Sunday, November 7, 2010

Provincial Council Chambers

We take from the Lyttelton Times the following description of the new Council Chamber in course of construction at Christchurch:
- "The works in connection with this building have been commenced in earnest. The following is a slight description of the intended edifice, with some of the principal dimensions. The style is the Early English. The length of the interior will be 55 feet, and the width 44 feet. The chamber will be entered by a lobby from the south; the length of this lobby will be 13 feet by 7 feet in width. The Speaker's room and the Clerk's room, each 13 feet by 12, are to be situated on the right and left of the lobby respectively, which is to be approached by a flight of steps from the footpath from the bridge. The reporters' gallery is to be at the south end of the Chamber, occupying its entire width, and will be supported on porphyry pillars from Mr Ellis' quarry at Hoon Hay. The main entrance to the Chamber is to be on the west side of the building; the deeply-recessed doorway will be reached by a low flight of steps, the recess itself being paved with encaustic tiles. The door-way will open into a vestibule 28 feet long, and 16 feet wide. In the centre of the vestibule, on the right hand side, will be the doors leading to the chamber, and on the left those conducting to the Stranger's Gallery. Further on in the vestibule, but more to the east, a communication will be made with the present building. In the eastern wall of the vestibule will be a doorway opening into the Government Gardens. The total height of the building will be 24ft; total width, 36ft; total length, 94ft. Under the Speaker's Room and the Clerk's Room, the boilers will be placed for the hot water apparatus employed in heating the chamber. The principal portion of the work upon which the workmen are at present engaged is the excavation of the soil for the reception of the boilers. The building will be constructed of bluish gray rubble with gray porphyry dressings and quoins. The interior dressings and jambs are to be of sandstone, the inside of the chamber up to the window-sills will be lined with encaustic tiles from a porphyry plinth; above this, with sandstone ashlar. The roof will be pointed, ridge and furrow, and covered with slates.

The contractors for the undertaking are Messrs Forgan and Sons, the design being furnished by Mr Mountfort, of the firm of Messrs Bury and Mountfort; Mr F. Lockyear acting as clerk of the works. The total cost of the Chamber will be about £7000, and it is expected to be finished in the month of January next."

Otago Daily Times, Issue 806, 19 July 1864, Page 4

Our new Council-chamber is fast rising, and will certainly be something for Canterbury to be proud of. The dimensions are something like 65 feet by 35 feet; the style, pointed and freely treated; the two-light windows on either side are deeply recessed behind an arcade, to which shafts, of a stone resembling Purbeck marble, will give an excellent effect. The timber roof, or rather ceiling, may be described as "ridge and furrow," in the form of a well pronounced pointed arch. It is to be divided by ribs into bays at each window, over which the ridges and furrows terminate in section, the principal ribbing arches being carried on columned corbels. There is much of novelty in the design of this roof; and one thing is certain, it will imperatively demand colour; and here will be the difficulty; it would really be worth while to send to England for an artist who would do it well; for to mar such a piece of work by any paltry makeshifts, for the sake of temporary effect, would be a thousand pities. A range of buildings, to be used as refreshment or retiring-rooms, is also going forward. Mr. Mountfort is the architect, and may be congratulated on such a success as I venture to say this building will be. The same artist has also in hand the buildings for the Supreme Court, which will be erected on a block of land adjacent to the present Government Buildings, and which will eventually continue the facade along the river.
Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, Volume XXIII, Issue 150, 12 December 1864, Page 6

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