James Knight Butcher

Situated at 170-172 High Street, this building was renovated by Collins and Harman in 1900 for James Knight, a butcher.

The property on which this building was erected was comprised of parts of town sections 981 and 982. In July 1883, A. H. Blake, family baker and confectioner, opened a bakery in the building that was originally erected on the property. In January 1885, J. Wyatt took over the bakery.

Wyatt remained in occupancy until February 1890 when James Knight opened a butchery in the shop after initially working for the Christchurch Meat Company. By the time of Knight’s occupancy, the building consisted of three ground floor shops each with a first floor accessible by sets of internal staircases at the rear. The northernmost of the three shops, shop number one, had an extension to accommodate a chilling room.

In March 1900, Knight advertised tenders for alterations to the building. The architectural plans were prepared by Collins and Harman. The renovations were completed by 23 November 1900 when Knight opened his new premises.

As part of the renovations the three ground floor shops were converted into two shops. Both shops had access to a basement which had been separated into two cellars. The extension at the rear of the shop number one was enlarged to create a chilling room, a sausage room, an engine room, a coal bin, and a smokehouse.

The three individual sections of the first floor were merged and became accessible only from shop number one. This floor was comprised of four bedrooms, a sitting room, an office, servant’s quarters, a bathroom and a water closet. The enlarged extension at the rear also had a first floor which was accessible from the floor above the shops, but at a slightly lower level. This contained a kitchen, a boot room, scullery, dining room and a store. The front façade of the building was also modified to include arched sash windows on the first floor.

At the rear of the building was a yard with space for delivery wagons and a barn for livestock. This was accessible by a right of way to the southeast of shop number two.

The Knight family lived in the living quarters above the butchery, while shop number two was leased to other businesses. In 1902, Luke Browning, a shoemaker and bootmaker ran his business, later known as Browning’s, from this shop.

After 1910 the address for shop number one became 172 High Street. Shop number two was designated 170 High Street.

Following the death of James Knight in February 1918, his son, Charles Herbert Knight, continued the business. In 1923, the property was transferred to Charlotte Knight, Charles Knight and Frank Reginald Jones. In 1930 Charles Herbert Knight and Frank Reginald Jones transferred the property to Frank’s wife, Edith May Jones and James Knight’s daughter, Florence Thelma Hughes.

By 1936, the shop at 170 High Street had become Robinsons, a boot importer. By 1943 Christies Car Sales was situated in the premises.

In 1950 the proprietor of Knight’s Butchery was William Stanley Hughes, the husband of Florence. By 1970 the property was held in common by Edith May Jones, Joan Elizabeth Bettle, and Nola Florence Bartram. In 1975 Joan Elizabeth Bettle transferred her share to Knights Butchery Limited.

By 1964 the ground floor shop at 170 High Street was the site of Dorothy Penny, interior decorator, while the first floor was occupied by Donna Rae Models Limited. By 1984 the ground floor shop was Kevin’s Book Shoppe.

Nola Bartram, the great-granddaughter of James Knight, and her husband Graham sold the butchery shop in 1985, ending what was nearly one hundred years of occupancy. The property was transferred to Derek Andrew Anderson in 1986.

In 1987 the tenants of 170 High Street were still Donna Rae Models and Kevins Book Shoppe, while the tenant of 172 High Street was Stir Fry and Gourmet Foods.

From 1989 to 1990, 170 High Street was the Salvation Army store. From 1992 to 1994, Country Cottage was the tenant. In 1991, the tenant of 172 High Street was Checkers. Matthew and Son Antiques was in occupancy from 1992 to 1994. In 1994 the property was transferred to Anthony Joseph Carey and Joanna Carey.

By 1995, 170 High Street was Country Impulse Furniture (also known as Country Impulse Antiques). It later became the antique store, Antiquus. From 2006 to 2009 the shop was a shoe store, d’Orsay.

The building containing both shops was damaged in the Canterbury earthquakes and was subsequently demolished.