Canterbury College

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


An image of the newly completed Registry building from the Armson Collins Collection photograph albums.

By 1913 the roll at Canterbury College had increased to 354 students in total. Demands on space for teaching were matched by demands for administration as the College became an increasingly complex institution. It is useful to remember that administration for the Board and the Registrar meant not only managing the College but also the Public Library, the Girls' and Boys' High Schools, the School of Art and the Museum.

A separate Registry building was completed in 1916, having been designed by Collins and Harman at a cost of £2,944. Built on corner of Worcester and Montreal Streets at some distance from rest of College, the Registry was a relatively plain building, which begins to hint that the reign of Gothic Revival was coming to an end. Professor of Classics Hugh Stewart commented of the building in 1923 that “… it need only be said that the College is fortunate in its detachment.”

By the 1950s space was again so tight that the typing pool occupied the Council Room, and the Council were forced to meet elsewhere in College. The Registry was extended in 1957 with a single storey addition on Montreal Street. To make way for the additions, two older wooden buildings on the site were demolished, one of which had been the office for Karl Popper during his time at Canterbury. The new addition made no reference to the Gothic whatsoever. A student described the extension in Canta February 1957 as looking like “...something between a pumping station, the Waipipi Ladies Rest Room, and the offices of the Karangahape Rabbit Board.”

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