Christchurch’s Rose Chapel re-opens

The Rose Chapel has been restored. PHOTO: CCC

After standing in the central city for more than a century, a restored heritage chapel has re-opened to the public.

The stone Rose Historic Chapel, formerly known as the St Mary’s Convent Chapel, was built on Colombo St in 1910.

The chapel, which features an outstanding collection of stained glass windows, was bought by Christchurch City Council in 1996, saving it from demolition.

It was severely damaged in the February 2011 earthquake just three days before centenary celebrations were due to be held. Part of the gable walls collapsed and the rose wheel at the front of the building fell in.

It has taken almost two years of repair and restoration managed by the Council to return the chapel to its former glory.

Today, with the repair complete, the building re-opened with a ceremony attended by Mayor Lianne Dalziel, Councillors, members of the Rose Historic Chapel Trust and other invited guests.

City council heritage programme manager Richie Moyle said it was a huge and challenging project.

“The building had to be secured and then stripped right back to its core. Higgs Construction Ltd workers have rebuilt the collapsed gable walls with salvaged and new stone, strengthened the roof and foundations, and reconstructed and re-installed all of the stained glass windows.

“It’s very satisfying to see this beautiful building restored to mint condition and the original rose window design “The Emblems of Our Lady” sparkling after being cleaned and put back together by stained glass restoration expert Graham Stewart.”

Susan Harding, Secretary of the Rose Historic Chapel Trust which formed in 1996, said the building is looking “fresh and re-invigorated”.

“The Trust is looking forward to the next exciting phase of the chapel’s history in our partnership with the Council. Christchurch’s landscape is very different but this building remains resilient, adaptable and relevant to the people of Christchurch.”

The Rose Historic Chapel, built in the English Gothic Revival style, was designed by the Luttrell brothers, Alfred and Sydney.

The building, which is registered as a category two heritage place, is no longer consecrated and for more than 10 years before the earthquakes it was a popular wedding and cultural events venue.

The restored chapel will be open to the public this Sunday, 29 July from 2pm until 4 pm.

For future bookings and enquiries phone the Council on 03 941 8999 or the Rose Historic Chapel Trust on 021 178 6375