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Christchurch Mechanics' Institute



  • Existence: 1859 - 1873


Mechanic's Institutes were established to share knowledge between craftsmen and skilled workers, and the idea for one in Christchurch had been around as early as 1852. The Christchurch Mechanics’ Institute began in 1859 when 100 subscribers leased temporary premises in the then Town Hall, and lectures were delivered, for working men and their wives, on topics like history, poetry, arithmetic and writing.

The Institute’s most important element was their library, and the collection first consisted of a few hundred books. The Christchurch Mechanics’ Institute changed its name in 1868 to the Christchurch Literary Institute. Because of long standing financial problems, in 1873 it handed over its library and buildings to Canterbury College (later Canterbury University) and the College took over the running of the library in February 1874. The Mechanics’ Institute was the foundation organisation of the Canterbury Public Library (now Christchurch City Libraries).

Christchurch City Council (n.d.). The Mechanics' Institute. Christchurch City Libraries.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

The bushman, or, life in a new country by Edward Wilson Landor

Identifier: Arch 0669
Scope and Contents

The bushman, or, life in a new country by Edward Wilson Landor about life in Western Australia in the early days.

Dates: 1811-1878