Stonemason restores mysterious historic feature

15 August 2018

With little other than grainy, historic, wide-angled photos to guide him, Arts Centre stonemason Tom Stevens spent about 180 hours carving this Oamaru stone finial that has replaced the long-lost original on the roof of the Girls’ High/School of Art building.

Stevens – a Frenchman with British parents who moved to Christchurch with his Irish partner three years ago – says he enjoyed instilling some creativity into the design for this project owing to the lack of detailed original records.

This is one of three new finials to go on this building.

The building was home to Christchurch Girls’ High from 1878 to 1882 when it shifted to Cranmer Square owing to an expanding roll.

The School of Art from Canterbury College (now the University of Canterbury) then made the building its home until 1957 when it became the first university department to move to the then new Ilam campus.