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GERMAN BELLS OF CHRISTCHURCH

A PAGE OF EARLY HISTORY. A gentleman who is interested in tin history of Christchurch has obtained from the files of the "Lyttelton Times" information as to the German bells, which were destroyed by the order of the Government, and tho metal of which was sold by- public auction on Friday last. Tho first reference he has found was on May 14,. 1873, when it was reported that at a meeting of members of the German Church a letter was read from Mr. T, M. Hassall, German Consul for Canterbury, stating that he had forwarded to Count Bismarck an application for a peal oi bells, made from the metal of guns "captured during the rocent war," and that he had received a reply that 15cwt. or 20cwt. of metal would be placed at tho service of the church if its members were ready to undertake the expense of casting the bells and of their conveyance to Canterbury. The offer was accepted with thanks. On June 25 of the same year a meeting of.the committee asked Mr. J. G. Ruddenklau to obtain more than 20cwt. of metal, and that one bell should be cast to weigh 4cwt., the remaining seven bells tp he of sizes that Mr. Ruddenklau should decide. On November 11 of the same year the members received a letter from Mr. Ruddenklau, who apparently had gone to Germany, stating that he had engaged a minister for the church and that the bells were being cast in Berlin. At a meeting on January 21, .1874, a letter was read from Mr. Ruddenklau, 6tating that after much difficulty ho had secured the services of tho Rev. L. Lohr; that he would bring the bells with him to Canterbury; that thev were being cast by Charles Collier, of Berlin, from French gun metal; that tho heaviest would weigh about 10001b. t and that the cost of casting would be dC2OO more than tho estimate. February 24, 1874, an extract was published from the "Cologne Gazette,", which stated :-"At Collier's factory in Berlin three church bells have just been finished, having been cast from guns taken in the late war. The Emperor of Germany has presented tho guns to the Christian body by which the bells were ordered. On the largest is tho head of the Emperor in relief and the following inscription: 'Willielm I, Kaiser von Deutschland,' and on the side an inscription. Tho second largest bell shows tho head of the Crown Prince and also an inscription. The third has tho head of Bismarck in relief, and below it: 'Furst von Bismarck, Reichskanzler des deutschen Reiches." Mr. Lohr, with Mr. Ruddenklau, arrived in Christchurch on April,26, 1874, and the church was opened on May 14, a dinner being given in the evening to celebrate the event. The New Zealand Shipping Company brought tho bells free of charge, and the Provincial Government carried them free on tho railway line. The first peal of the threo bolls was rung on Christmas Eve, 1874, by tho superintendent (Mr. Rolleslon), Sir C. Wilson and the Mayor (Mr. Ruddenklau), tho first peal beginning at nine o'clock. On the same evening a public sacred concert was held in aid of tho funds for tho bells, under the patronago of Lady Wilson, Mrs. Rolleston, and Mr. T. M. Hassall.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/DOM19190609.2.23

Bibliographic details

GERMAN BELLS OF CHRISTCHURCH, Dominion, Volume 12, Issue 218, 9 June 1919

Word Count
556

GERMAN BELLS OF CHRISTCHURCH Dominion, Volume 12, Issue 218, 9 June 1919

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