The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]
Twenty-four citizens have occupied the mayoral chair of Christchurch since the Town Council met at 10 a.m. on the 10th of June, 1868, for the purpose of electing the city's first mayor. The members present at the meeting were: Messrs W. Wilson, J. P. Jameson, T. Tombs, J. G. Ruddenklau, Henry Thomson, W. A. Sheppard, and John Anderson, who occupied the chair. Mr Thomson, in a laudatory speech, proposed Mr Wilson as the first mayor of Christchurch, and Mr Tombs seconded the proposition. Mr Anderson, as chairman, put the resolution to the meeting, and it was carried unanimously. On that date the “Municipal Corporations Act, 1867,” came into force. Prior to that time the following gentlemen were successively chairmen of the town council; Sir John Hall in 1862 and 1863, Mr John Oilivier in 1863 and 1864, Mr Isaac Luck in 1865, Mr E. B. Bishop in 1866, and Mr W. Wilson in 1867. After Mr Wilson's term as mayor, he was followed successively by Messrs John Anderson, A. Duncan, J. P. Jameson, H. Sawtell, E. B. Bishop, and M. B. Hart, each for a term of one year. Mr F. Hobbs then filled the chair for the years 1875 and 1876. Next followed Mr James Gapes, who subsequently held office for another term; Mr Henry Thomson for one year, and Mr. C. T. Iek for two years, occupying the position during the interim. Messrs J. G. Ruddenklan, C. P. Hulbert, A. Ayers, and C. Liuisson followed respectively, each for two years; and Mr Louisson also had the honour of being reelected for 1898 and 1899. After Mr Louisson's first term the chair was occupied successively by Messrs S. Mnnning, C. M. Gray, W. Prudhoe, Eden George, and Thomas Gapes. Mr W. H. Cooper was mayor for the years 1895 and 1897, and Mr H. J. Beswick filled the position for the intervening year, 1896. Mr W. Reece was mayor during the Jubilee year, 1900, and held the position till April, 1901, when he was succeeded by Mr. A. E. G. Rhodes. The present Mayor, Mr. H. F. Wigram, was elected in April, 1902.
Mr. William Wilson, who was first Mayor of Christchurch, was born in 1819, and is the eldest son of Mr. William Wilson. of Stranraer, Scotland. He came to New Zealand in the very early days of Canterbury settlement, after having previously served an apprenticeship of seven years to Mr. J. Wilson, seedsman, of Kirkcudbrightshire. He was also in the service of several of the nobility, by which he gained a further knowledge of his business. He lauded in canterbury in 1850 by the ship “Mariner.” and at once started as a nurseryman and seedsman at the Bricks Farm, on the River Avon. Mr. Wilson took a very prominent part in politics, and was a well-known forcible speaker. In 1869, he was elected to the Canterbury Provincial Council, and sat for seven years. Subsequently in conjunction with others, he organised the movement for the incorporation of the city, and was elected chairman of the municipality, and later the first mayor of the city. In every movement inaugurated for the welfare of the city. Mr. Wilson has been one of the leading spirits. He was the chairman of the Christchurch Horticultural Society for many years. He erected the first Town Hall, a building now occupied by Messrs. Strange and Co., drapers. High Street. He was married in 1844 to Elizabeth, daughter of Mr. Williams.
Mr. W. Wilson.
Mr. J. Anderson.
Mr. Andrew Duncan, who was Mayor of Christchurch for the year 1870, was born in the west of Scotland, in 1834, and came to Canterbury with his parents about the year 1858. He worked for some time at his occupation as nurseryman, and afterwards established his nursery gardens down the Ferry Road. He also started in business as seedsman, his first shop being in Gloucester Street on the site of the premises afterwards occupied by the Gas Company. By strict attention to his affairs, combined with considerable commerical aptitude, he was enabled to extend the operations of his business in various directions, and in due course removed to the shop in Cashel Street, which he possessed at the time of his death, on the 10th of December, 1880. During his later years Mr. Duncan took a prominent part in public affairs. He was a member of the City Council, and also mayor of Christchurch. Mr. Duncan also represented Heathcote in the Provincial Council for a considerable period, and was a member of the Provincial Executive. He contested one of the seats for Christchurch in the General Assembly, against Mr. E. J. Wakefield, but was not elected. Mr. Duncan was strongly urged to come forward again as one of the candidates for the city, but could not be prevailed upon to do so. He visited the Old Country as an Emigration Agent for the Provincial Government, and acted in that capacity for about a year, during which he induced a considerable number of suitable emigrants to leave for Canterbury. After his return he was appointed a member of the Board of Education, and was made a Commissioner of School Reserves. He was an active member of the Drainage Board from its formation, and was also on the Waste Lands Board, and the South Waimakariri Board of Conservation. Mr. Duncan took a keen interest in the agricultural interests of the colony, and was for a long period a member of the Canterbury Agricultural and Pastoral Association, of which he was president at the time of his death. Mr. Duncan was for many years a member of the Christchurch Horticultural Society, in the affairs of which he always took great interest. He was for some years a member of the North Canterbury Board of Education, and held the position of chairman at one time. During his term of office he opened a number of the country district state schools. Mr Duncan was an officebearer of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church on several occasions, and at the time of his death was a member of the Financial Committee of the congregation. About two months before his death Mr. Duncan visited Australia for the benefit of his health, which, however, was not improved by the trip, and he died three weeks after returning to his home in Christchurch, at the comparatively early age of forty-six.
Mr. A. Duncan.
Mr. James Purvis Jameson, who was Mayor of the City of Christchurch in 1871, and a councillor for several years, was born in London on the 5th of April, 1824, and came to New Zealand in the ship “Sebastopol,” which arrived at Lyttelton in 1863. He always took a keen interest in local public matters, and was one of the first members of the Industrial Association of Canterbury, and the second president of that association. Mr. Jameson was a consistent supporter of local industries, and was one of the promoters of the original Kaiapoi Woollen Company. For many years he was a director of the Mutual Benefit Building Society, chairman of the Christchurch Public Cemetery Board, and of several other public bodies, He was well known in commercial circles, and was for some years in business as a merchant in Christchurch. Soon after his arrival in the colony he purchased a farm at Leeston. This property he subsequently sold, and took up another farm at Coalgate, where he resided during the latter part of his life and almost to the date of his death. Mr. Jameson was married, prior to leaving the Old Country, and at his death, on the 6th of September, 1896, he left a family of four sons and one daughter.
Mr. Henry Sawtell occupied the Mayoral chair for the year 1872. For some time he was in partnership with Mr. A. Cracroft Wilson, and the firm carried on business as general merchants in High Street, under the style of Wilson, Sawtell and Co. Mr. Sawtell still (1902) resides in Christchurch.
Mr. Edward Brenchley Bishop, who was Mayor of Christchurch for the year 1873, was also chairman of the Town Council in 1866. He was a resident of the colony for thirty-seven years, was very prominent in public affairs, and was one who put his whole soul and energy into any undertaking with which he was connected. Mr. Bishop was born at Somerfield House, near Maidstone, Kent, England, in 1811. After being educated in England and France he served twenty-one years with Messrs Swaine and Co., distillers, of London. He came with his family to New Zealand in the Charlotte Jane,” one of the first four ships, and landed at Lyttelton on the 16th of December, 1850. Mr. Bishop had purchased land from the Canterbury Association, and he and his family left Lyttelton with a tent and sundries packed on a horse, and camped near the place now known as Wilson's Bridge. After much inconvenience the party reached the selected piece of land. It struggled against hardships, and eventually succeeded in building a whare, with timber brought from Lyttelton and up the Heathcote in a small vessel. Mr. Bishop was one of the first members of the Farmers' Club, which was afterwards merged into the Agricultural and Pastoral Association, of which he became treasurer and afterwards secretary. When he resigned the secretaryship he was presented with a gold watch and was made a life member. He was associated with the earliest volunteer movement, and, having no rifles, the men used their ordinary guns in manual and platoon exercise. Mr. Bishop took an active part in the formation of the Rifle Association, was made treasurer, and in 1873 president, and he was also honorary treasurer to the No. 1 Company Volunteers. In 1872 he was made a Justice of the Peace. On the expiration of his office as mayor, he was presented with a valuable piece of plate, accompanied by an illuminated address. In 1870 he published an abstract of the Municipal Corporations Act. Mr. Bishop took an active part in the management of the Mechanics' Institute, being appointed its honorary treasurer, and one year was elected president, when the society's name was altered to that of the Literary Institute. Mr. Bishop died at his residence, Cranmer Square, on the 25th of April, 1887, aged seventy-six years.
Mr. M. B. Hart, who was well known as an early colonist, was Mayor of Christchurch in 1874.
Mr. Frededick Hobbs, J.P., twice successively Mayor of Christchurch, was born in the village of Hambleden, Buckinghamshire, England, in 1841, and arrived in New Zealand in 1855. After settling in Christchurch Mr. Hobbs watched with deep interest the progress of the city, and came, in 1867, to the conclusion that the greater portion of the sickness then prevalent might be abolished with proper means. He accordingly applied himself to the study of hygiene, and sanitation, and stood as a candidate for the City Council in 1870. On that occasion he advocated not only better hygiene and improved sanitation, but a system of lending by Government to local bodies on the security of the rates; the value of this proposal was not realised at the time, but it has since become general in New Zealand. After spending four years as a member of the City Council, Mr. Hobbs was elected Mayor, and was returned for a second term. When that was concluded he resumed his original seat as a councillor at the close of 1876. On his retirement from public service in 1877, Mr. Hobbs was presented with a handsomely illuminated address, which was page 107 accompanied by a valuable present, as a token of the high esteem in which he was held by the citizens of Christchurch. Mr. Hobbs was one of those who advocated the abolition of provincial governments, and the transference of their funds to the local bodies, which should then own such sources of revenue as dog-taxes and license-fees. He was one of the first to propose that the City Council should asphalt the sidewalks of the city. Mr. Hobbs is a member of one of the oldest families in his native district. After spending some years in the Life Guards, he took up the trade of tailoring, which he followed with great success in Christchurch, after arriving in New Zealand in 1855. This business was subsequently carried on by his son, Mr Frederick Hobbs, in extensive buildings, erected for the purpose, and now well known as Hobbs' Buildings. Mr. Hobbs was married, in 1866, to Miss Elizabeth Murray, of Taunton, England, and has seven sons and three daughters.
Mr. James Gapes, J.P., who was Mayor of the City of Christchurch in the years 1877 and 1881, and was ten years a member of the Council, was born at Saffron-Walden on the border of Essex and Herts, England, in 1822, and was educated there and in London. He was for twenty-two years employed by a large firm in the metropolis. While in London Mr. Gapes was intimately associated with the early pioneers of Canterbury, and took a very active part in the business of colonisation, especially in connection with the Canterbury settlement. He arrived at Lyttelton by the ship “Regina,” in 1859, and started in the glass and paint trade in Victoria Street, where he conducted the business for thirty years, and was ultimately joined by his son, Mr. Thomas Gapes, who took over the whole business in 1889. Mr. James Gapes was a member of the Christchurch Hospital Board for some time. He was initiated in Freemasonry in the Canterbury Lodge, and was an officer of the Order of Foresters for thirty-six years. Mr. Gapes was also a trustee of that Order and was attached to Court Star of Canterbury, in which he had passed the whole of the chairs. Mr. Gapes was a flautist of considerable skill, and played with the late Sir Cracroft Wilson, also a flautist, in nearly every oratorio concert given in the early days. Mr. Gapes was married, in 1843, to a daughter of the late Mr. Le Lean, and had four daughters and six sons. Mrs Gapes, who was greatly respected in the early days for her charitable disposition, died in 1888. Mr. Gapes died on the 22nd of October, 1899.
Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. J. Gapes.
Mr. Henry Thomson, J.P., was Mayor of Christchurch for the year 1878, and was subsequently a member of the House of Representatives for Christchurch. He is referred to in another article as a former member of the Legislature.
Mr. Charles Thomas Ick was Mayor of Christchurch in 1879 and in 1880, and proved himself to be a man of enligfitened public spirit. He arrived in Christchurch in 1870, and soon began to take an active interest in matters bearing on the progress of the city and the well-being of its people. Mr Ick was a member of the Christchurch City Council for many years, and during his first year of the mayorship he was instrumental in organising the Christchurch Benevolent Aid Society, and was also connected with the Hospital and Charitable Aid Board. He was born on the 9th of January, 1827, in Salop, England, where his father, Mr. Joseph Ick, was the proprietor of the well-known estate “Lady Halton.” After receiving a sound education in Shropshire, he entered the drapery trade, which he followed after his arrival in New Zealand for a short time in Dunedin. He landed at Dunedin in 1857, and, an leaving business, he took up land at Waikouaiti, where he farmed till 1870, when he came to Christchurch, Mr. Ick carried on business in Christchurch as an auctioneer up to 1883, when, broken in health, he retired into private life. Two years later, he died after a painful illness, and left a family of six daughters and two sons.
Mr. C. T. Ick.
Mr. John George Ruddenklau was Mayor of Christchurch in 1882 and 1883. He was born at Hesse Cassel, Germany, in 1829, and was brought up to the bakery business. In 1851 he went to London, where he followed his trade till his departure for New Zealand in 1857. In the latter part of that year he landed at Lyttelton, and followed his trade for some time in Christchurch. He afterwards became a licensed victualler, and was well known in that capacity as the proprietor of the first City Hotel. His name was subsequently connected with other commercial undertakings until 1890, when, on account of failing health, he visited England. Mr. Ruddenklau died in 1891, seven months after his return to New Zealand.
Mr. Charles Partridge Hulbert, who was Mayor for the years 1884 and 1885, was a conspicuous figure in business and social circles in Christchurch for many years. He came to New Zealand from Australia and joined the “rush” on the Otago goldfields. Mr. Hulbert also went through the Maori war, for which he received the New Zealand war medal. He was subsequently in business in High Street for many years. Mr. Hulbert afterwards went to Wellington, where he still resides.
Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. A. Ayers.
Mr. Samuel Manning, who was Mayor of the City of Christchurch in 1890, and is an old and enterprising Colonist, was born in 1841 in Suffolk, England, and educated at the Public School in Needham Market, Suffolk. He accompanied his father to Lyttelton, per ship “Egmont,” which arrived at Christmas of 1856, among his fellow passengers being the late Bishop Harper and family. Until 1860 Mr. Manning was variously employed, and subsequently engaged with his father in the brewing business until 1864, and for nearly twenty-five years afterwards was connected with the trade in Christchurch. In 1865 he established the well-known firm of S. Manning and Co., which developed into a large and important concern. In 1882 the business was sold to a company, of which Mr. Manning became managing director, and filled that position until 1889. In the year 1866, he joined the Canterbury Yeomanry Cavalry as a trooper, and in time became corporal, sergeant, sergeant-major, and acting-lieutenant in the Cavalry Cadets. He resigned from the corps early in 1871. Mr. Manning was elected to the Heathcote Road Board in 1875, and served on that body for several years. In 1883, he and his family paid a visit to England, and shortly after his return he entered the Christchurch City Council as representative of South-cast Ward. During his mayoralty, the Richmond Ward was added to the city. He is now one of the City Sinking Fund Commissioners. Mr. Manning was connected with the Agricultural and Pastoral Society and with the Christchurch Chamber of Commerce for several years. He is chairman and a director of the Crown Iron Works Company, a director of the Mutual Benefit Building Society, and of the Provident and Industrial Assurance Society of New Zealand, and is also a member of the Christchurch Bowling Club. Mr. Manning was married in 1831, to a daughter of the late Mr. William Piper, of Christchurch. This lady died in December, 1894, leaving three sons and five daughters. In July, 1897, he married a daughter of the late Mr. William Healy, of Nelson.
Wrigglesworth and Bians, photo.
Mr. S. Manning.
Mr. Charles Mathew Gray, J.P., was Mayor of Christchurch in the year 1891. He has been an active member of the City Council since 1885, and has displayed great interest and much ability in connection with municipal matters. Mr. Gray is elsewhere referred to as the present senior member of the City Council.
Mr. William Prudhoe, J.P., who occupied the Mayoral chair in 1892, hails from Sunderland, England, where he was born in 1832. Mr. Prudhoe was educated at the ordinary public schools, and was brought up to the building trade, being apprenticed to Mr. J. Tone, a leading builder in his native town. Arriving in Lyttelton in 1859 by the ship “Regina,” he commenced business on his own account, and has erected a great many buildings in Christchurch and suburbs, including Voker's Hotel, the Jewish Synagogue, the first section of the Canterbury Museum, and the Kaiapoi Public School. Mr. Prudhoe was first elected to the City Council in 1882 by the ratepayers of Northwest Ward, and has sat in the Council continuously with the exception of a few months after vacating the mayoral chair. He has long been a member of the Ashburton and North Canterbury Charitable Aid Board, and for about five years held a seat on the Christchurch Hospital Board. Mr. Prudhoe is a past grand master of the Orange Order for the Middle Island, attached to No. 3 Lodge of “Orange True Blues.” He was initiated in the Oddfellows' Order before leaving England, but is unattached in the Colony. Mr. Prudhoe was married in 1855 to a daughter of Mr. Cumberland Adamson, of Sunderland, and has two sons and one daughter.
Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. W. Prudhoe.
Mr. Eden George, who was Mayor of Christchurch for the year 1893, had the distinction of filling that position at an earlier age than any of his predecessors, being under thirty at the time. He advocated many under provements for the city, asphalting the streets being one of them. This proposal, although much ridiculed at the time, has since been successfully carried into effect. Mr. George was an enterprising photographer, and established a successful business in Christchurch and Dunedin, which he subsequently sold to Messrs Wrigglesworth and Binns. He then went to Sydney, and established himself in business there, and also in Melbourne. At the present time (1902) Mr. George is a member of the New South Wales Legislature.
Mr. T. Gapes.
Mr. Walter H. Cooper, J.P., Mayor of Christchurch for the years 1895 and 1897, wan born in Somersetshire, England, in the year 1849. He arrived in Christchurch in 1882, when he joined the firm of Messrs Hopkins and Co., butchers, as manager. On severing his connection with that firm three years later, he bought the business of the late Mr. W. H. Mein, and successfully carried on a large wholesale and export trade till he retired in 1893. He was for some time a member of the City Council, and in 1895 he was chosen as mayor. Having filled that position with satisfaction to the citizens, they again elected him to the mayoralty in 1897, for a second year of office. In his connection with public affairs Mr. Cooper has filled several important positions, notably as chairman of the Conciliation Board, the St. John Ambulance Association, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and as a member of the Charitable Aid Board and Domain Board.
Mr. Harry Joseph Beswick, who was Mayor of Christchurch in the year 1896, is a son of Mr. Joseph Sutton Beswick, J.P., an early pioneer colonist, who was Provincial Treasurer for Canterbury, Member of the House of Representatives for Kaiapoi, and for some time Resident Magistrate at Timaru. Mr. H. J. Beswick was born in Kaiapoi, on the 2nd of May, 1860, and received his education at Christ's College. He was articled to Messrs Harper and Harper, solicitors, Christchurch, and was admitted as a barrister in 1883. Mr. Beswick remained with the firm until its dissolution in 1893, when he began to practise on his own account, with offices in Hereford Street. Subsequently he joined Mr. George Harris in partnership, and the business is still continued under the style of Beswick and Harris. Mr. Beswick was formerly a well-known figure in athletic circles. He was captain of the school at Christ's College, and winner of the championship cup. He was also captain of the first College cricket team that toured the southern provinces, and he has played for Christchurch in interprovincial football matches. In 1899 Mr. Beswick married the second daughter of Mr. James Mills, managing director of the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand.
The Hon. Charles Louisson, M.L.C., was Mayor of Christchurch for four terms; first in 1888 and 1889, and afterwards in 1898 and 1899. He is elsewhere referred to as a member of the Legislative Council.
Mr. William Reece, who was Mayor of Christchurch in the year 1900, is a son of the late Mr. Edward Reece, who came to the colony in 1855, and, in the following year, established the now extensive business of Messrs Edward Reece and Sons. Mr. William Reece, who was born and educated in Christchurch, went to England to complete his business training, and returned to the colony in 1879, when his father handed over the management of the firm to him. This arrangement continued until 1887, when Mr. Edward Reece died. The conduct of the business then devolved upon his two sons, Mr. W. Reece and Mr. C. S. Reece, who carried it on till 1892, when the latter retired. Since that date the business—which is described in another portion of this volume—has been conducted solely by Mr. W. Reece, who, as Mayor of Christchurch during the Jubilee year of the province, discharged the duties of the office with a thoroughness and dignity which reflected credit on the city.
Mr. Arthur Edgar Gravenor Rhodes is the third son of the late Mr. George Rhodes, of the Levels Estate, Timaru. He was born in 1859, and educated at Christ's College, Christchurch, and Jesus College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. and LL.B. in 1880. He was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1882, in which year he returned to the Colony, and commenced the practice of his profession in Christchurch in 1884. In 1887, he was elected to the House of Representatives for the Gladstone constituency, and three years later for the Geraldine seat. In the general elections of 1893 and 1806 he contested the Pareora seat unsuccessfully. Mr. Rhodes was returned unopposed as Mayor of Christchurch in 1901, and he had the honour of receiving and welcoming to Christchurch their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, now Prince and Princess of Wales. “Te Koraha,” his beautiful residence in Merivale, was placed at the disposal of their Royal Highnesses, and was occupied by them during their stay in Christchurch. Mr. Rhodes has taken a lively interest in athletics, and has held a considerable number of positions in connection with various clubs. He is president of the Rugby Union and the Canterbury Rowing Association. Mr. Rhodes was married in 1892 to Miss Rose Moorhouse, daughter of the late Mr. J. W. Moorhouse, and has one son and one daughter.
Standish and Preece, photo.
Mr. A. E. G. Rhodes.