An earthquake-damaged chapel built to honour New Zealand nurses who died in World War I and II and the 1918 flu epidemic is going to be restored.
Mayor Lianne Dalziel has announced Christchurch City Council will commit funds to the strengthening and restoration of the historic Nurses Memorial Chapel.
The chapel sits at the front of Christchurch Hospital and was originally built to commemorate the loss of 10 New Zealand nurses who died when the British troop ship, Marquette, was torpedoed by a German submarine in the Aegean Sea in late October 1915. Three of the nurses killed were trained at Christchurch Hospital.
The late Gothic Revival chapel opened in 1928 and now serves as a tribute to all New Zealand nurses who died in World War I, World War II and the deadly influenza epidemic of 1918.
A key feature of the chapel is its beautiful stained glass windows which commemorate pioneering nurses such as Sibylla Maude, who set up the first district nursing service in New Zealand.
“It’s a building that has survived against the odds,’’ said Mayor Dalziel. “The chapel survived proposals by two previous hospital boards to demolish it in the 1970s and 80s, after which a heritage protection order was signed.
“Then, shortly after it came into Council ownership with the Council/hospital land swap in 2009, it survived a major earthquake – and every quake since. It is a very special building and it deserves a full, vibrant future,’’ the Mayor said.
Council Heritage Rebuild Programme Manager Richie Moyle said intrusive investigation work on the chapel was currently under way to determine the full extent of the work required to strengthen and restore it.
“Contractors are expected onsite to carry out repairs and strengthening in early 2017. It is anticipated that work will conclude in early 2018 – and then we’ll celebrate the official reopening,’’ Mr Moyle said.