The other day, when I was visiting my Tulip Tree ( Me, the Tree, and Helen) at the former site of Helen Connon Hall, I decided it would also be a suitable hour to say goodbye to the adjacent St Saviour’s Chapel, where we held our church service during the Reunion weekend in October 2000. St Saviour’s Chapel is about to embark on yet another voyage, and must be the most travelled chapel I have ever met.
St Saviours Chapel was originally built for, and located in, the West Lyttelton Parish of Lyttelton. Lyttelton is home to our main sea port and, from Christchurch, it is reached by travelling over the Port Hills or through the tunnel. St Saviour’s was consecrated on 22 October 1885. For many years it was a chapel for seafarers and local parishioners alike. Amongst the seafarers to worship in the Chapel were Captain Robert Falcon Scott and the crews of the Discovery and Terra Nova.
In 1975, the Lyttelton parishioners gave the Chapel to the Christchurch Diocese and it was then given to The Cathedral Grammar School for use as its school chapel. To reach its new abode, the Chapel had to be dismantled and moved in sections over Evans Pass to Christchurch, and then reassembled. It was blessed on its current site on the corner of Park Terrace and Chester Street in July 1976 .
In 1980, a piece of the Chapel made another, much longer, journey. Acknowledging the Chapel’s connection with Captain Scott and Antarctica, the original altar was given to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research and later placed in the Chapel of the Snows in Antarctica.
Now the little Chapel is too small for the needs of The Cathedral Grammar School, so it has been given to the parishioners of Holy Trinity Lyttelton, who lost their own church to the recent earthquakes. Soon, the Chapel will return close to its original home. Quite how it is to travel is still undecided, as far as I know. It may go the way it came or possibly, and very appropriately for a seafarers’ chapel, it may travel by barge on its first sea voyage ever. What a great little traveller and adventurer.
If you would like more detailed information on the amazing life journey of this great little Chapel please refer to the following links: