THE PALACE SKATING RINK.
The large building which has been erected on a section of land between Armagh and Gloucester streets for the purposes of a skating rink was formally opened last night by his Worship the Mayor, in the presence of a big audience. As soon as the doors were opened the visitors flocked in, they having been waiting outside in hundreds. Every available seat was taken, and on the skating floor, as well as in every con. venient spot, people stood to witness the opening. The building had been effectively adorned with flags and imitation shields, hung with colored drapery, and was lighted by means of tbe electric light. The latter worked extremely well for the first time, and diffused a good light about which perhaps there was one fault, the lamps were shaded to better illuminate the floor, and as a consequence the decorations in the roof could not be seen to advantage. The intioductioa of a few incandescent lamps above the row already fauna; would enhance the effect, and bring out more prominently the beauties of the ornamentation. A few minutes after eight o'clock, when there was no room to comfortably accommodate more visitors, his Worship the Mayor and Mrs Louisson were conducted to the dais at the southern end of the room by Mr Donnolly, who has the sole charge of the rink. His Worship was very loudly applauded, and on rising said he was sure that all must feel with him very great pleasure in being present in that magnificent building that evening. At the present time, when the citizens were somewhat timid in launching out into any great expenditure in the matter of buildings, it was rather refreshing to find that amongst them they had a gentleman possessing sufficient enterprise and capital at his command to erect such a structure as that in which they were standing. He was not aware of the exact dimensions of the building, but he was credibly informed that it was, without exception, the largest skating riuk in the Australian colonies. (Applause.) There was one thing of which he was quite certain —it was the finest building that had been devoted to the purpose. He had seen the rinks in Sydney and Melbourne, and there were none in either of those places to compare with that one. It must be equally gratifying to the proprietor to find that we had in our midst architects and builders capable of designing and erecting such a magnificent structure. (Applause.) He was sure all would echo his wish that the enterprise would be successful, and that the promoter would reap a haudsome reward for his outlay. When they considered that the building had been erected for a pastime which had only just become fashionable, and might quickly die out, they could readily understand the risk which was run. But Mr Donnolly appeared to have been possessed of both prudence and foresight by having the building so constructed that it could be easily adapted to many other purposes besides that of rinking. He had no uoubt it would be found useful to the citizens of Christchurch for many purposes. Speaking municipally, ou behalf of the Council and himself, he said they were glad to welcome Mr Donnolly in the character of a large taxpayer. (Loud applause.) The burdens of the taxpayers were pretty heavy, and every additional taxpayer helped to lessen the weight on the others. He would not detain his audience long, but before declaring the building open he had one other mattei to allude to. During the erection of the building a fatal accident happened to Mr Russell. It was much to be deplored, but accidents would happen. The workman was an old and a much respected citizen, and claimed respect also as a fellow-worker. Mr Donuolly had made a handsome and liberal proposal. It was that the money obtained for the use of skates that evening was to be placed in a fund for the assistance of the deceased man's family. (Applause.) He was sure all would be delighted at MrDonnolly's benevolent proposal, and he had no doubt that among the hundreds present who would not use skates, there were many who would consider it a pleasure to contribute towards the same worthy object. It was only right and proper that they should have an opportunity afforded them of doing so, and he had much pleasure in announcing that six gentlemen had undertaken to make a collection in aid of the late Mr Russell's widow. Visitors would not be asked to contribute, but at each door would be held a receptacle into which they might place any sum they could afford, in a case of this kind, he thought the fact had only to be mentioned and a Christchurch audience showed its sympathy in a practical manner. He had then very great pleasure in declaring the buildiug open for the purposes of a skating rink, and he hoped all would join him in giving a very hearty wish for success to the spirited proprietor, and that the speculation would be a remunerative one to him, and a pleasure to the citizens of Christchurch. Lionel applause.]
The formal opening was followed by an exhibition of fancy skating by Mr A. Gibson, who has the reputation of being the most scientific skater in Australia. He went through a series of movements very cleverly and gracefully to music supplied by the Sydenham Brass Band, and deservedly earned the plaudits of the spectators. Upon his retirement, the floar was taken for ordinary skating, in which some hundreds of enthusiasts took part. '
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