Shown here in a painting by Colin Wheeler is the very appealing Craighead School Chapel.
The Headmistress of the school from 1940 to 1955 was Miss Mary Oakeley who grew up in Eynsham, Oxfordshire, England. It was Miss Oakely's wish for the school to have a chapel and a lychgate. The principal entrance to the chapel is ornamented by a very picturesque roofed gate called a lich-gate or lych-gate leading in off Kitchener Square
The architect was Mr P.W. Rule. The foundation stone for this pretty wooden chapel was laid in 1944, the nave and sanctuary dedicated in December 1948 and the building was consecrated in 1955. The chapel bell is from the vessel Zealandic which carried emigrants to New Zealand at the end of WWI.
The chapel was very much a school project and an inter-house speech competition was held to select a name for the chapel, St Anthony of Padua. Years of fundraising and gifts by and from pupils, past pupils and parents led to its construction and completion. The tapestry kneelers were also hand embroidered by many of the girls.
In the 1960s the wooden Processional Cross was hand carved by Mrs Mary Raymond from an old jarrah gate post and later in 1971 Mrs Raymond carved the lectern pieces.
An organ fund was commenced in 1946 and an organ was designed and built by the Timaru firm, the South Island Organ Company (their first) and dedicated in 1971.
In the early 1970s Mrs Gypsy Poulston was an art teacher at Craighead and designed the bright stained glass window with thick glass and earthly shades at the bottom, to purple and blues near the top and absolutely clear glass in the centre circle.
Words selected from Patsy McKenzie and David Batchelor’s work, Greengages, the Story of Craighead School.
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