Canterbury College

Learning by Design: Building Canterbury College in the City 1873-1973. An illustrated history based on the Armson Collins Architectural Drawings Collection

Building Blocks

In 1850 Bishop Selwyn had advised the Canterbury Association that “A full grown college cannot be exported at once; … Mark out a good extent of land, and put up a wooden building; people are very tolerant, and will call it ‘The College’; and why should they not, when even an infirmary for sick horses may enjoy that name?”

Thankfully, though Canterbury College started with just one modest laboratory, it did evolve into a full grown college. Block by block, the town site of Canterbury College between Hereford and Worcester Streets was constructed between 1876 and 1966. Without any precise overall plan for the development of the town site, buildings tended to be added as necessity demanded, and funds allowed. The result is that each building has its own unique character and its own story to tell.

 Town Site Timeline


 The Old Tin Shed


 The Clock Tower


 Christchurch Girls' High School


 Christchurch Boys' High School


 The Great Hall


 The Classics Building


 Mechanical Engineering Laboratory


 Biological Laboratory and Observatory


 Electrical Engineering Laboratory


 Hydraulics Laboratory


 Chemical Laboratory


 College Library


 Arcades and Men's Common Room


 Physics Laboratory




 Student Union