Turn Christchurch Cathedral into a museum

The Transitional Cathedral in Christchurch seems more than adequate for the remaining adherents of the Anglican Church says Geoffrey Rice.

So why not turn the The old Cathedral into a museum dedicated to the Canterbury Pilgrims and build a tall tower shaped tourist centre next to it

“We need a circuit-breaker in the prolonged dispute over the future of the Cathedral and Cathedral Square. Here’s one that hasn’t been made before, probably because it is too outrageous.”

Rice asks how many people would use the Cathedral serve even if it was rebuilt or made safe.

“Friends who have been to the Transitional Cathedral tell me that the congregation is small and mostly elderly.”

He says he doesn’t mind that people want to preserve the rituals of the past “But it does seem odd that the community is expected to spend millions to rebuild the old cathedral when most people no longer go to church. Especially young people.”

Rice says the the shape of the tower would recall the spire that used to dominate the cityscape, until it was diminished by tall buildings from the 1970s onwards.

“The ground floor could comprise a central visitors’ centre, and a welcoming foyer to the old Cathedral, which need not be an active church.

The first few floors of a tourist tower could provide ample office and meeting space for the Anglican Church, or a source of rental income.

“Upper floors could house the restaurants that attract tourists to such towers, while a higher floor would house the inevitable viewing platform.”

Dr Geoffrey Rice is a retired history professor. His publications include Christchurch Changing: an illustrated history, All Fall Down: Christchurch’s lost chimneys and Victoria Square: cradle of Christchurch.


Image rev3.co.nz

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