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Illustrated Guide to Christchurch and Neighbourhood

Young Men's Christian Association

Young Men's Christian Association.

This Association, which was established in October 1875, has recently taken possession of handsome premises (of which we give an illustration) on its own freehold m Cambridge Terrace, between Cashel and Hereford-streets. It numbers 110 members and 36 associates, and has been largely assisted by valuable contributions from several Christchurch firms, including a donation of 100 volumes by Mr. Gould, towards replacing a library lost in a fire in the Associations' old premises. It has a President, vice-President, Hon. Treasurer, Board of Management, and a Secretary, elected annually. The subscription is 10s. a year for members under twenty-one years of age, and 20s. a year for older ones.

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The building has a spacious entrance 34ft. x 13ft., in which is the main staircase 5 ft. in width. Under this is the lavatory. Proceeding past the staircase the reading room is reached. It is 32ft. x 23 ft., and 16ft. in height. It is very handsome, well-lighted, and very inviting. On the same floor are also a library 16ft. x lift., a chess room 16ft. x 12ft., and a secretary's room 15ft. x 10ft., all well lit and with fireplaces. Immediately in the rear of the main building is the coffee room, 24ft. x 14ft., having a fireplace fitted with a gas stove. The room is fitted up with cupboards, shelving, delivery counter, &c. The whole of the upper part of the main building is devoted to a lecture hall land two class-rooms, 14ft. x 8ft., and 11ft. x 9ft. The hall is 50ft. x 30ft., and 20ft. high from floor to ceiling, with a central dome coved ventilator 24ft. from the floor. It is lighted from the front and rear by four double arched windows, as well as an eight-branch chandelier in brass, with triplex burners, and has a platform at one end 30ft. x 8ft. The floor is deadened, so that people in the rooms below cannot be annoyed by those in the lecture hall. The front elevation, as seen from Oxford and Cambridge terraces, is specially attractive from its highly ornate character. The front is divided into three bays, with pilasters below, and above these latter, ornamented with richly carved composite capitals, surmounted by a frieze are the words—"Young Men's Christian Association." Above this again is a bold corbelled cornice and substantial blocking, the centre, having pedestals to a higher level and curved pediment, the sides being supported by bold curved trusses, and acroteria surmounting the whole. The panel bears an open Bible, on which is cut words from Psalm cxix., verse 9, the book being backed by a radiation of the light of the Word. The first floor windows are of an especially enriched character, the circular heads having conch shells, and richly carved capitals to the circular columns dividing them, the sides being panelled; the lower portion of each window has deeply sunk panels. The plinth and steps are from the quarry of Mr. R. M. Morten, and the limestone front of two tints from those of Mr. W. Wilson. The bricks used are steam pressed by Mr. W. Neighbours, thus in every matter of construction local materials have been used where possible. Mr. T. S. Lambert is the architect.

At the rear of the premises, occupying nearly the whole of the remaining portion of the section (with the exception of a yard 30ft x 15ft), is a gymnasium, 45ft x 35ft, of timber framing, covered with iron on three of its sides, the remaining side being a brick wall. The walls are 15ft in height from floor to the under part of the beam of the principals, the latter being composed of kauri, trussed with diagonal struts and king and queen bolts, strongly framed with angle knees to all, to carry page 54the swings and gymnastic apparatus. The entrance is by a spacious door 8ft x 6ft. In both gables there is an upper circular-headed light, 14ft wide by 6ft in height. The roof is of corrugated iron. In the interior is a lavatory with water laid on, and the whole room is brilliantly lighted with triplex burners; the floor is composed of tan 8in in depth. The apparatus and other various appliances for gymnastics are not yet erected.