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Trinity Presbyterian Church, Timaru

 Heritage lost.

The interior is quite on par with the exterior.

Presbyterian services were held at the Mechanics Institute in 1864 and with the arrival of the Rev George Barclay in 1865 increased the drive by Presbyterians to have their own church. The foundation stone was laid on August 8, 1866, and the small bluestone church opened in Barnard Street on July 6, 1867. However, it too was soon too small so in 1875 the foundation stone of the Trinity Presbyterian church was laid. By 1901 the congregation had increased so Chalmers Church was built opening in 1903 the only church with a spire.

The Trinity Presbyterian Church which occupies a prominent position in Barnard Street, Timaru, is a handsome concrete building with gallery, having seating accommodation for 700 adults. Large congregations attend the services which are held morning and evening every Sunday. There are three Sunday schools in connection with the church; one held in the church itself, is attended by about 200 children and from 25 to 30 teachers. The other schools are held in the mission church, Sandytown, and at the Timaru South public school. A monthly service is held by the resident minister at Fairview public school, where there is also a small Sunday school. Reference: Cyclopedia of New Zealand, Canterbury edition. 1903. Designed by R.A. Lawson. Open on 15 Oct. 1876.  Doors closed in December 1957. Demolished in the 1960s and was a serious loss to Timaru's heritage and church architecture. It was an imposing classical building.

Timaru Herald, 22 June 1867, Page 2 Presbyterian Church.
We observe that the new Presbyterian Church is drawing rapidly to a completion. The members are to be congratulated upon the success which has attended their efforts to erect a suitable building wherein to hold divine service in May last year a meeting of Presbyterians was held at the Mechanics Institute, when it was determined that a stone building should be erected if sufficient funds could be obtained. The endeavours of the committee were successful in this respect, and some months back the foundation stone of the present building was laid. The church is a stone building oblong in shape (45 feet m length by 35 feet in width side walls 16 feet high) flanked at the corners by suitable buttresses. The style is Gothic as seen m the proportions, doors, windows, roof, &c. The windows are long and narrow, with the glass what glaziers commonly call rough rolled plate� let into the stone. They do not look particularly attractive outside, but inside present a better appearance. The plastering of the interior we notice is being executed in a very workmanlike manner by Mr J. Hamilton; A vestry also, we see, is going up at the western end, of size and material suited to the church, and will no doubt be of great advantage to the congregation, and to the Minister. By and bye, we understand it is the intention to add to the present building a tower or spire in such a way as that it shall grasp what is now the front entrance door, and 'run up along the centre of the gable. The first Sunday in July, we learn, it is designed if possible to open the building for public worship, when the services will be conducted by a minister from a distance. On Monday or Tuesday following a soiree will be held, which there is little doubt will be largely attended. Mr McKenzie is the architect of the building; Messrs Sibley and Peters contractors for the stone work, and Mr Harding for the wood. The total cost is below �1000.

Timaru Herald Friday Dec. 3rd 1875 page 3
New Presbyterian Church, Timaru
The new church is to be erected on the section alongside of the present site, in Barnard street, which has just been purchased for the purpose, so that the congregation will continue to worship in their present building, which will afterwards be used for Sabbath School purposes.

Will be ready for occupation next May or within six months. The design selected, is that furnished by Mr R.A. Lawson, of Dunedin, in the doric style of architecture, and to be carried out by Mr John Alves, contractor, in concrete throughout. Dimensions -110 feet in length, including relieved entablatum at front and vestry at back, by 55 feet in width. The interior dimensions of the church proper, being about 85 feet in length, by 45 feet in width. The height from floor to ceiling being about 33 feet, interior measurements. The height of the relieved doric columns of the entablatum including base and capital is 20 feet, the diameter at base being 2 feet 6 ins. On the projected entablatum of front elevation and projected transept breaks of side, the usual triglyphs of the order are carried out, but omitted on the intervening wall spaces of the pieze. The columns, four in number, which support the entablatum are to be fluted, and are placed on the pedestals of the order, the cornice, mouldings, and bases of which are continued round the whole of the building. At the front entrance three steps are carried round at the line of the portico, and there are four additional at the main entrance doorway. The building will be chiefly lighted from the sides by seven large window openings, four of which on each side will be projected from line of wall and surmounted by friezes and entablatums of the order, the reminder being in the transcept projections, will be semi arched and finished in receded with well relieved architraves and keystones over impost mouldings. At the front entrance a vestibule 27 feet by 10 feet, and a cloak room, 10 feet by 10 feet, also staircase and gallery storeroom will be placed. Over this gallery will be situated, which will accommodate about 70 people, and the reminder of the building will be arranged to accommodate at least 600 sitters. Considerable care has been given to secure thorough ventilation of the building, and at the same time to avoid drafts, as also to secure good acoustic properties throughout. The roof of the building in the interior it is untended to finish in colonial timbers, carefully selected, varnished in panelled work, principals being formed in an eliptic style, and spring from moulded corbels on the walls, a bold cornice finishing between each set of principals at junction of plastered walls and panelled ceiling. A panelled dais will be carried round the walls of the interior, corresponding in style with the panelled work of the roof. The platform will be slightly raised above the floor and is to be surrounded by a series of light, open pillars, with appropriate hand railing, and on the wall behind the platform, a handsome Doric canopy, supported by pilasters, will be placed, giving an importance and prominence to this portion of the interior. The committee rooms and library are situated in the rear of the present building now in occupation for Sabbath school purposes. The new building is being erected on the adjoining section recently acquired by the congregation.

Timaru Herald Monday 16th October 1876

The seats are placed in four rows, the two centre ones being divided by moveable panel work. The woods used in their construction are red pine and kauri, the former being very heavily stained, and both varnished. The ventilation of the building was yesterday proved to be perfect and its acoustic properties are also excellent. It is lighted from inside by three sunlights in the ceiling, each of which contain a double rung of lights. Besides these there are two lights on the platform and two on the vestibule, &c. The building from the outside presents a most striking and commanding appearance, and is by far the most prominent structure in the town. The original contractor was Mr John Alves, also of Dunedin, but in consequence of his abandoning the work when it was about half completed, it was taken in hand by Messrs Gibbs and Clayton of Dunedin, who have carried it to a successful issue. The contract price was 3,394, but this has been slightly succeeded. The contract was signed on November 19th, 1875. The painting by Mr Craige, and the lighting by Mr J.T. Ford, both of Timaru, wee executed in a most satisfactory manner. The foundation stone was laid by the Hon. E. W. Stafford on Dec. 29th, 1876. 

In the forenoon yesterday there must have been about six hundred persons present, their Church being filled in every part. Dr. Stuart, of Dunedin, preached a stirring sermon on the necessity of grater spiritual earnestness on the part of both ministers and members of the Church in fulfilling the work of their Divine Master. His text was from Isaiah 1xii, - "For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake will I not rest until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth." The sermon was delivered with great force and fervor, and listened to by a most attentive audience. In the afternoon a short service was held for the children, who pretty well filled the centre of the building; a number of adults being at the sides. The Rev. Mr Will gave a short address on the word "Come," and Dr Stuart on the books of nature and the Bible as teaching us of God. The Reverend Mr Gillies followed with a few words on the text, "I write unto you little children because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake. In the evening the church was again filed throughout, the services being conducted by the Rev. Wm. Will., of Taieri, who preached an excellent sermon. We understand that the collection in aid of the building fund yesterday amounted to 66 10s.

The A.A.W. Co. Series.

Wednesday 18 October 1876 page 3

The Soiree in connection with the opening of the Church. Total 4,200. The loan for 2000 from the National Insurance Company has been arranged on favourable terms for three years, the rate of interest being 8 per cent. The Rev. T.B. Hallows, of Christchurch, the Rev. Mr Burnett of Ashburton, Rev. Mr Elmslie, of Christchurch, Rev. Mr. Todd, of Oamaru, Rev. Geo. Barclay, delivered speeches.

Otago Witness, 29 June 1867, Page 11
The erection of the new Presbyterian Church at Timaru is now nearly completed. "The church," says the Herald, "is a stone building, oblong in shape (45 feet in length by 35 feet in width - side walls 16 feet high), flanked at the corners by suitable buttresses. The style is Gothic. The windows are long and narrow, with the glass, what glaziers commonly call 'rough rolled plate', let into the stone. They do not look particularly attractive outside, but inside present a better appearance. By and bye it is intended to add to the present building a tower or spire in such a way as that it shall grasp what is now the front entrance door, and run up along the centre of the gable. On the first Sunday in July, it is designed, if possible, to open the building for public worship. Mr M'Kenzie is the architect of the building ; Messrs Sibley and Peters, contractors for the stone work, and Mr Harding for the wood. The total cost is below 1000."

Timaru Herald 31st July 1876 page 5
At the opening of the new Presbyterian by Rev. J. Hall of Lyttelton about 300 people found seats. Mr Chisholm read the following report:- A desire had long been felt for the settlement of a Presbyterian clergyman in the district and about September 1864 the Rev. Mr Fraser of Christchurch, visited Timaru and called on some Presbyterians resident in the town and informed them that, in answer to a call from the Amuri district, the Rev. Mr Barclay was coming out from England. Rev. Mr Hogg had been officiating in the Amuri district. At a meeting it was resolved to request the Presbytery of Canterbury to locate the Rev. Mr Barclay at Timaru for a period of three months, in order that the people should know something of his capabilities. The Rev. Mr Barclay arrived from England in January 1865, and visited Timaru towards the end of the month. He preached on several occasions. A deputation appointed for the purpose waited on Mr Barclay, and ascertained that he was willing to accept the call. A subscription list was in the meanwhile opened and the names sufficient were obtained to justify the committee in believing that they would be able to give their clergyman a suitable maintenance. A call was numerously signed and forwarded to the Presbytery, the Presbytery sustained the call, and, much to the satisfaction of the Presbyterians of Timaru and neighborhood, Mr Barclay arrived in March 1865 to enter upon his labours as their chairman. The Mechanics' Institute was placed at heir disposal on Sundays in return for which the Mechanics' Institute was allowed the use of the Presbyterian Church seats. 

The Sabbath school was commenced soon after Mr Barclay's arrival, under the superintendence of Mr John Inglis. The school at present superintended by Mr Hutton. In January 1866 steps were taken towards building of a church and a subscription opened on the 18th January. The site of the church consists of a quarter acre, kindly presented by Messrs Rhodes and another quarter acre which the congregation have undertaken to purchase. Captain Scott assisted in procuring the site. Mr D. McKenzie prepared the plans for the new church and tenders were accepted on 9th July 1866.
Silbley and Peters for stone and mason's work 375.
S. Harding for carpenter work 285 
Silverton for plastering 38 10s
Total 698 . The congregation have taken to build a vestry of stone. Mr John Belch furnished plans and specifications and also superintended the erection of the same free of charge. The sum of 250 was borrowed from Messrs Rhodes for two years, bearing at 11 per cent. per annum.  

Star 29 April 1902, Page 3
Timaru, April 29. The Timaru Presbytery to-day sustained a call by the Trinity Congregation to the Rev T. Stinson, B.A., Ireland; also a call by the new Presbyterian Church to the Rev R. Jackson, and a call by the Fairlie Church to the Ray Dr W. G. Black. In each case the appointment was accepted.

Timaru Herald, 14 January 1914, Page 5
Mr Purcell Webb, of Masterton, newly appointed organist of Trinity Church, Timaru, commences his duties on January 18.

Timaru Herald, 15 April 1916, Page 3
On March 29, a quiet wedding was solemnised at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Timaru, when Mary Hairsine, fifth daughter of Mr and Mrs M. Smith, of Southburn was married to Mr R. K. Vincent, of Albury. The officiating minister was the Rev. T. Paterson, of Albury. The bride, who was given away by her father, wore a cream serge costume, with hat to match, and carried a sheaf of white lilies. The bridesmaid, Miss Elsie Cullen, niece of the bride, was dressed in saxe blue voile with white felt hat. Mr Stanley Vincent attended his brother as best, man. After the ceremony the guests were entertained at afternoon tea at the Arcade Cafe. Mr and Mrs Vincent left by the second express for the south amidst, the good wishes of their many friends.

Otautau Standard and Wallace County Chronicle, 11 January 1927, Page 3
HODGES� McINTYRE. A pretty wedding of local interest was solemnised in Trinity Church, Timaru, on December 23rd, when Nancy, eldest daughter of Mrs H. McIntyre, Timaru, was married to George Henry, second son of Mr and Mrs. C. Hodges, "The Hills," Waimate, and a well-known professional man of this town Rev. Adam Begg, of Highfield, was the officiating minister. The bride, who entered on the arm of her cousin, Mr John White, Dunedin, looked most charming in a gown of white crepe de chene, embossed with sprays of silver. Her softly-flowing veil of embroidered tulle was arranged from a coronet of orange blossoms, and she carried a bouquet of choice white flowers. Miss Margaret McIntyre, sister of the bride, who attended as bridesmaid, wore a picturesque frock of apricot-coloured georgette, and her hair was bound with a filet of silver leaves, while a bouquet of beautiful flowers to tone, made a dainty finish to her toilet.

Trinity Presbyterian Church Timaru, N.Z. 1865-1969 : a historical record of the first 104 years and a description of the New Trinity. Beynon, 1969.

South Canterbury NZGenWeb Project