Barbadoes Street Cemetery, the city’s oldest cemetery opened in 1851 and closed in 1885, is the final resting place of many of Christchurch's early citizens is also the city's oldest cemetery.
The conservation plan was prepared by Opus international consultants (external link) to provide Christchurch City Council with tools to restore and maintain this important heritage cemetery for future generations.
Barbadoes Street (external link) (between Bealey Avenue and Kilmore Street).
The cemetery is a cultural heritage landscape made up of three original, denominationally distinct cemeteries. The two lanes of one – way Barbadoes Street separate the former Roman Catholic and Dissenters Cemeteries on the west from the Church of England Cemetery on the east. Despite this significant physical separation there is a strong visual connection between the east and west cemetery landscapes, reinforced by their shared landscape character.
The history of the cemetery reflects the history of early Christchurch. The stories of its beginnings and the people buried there paint a rich and varied panorama of the life lived in 19th century and into last century.
In the years after the cemeteries were closed, desecration and vandalism in the grounds increased. The history of the cemetery through most of the 20th Century was mainly one of neglect and vandalism. Community initiatives over the years have improved the cemetery and in recent years the general maintenance of the cemetery has been orientated towards order and passive amenity.
The Sexton’s House on the Cambridge Terrace frontage of the former Church Of England Cemetery is the only surviving historic building associated with the use and management of the cemetery. The present house was built in the 1920’s replacing an earlier cottage on the same site. Previously there was also a Mortuary Chapel which was demolished in 1955 and a Lych-gate.
The cemetery contains a mix of remnant ornamental tree species and introduced indigenous and exotic plant species. There are four observable overlays of planting. Remnant vegetation from the establishment and operation of the original cemeteries before they were closed (1851 – 1885), closure and post – closure ‘sanitary planting strategies’ (1885 – 1890), 1950s exotic ornamentals – possibly influenced by the colonial revival landscape style popular in New Zealand in that decade, 1970s native species plantings and mid 1990s plantings.
Please note: There are limited records for the Barbadoes Street Cemetery.