I am a fan of our regions red brick buildings and this one is a favourite of mine. Once it would have been dwarfed by the beautiful Trinity Presbyterian church that had stood for 100 years a little further along Hally Terrace. Sadly the church did not survive the insurance battles that followed the 2010 earthquakes and was bulldozed soon afterwards.
The Sunday School Hall remains on its corner site. Its origins came about at the AGM of the church in August 1915 when the superintendent of the Sabbath school, Mr Isaac Smith, made an impassioned plea for a replacement building to house the 150 children and 14 teachers to work in. The Guild family, of Temuka, had decided to pay for a new building in memory of the late James Guild and this Hall is the result of that collaboration.
The book ‘Temuka, Through the Years ‘ details the Influenza epidemic that hit the Temuka district in November 1918. “Many locals had taken the train to Christchurch for the Race Carnival and came home suffering the flu, the epidemic took hold. All forms of indoor entertainment were forbidden and church services were held in the open air, the Presbyterian Sunday School became an emergency hospital, while patients recovering, were sent to the Salvation Army Citadel which had been taken over as the convalescent hospital. “
The two-storey, red brick building remained in use by the church until it was sold into private ownership in 2002. Many of the church hall's original structures have been kept intact - including the courtyard pond and three-tier fountain, the hand-forged wrought iron entrance gates swinging off hand-built stone block walls, and the timber floorboards and internal framing.
Much work has gone into re purposing the building including the former Sunday schoolrooms and meeting chambers being turned into luxury accommodation and apartments.
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