20 years

1932 High Street Post Office

The High Street Post Office was built in 1932 to the design of Government Architect James T Mair. It is a square, four-story building in art deco style, with classical flourishes of a balustraded parapet and fluted columns.

It was an expensive building for its time, costing £24,000 to build. The 1931 Napier earthquake had catalysed an upheaval to building standards, and so Mair took care to thoroughly earthquake-proof his new Post Office. Its foundation was a fifteen-inch-thick concrete slab, laid on over a hundred reinforced piles which were driven to a depth of thirty-five feet.

The Post Office was much admired on its opening. “All must agree that this building is an especially fine one,” said Mayor Dan Sullivan, to cheers, at the opening ceremony.

The Postmaster General, the Hon. A. Hamilton, opened the building with several formal rites. He snipped the ribbon, opened the front doors, had all the lights switched on, bought and cancelled a penny stamp, and finally sent a telegram to the Prime Minister.

C1 Espresso’s old premises on High Street were destroyed in the Canterbury earthquakes. In 2012 we relocated to the High Street Post Office, which, having been structurally upgraded soon before the 2011 earthquakes, stood unscathed as Christchurch shook and surrounding buildings crumbled.

We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring people, energy and activity back to this “especially fine” old building.

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