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Edmonds' Telephone Cabinet

The Edmonds’ Telephone Cabinet was built in 1929 as part of the River Bank Improvement Scheme with contributions made by Thomas Edmonds.

Oxford Terrace
Edmonds' Telephone Cabinet. Photographer (pht): Cafe Cecil, Contributor (ctb): Cafe Cecil. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

In 1929, to celebrate fifty years of living in Christchurch, Thomas J. Edmonds (1858-1932), the founder of Edmonds' Baking Powder, financed the construction of a clock tower and telephone cabinet as part of his River Bank Improvement Scheme. The site chosen for both of them was originally the intersection of Madras Street, Chester Street, and Oxford Terrace.

Both structures were designed by Francis Willis, and constructed by the Rennell Brothers. The sculptor was William Thomas Tretheway.

Edmonds originally envisioned a covered walkway with not only a telephone cabinet but also a drinking fountain and a letter box. The design for a Y-shaped structure with a semi-circular roof was chosen instead.

The body of the structure is built form volcanic rock. A door, situated on the western side of the structure, originally gave access to the telephone and letter box. A fountain on the northern façade provided water. The roof, while flat, is decorated with acanthus leaves at intervals above the Tuscan style entablature. The entablature itself is inscribed: Christchurch the Garden City on the Avon.

After the 2010-2011 earthquakes the telephone cabinet was restored and new foundations were installed.