Former Chief Post Office, Christchurch
Today, the former Chief Post Office is one of the oldest buildings in Cathedral Square. It was built between 1877 and 1879 to a design by William Clayton, New Zealand’s first and only Colonial Architect. The brick building is designed in an Italianate style combining Classical and Venetian Gothic elements. There is a clock tower on the east façade and a prominent British coat of arms above the main entrance. The building functioned as the Chief Post Office for 113 years, which at times also housed the Immigration, Customs and Public Works departments. In 1881, New Zealand’s first telephone exchange was installed there.
This important building is a landmark in inner-city Christchurch and is recognised as a Heritage New Zealand Listed Category 1 building. It has sustained some earthquake damage and the $250,000 grant from Heritage EQUIP will contribute to the cost of a comprehensive repair and strengthening process. This will include work on foundations, establishing structural diaphragms, and installing steel framing.