Topic: Citizens War Memorial

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In the square by the ugly shop addition to the english church

The idea of a Citizens' War Memorial was first presented as early as 1920 in a letter toThe Press by Mr George Gould chairman of Pyne Gould and Guiness, a stock and station firm. Gould's proposal was in direct competition with plans for a Bridge of Remembrance. The subsequent discord over contributions that had been raised was eventually resolved when it was agreed to share the money between the two projects. For thirteen years Gould and his supporters battled for permission from the City Council for Godley's vacated site in the centre of the Square. The Council's continued refusal caused Gould to declare that "the opposition came from half a dozen men who could not resist the unusual sensation of being able to defeat the hopes and desires of their betters."1 It wasn't until Godley was repositioned in his original site in 1933 that the Council conceded the space left beside the Cathedral.

As the memorial site was on the Christchurch Cathedral grounds the Cathedral chapter laid down some stipulations on the design. They required that the memorial have a central cross and "be of inspiring character."2 William Trethewey a local sculptor approached the architect G.A Hart of the firm Hart and Reese and together they composed a detailed design that met with the requirements of the Chapter.

The mandatory cross was made from Portland stone left over from the building of the Auckland Museum. The cross sprouted from a group of six allegorical figures. The figures symbolised youth, justice, peace, sacrifice, valour and victory. Trethewey retained individual features by basing his figures on actual people. For example, peace imitated the character of his daughter and youth was modelled on one of his workmen.3 The figures were cast at A.B Burtons foundry in England under the supervision of Trethewey.

The Citizen's War Memorial was unveiled on the 9 June, 1937, a date that was seventeen years after the idea had been first presented.

1 The Sorrow and the Pride, p132. The Press, 30, 31 Jan, 1922, 29 May, 1923

2 Mclean, C & Phillips, J; The Sorrow and the Pride, New Zealand War Memorials, (Wellington, Department of Internal Affairs, 1990). p133. This is actually their reference, but I did not locate the Trethewey Collection

3 Ibid, p135

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