St Mary's memorial school, Christchurch

St Mary's memorial school, Christchurch

List of names on plaque photographed from above

On 13 November 1921, Archbishop Cattaneo, the apostolic delegate to New Zealand, opened St Mary’s Memorial School in Manchester Street, Christchurch. This replaced the old St Mary's parish school building. St Mary's Memorial School  was one of the only two schools dedicated as First World War memorial schools in New Zealand, the other being the Anglican Victory Memorial School in Springfield Road, St Albans.

The new two-storey brick-and-plaster building, designed by the architect J.S. Guthrie, included eight classrooms and a 100 x 32 feet social and assembly hall, sometimes referred to as the “memorial hall”. In front of the hall was a marble slab inscribed: A.M.D.C. / ST MARY'S MEMORIAL SCHOOL. / ERECTED IN HONOUR OF THE / BRAVE MEN OF THIS PARISH / WHO FOUGHT IN THE GREAT WAR / 1914-1918.

It was planned to place a roll of honour listing a total of 300 names inside the hall.

The memorial school building was demolished in 1994. The commemorative slab was set into an exterior wall of the new school. The whereabouts of the First World War roll of honour (if it was in fact completed) is unknown, but the St Mary's ACBHS (Australasian Catholic Benefit Hibernian Society) Second World War roll of honour is also displayed. This  lists the names of three members of the society who were killed in action and 20 who also served.

See: ‘St Mary’s, Manchester Street’Press, 10/11/1921, p. 3; ‘Memorial School’Press, 14/11/1921, p. 2; St Mary’s Schools, Christchurch, 1894-1994, Christchurch, 1994. A photograph of the memorial building can be found in the St Mary’s, Christchurch, Jubilee Magazine, Christchurch, 1969 (p. 11).

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