Black and white glass plate image of a group in canoes on the Avon River

Samuel Anstey collection

A collection of images from dry glass plate negatives. The images are of boaters in canoes and rowboats from the Antigua Boat Sheds, Christchurch buildings and scenes, and some images of a North Island tour. Some photograph subjects are named in a handwritten caption on the plate but many are unidentified.

The creator of the plates is believed to be Samuel Anstey (1844-1919). In the early 1900s, Samuel Anstey, the Antigua Boat Sheds proprietor advertised in The Press that he had “70 well-built boats to choose from” and a “Photographic dark room for the use of visitors”.

The plates record groups such as visiting theatrical companies (or, in one series, the Reefton Fire Brigade). Included are images of the theatrical companies of Harry Rickards, John Fuller, George Stephenson, Janet Waldorf, Van Biene, Mr Hawtrey, Percy Reginald Dix, Nance O’Neil, Lionel Robert Brough, Knight-Jeffries and Tom Pollard, Musgrove’s Grand Opera, and Christchurch Theatre Royal owner J.C. Williamson. Occasionally the theatre company subjects are identified by the production name, such as The Admirable Crichton, San Toy or Sherlock Holmes.

The plates cover a number of other subjects. There are images of the old Christchurch Hospital, Canterbury College, the Municipal Chambers, Provincial Council Chambers, the Canterbury Museum and St Barnabas Church, Christchurch dwellings, the Botanic Gardens, and the building of a new Antigua Bridge in 1902. North Island scenes include an unidentified house and family in Hamilton, The Spa near Lake Taupo, the Wellington Botanic Gardens, Glenalvon Private Hotel in Auckland and various other locations in Nelson, Napier and Auckland.

Count of items in this collection
1, 096
Samuel Anstey collection : Theatre groups, boaters on the River Avon and Christchurch scenes, 1900-1907.
Alternative Title
Archive 892
The collection was originally housed in long wooden boxes, with each series marked by a cardboard divider card made from the box lids of “Developer for Imperial Plates” supplied by “The Imperial Dry Plate Co, Ltd., Cricklewood, London, N.W.” The notations on the cards are in several different handwritings. The placement of many of the plates and divider cards, as well as an occasional lack of relationship between the card and series contents also suggests a degree of re-use of cards and disarrangement of the whole collection over the years. No attempt has been made to correct this, with the plates being left in the order in which they were found.
Linked Agent
Creator (cre): Samuel Anstey
Member of
1200 items
Resource Type


Showing 1 - 24 of 1096 items

Antigua Bridge, August 13th 1902

View of onlookers on the old Antigua Bridge watching the beginning of construction on new bridge over the Avon River. Construction workers are digging are on the far riverbank by Cambridge Terrace.