CHARLES WELLINGTON BISHOP. The death of Mr C. W. Bishop removes from among us one of the fast diminishing band whose industry and enterprise laid the foundation of the prosperity of this city and Province, and whose Bpirit, it may be affirmed, still burns brightly in the ! hearts of their successors in the fair heritage, which they left their Mother Country to reclaim from what might almost be termed the wilderness. Mr Bishop was a good type of the " Canterbury Pilgrim/ and the history of his life is by no means unprofitable or uninstructive reading. A "Man of Kent," born at Maidstone, on August 24, in 1815, the year of Waterloo, j his name, like that of nearly every child ' : born in that year, was a memorial j of the " Great Victory." In his ] early years, the family removed to the j north of France, Avhere he was educated, studying principally in Dunkirk. Returning to England at the age of 17, he entered the office of Shears and Sons, London, the well-known merchants, in whose employ he remained until he cast in his lot with the " pilgrims," and left the Old Country for New Zealand. He was one of the first 1 to set foot on the shores of Lyttelton, being among the passengers of the Charlotte Jane, the first of the " first four," which i arrived on Dec. 16, 1850. He, with his j brothers, Messrs E. B. and F. A. Bishop, * after seeing their families safely under \ canvas in Lyttelton, walked over the hill to ■ find out their selections, a matter of infinite j trouble in those days, there not being a ' building of any description on the future ; site of Christchurch, and the survey marks ! having been covered up by the luxuriant ■ growth of flax, toi-toi and raupo which had j sprung up since they were cut. Having ' found their allotment — the site of the ; present Crystal Palace Buildings, they • erected one of the first two general stores : opened in Christchurch. It was by no means an unpretending building for the times, though it was constructed of timber from the Riccarton and Pap- ■ anui Bushes, and was not remarkable either for Bize or architectural beauty. . Soon after starting business, Mr Bishop was appointed postmaster — the first , in Christchurch. His official duties were for some years carried on in his store ; but the growth of the City and the consequent increase in the postal business, necessitated the erection of a Gothic structure, of somewhat miniature proportions, which stood on the south side of the store, and no doubt is well remembered by old inhabitants of Christchurch. While carrying on business in his old shop, Mr Bishop started the first line of conveyances between the town and the foot of the hills. A Whitechapel cart was the pioneer vehicle, and used to run — at first intermittently, but afterwards daily — from the Post - office to what was known aa Coppel's cottage at the foot of the Bridle path. . This humble vehicle was afterwards supplanted by regular coaches, which, used to make several trips daily. After fulfilling the duties of Postmaster for several years, he handed them over to Dr Back, after- ; wards Sheriff, and a year or two later retired from business. Soon afterwards, however, lie, witli Mr Gr. Jackson, started the first pottery works established hero. They were located in Barbadoes street south, on the site of the present Convent building. The time was somewhat premature, and the enterprise was not successful ; and mainly through the sudden death of Mr Jackson, the works were dis- . continued. i In 1866 Mr Bishop joined the Christchurch Gas Company, which had only then fully commenced operations, having been formed in 1864. [Here it may be men- ; tioned,as a coincidence, that when a young man of 17, Mr Bishop submitted to the Municipality of Dunkirk a scheme for lighting that city with gas.] The office he then assumed he filled to the day of his death, a period of 18 years. The satisfactory manner in which he performed his duties is sufficiently attested by the length of time for which he held the office. It is not too much to say that he earned the high respect both of his employers, the j Company, and of their clients, the public. We must not omit to mention that Mr Bishop took an active interest in the welfare of the community with which he had associated himself, and therefore was to the front in matters political. He was a member of the first municipality of Christchurch, and sat in the Provincial Council a3 one of the members for the City for several years. More than 20 years ago, too, he fought a hotly contested election with the late Mr Crosbie Ward for ■ the representation of the Avon district in ' the General Assembly. j The deceased gentleman held a prominent position in the Masonic order. He was the Worshipful Master of the St Augustine Lodge in 1859, and again in 1865 and 1866. Hewas also District Grand Registrar for several years, and was made Deputy District Grand Master by the late Dr Donald, when the latter assumed the position of District Grand Master. Hewas also a member of the Royal Arch, the Rose Croix, and the Knight Templars, higher degrees of the Order. Of his personal character there is little need to speak. The general respect in which he was held is sufficient testimony alike to his probity, courtesy and amiability of disposition. He has been well described as a thorough English gentleman, and his death is regretted as having removed one who could, in human judgment, very well have been spared to us for a few years longer.
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Obituary., Star, Issue 5081, 15 August 1884
Obituary. Star, Issue 5081, 15 August 1884
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