25 Aug 2023

Ever wondered the best way to spend a week in Christchurch in the early 1900s? Or what the city’s tram system was like?

Maybe you’re more interested in how much it would cost to light a house with electricity 109 years ago.

You can find out all of this and more as Christchurch City Libraries marks 70,000 items on its digital heritage repository Canterbury Stories with the Guide to Christchurch and Picturesque Canterbury.

“The guide from 1914 was the perfect item to notch up this significant milestone,” Head of Libraries and Information Carolyn Robertson says.

“It adds a lot to our Canterbury Stories collection marking a chapter in Christchurch’s history and really showing people what life was like during that time.”

The Guide was produced by the Borough Councils and Local Bodies of Canterbury as an advertorial to get people to visit and lays out what people could see and do in 1914 Christchurch.

“You can find out about all sorts of industries and businesses, amusements and activities, the climate and hotels, whatever may be helpful for you to plan a visit as a tourist. It is interesting to note the differences and similarities to today,” Ms Robertson says.

Canterbury Stories has grown significantly since it launched in 2019 with 6,000 items.

“Now there are 70,000 items including shipboard diaries from the 1850s, letters home during World War II, maps from the mid twentieth Century, band posters from the 1980s and thousands of photographs from the late 1800s to today,” Ms Robertson says.

“We collect and describe these items to preserve them for the future and make them accessible and searchable for all 24/7.”

Ms Robertson says the Library is continuing to collect and tell the stories of Canterbury.

“This includes older items as well as those that reflect our contemporary life as they become the history of the future. We’re really looking forward to hitting our next milestone.”

See the Guide to Christchurch and Picturesque Canterbury here.

And check out all of Canterbury Stories here.