The Old Municipal Chambers was completed and opened in 1887 and was the first Queen Anne styled building in New Zealand and the first permanent, purpose-built building designed for the Municipal Council.
Currently closed, the Municipal Chambers were severely damaged in the 2010/11 Canterbury earthquake sequence. The building was protected, weatherproofed and stabilised in 2014, and the Council is regularly inspecting, monitoring and maintaining the building until repair, strengthening, reconstruction and restoration work commences.
The building was designed in 1885 by London born Samuel Hurst Seager, who was a young, newly qualified architect at the time. Seager emigrated to New Zealand with his parents and three sisters in 1870 and went on to became an important and major contributor to Christchurch’s architectural development in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Seager’s design was selected as the winning submission for a design competition for the proposed Christchurch Municipal Chambers. The building’s Queen Anne style was unlike any other building in a city, which was dominated by the conventional Gothic and Renaissance Revival styles.
With its rich history and abundant interior and exterior decorative qualities, this beautiful heritage building within its picturesque setting along on the banks of the Avon River is an important contribution to the city’s identity and sense of place.