The Tannery of Woolston was built about 1870 from brick by Gustav Lindstrom, an impressive array of buildings indeed. After operating for 80 years, the tannery closed in 1959 after the company went into receivership and the land was progressively sold off and many of the old buildings demolished.
The former tannery buildings
Since 1994 most of the site has been owned by Alisdair Cassels who began restoring some of the old tannery buildings and leasing them to businesses, while also developing the vacant land. The site now contains a mix of buildings, old and new, containing boutique shops, cafes and bars.
The historic tannery site has now been turned into a Victorian Arcade, light and airy with glass overhead, wrought iron fittings, and full of interesting and different shops which call you to come and investigate their wares. We met son Michael there for lunch, and after walking the length of the arcade, settled down outside the cafe. The deli windows were full of interesting cheeses, sides of smoked bacon, and all sorts of tasty goodies. It all looked delicious.
Saying goodbye after lunch, we took a drive out to Lyttelton, to see how things were progressing in this port suburb. Lyttelton was extensively damaged with the earthquakes, as we noticed a couple of years ago when we were last here. Things didn’t seem to have moved along much at all. Hill side homes still had big concrete blocks in place to stop the land slipping away
Although there is a little building work being done, there are still a lot of buildings fenced off and left abandoned, just as they were after the earthquake had struck. It was sad to see that things are taking so long to progress.
Locked up and lonely
The port is still busy with logs piled up ready to go overseas. After the earthquake the port facilities quickly returned to operation. The overall quake damage was less significant than in Christchurch itself, due it was reported, to the dampening effects of the solid rock that the town rests on.
We drove back through the Lyttelton road tunnel which runs beneath the Port Hills and links the city with its seaport. It opened in 1964 and carries about 10,000 vehicles each day as part of State Highway 74. At 1,970 metres (6,460 ft) it is the longest road tunnel in New Zealand.
That’s enough sightseeing for the day, it’s time to head back to our accommodation for a cuppa and start packing up for our journey home the next day. We are hoping for a nice calm ferry crossing.