Quake-hit Catholic Basilica demolished

Demolition work is continuing at the earthquake-damaged Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Christchurch.

The cathedral, also known as the Christchurch Catholic Basilica, was severely damaged in the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

The Catholic Diocese of Christchurch announced it would demolish the cathedral on Barbadoes St last year and work to deconstruct it began in October.

Work to deconstruct the cathedral began in October. Photo: RNZ
Work to deconstruct the cathedral began in October. Photo: RNZ

After its opening on February 12 in 1905, it was registered as a Category 1 heritage building with Heritage New Zealand/Pouhere Taonga, and as a Group 1 building in the Christchurch City Plan, and is listed as having international and national significance.

The cathedral before it suffered major earthquake damage. Photo: Heritage New Zealand
The cathedral before it suffered major earthquake damage. Photo: Heritage New Zealand
According to Christchurch City Libraries, the cathedral was designed by Francis William Petre and was based on old Roman basilicas.

It was neo-classical in style and derived from 18th-century examples from France.

The first foundation stone was laid on 10 February 1901. The building required more than 3300 cubic metres of Oamaru stone, 560 cubic metres of Mount Somers stone, 113 cubic metres of concrete and 88 tonnes of steel.

Plans for a new Catholic cathedral were announced last year.

The Catholic Bishop of Christchurch, Paul Martin, said the new cathedral near Victoria Square is expected to be able to hold up to 1000 people and to be completed by 2025.

The site of the proposed new cathedral. Image: Catholic Diocese of Christchurch video
The site of the proposed new cathedral. Image: Catholic Diocese of Christchurch video
Bishop Martin said when it became impractical to rebuild the old cathedral on Barbadoes St, the thought of a new cathedral in the centre of the city became most appealing.

"The new cathedral will be a cornerstone of the recently announced new five-parish structure for the city and will see the amalgamation of the existing Mairehau and St Mary's Pro-Cathedral parishes into this central city site."

 

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