore comes as no surprise in the face of what would seem to be mounting evidence of cronyism, conflict of interest and the abuse of power.

Like too many of the city's heritage buildings, the City Morgue was demolished in 1973 for yet another car park.

kuaka said...

Anyone conversant with the extremely high traffic densities of central Christchurch will realize how desperately additional car parks are needed... not!

I still like my idea of linking up all the empty car park lots, planting them, and calling the green archipelago Hagley Park East. Not popular with the landed class of course.

Marcus Castell said...

One must confess that in uncharacteristic moments of lapsed misanthropy the landed class of Swamp City were encountered among the chandaliered bungalows of deepest Fendalton. Alas, nowhere was there evidence of that the elegantly removed air or cavalier disdain for convention that epitomises those generations of sustained wealth encountered in more northern climes. I do believe that some of them actually breakfast before nine and hardly ever get drunk at luncheon.