Tucked between Madras St and Hills Rd, a small, rectangular suburb is a land of plenty.
Talk to people about Edgeware and twin themes emerge - it's an extremely convenient suburb, with a strong sense of community. It's within walking distance of the city centre and its proximity to Bealey Ave makes getting to other parts of the city a breeze.
Take a stroll around the area, however, and it soon becomes apparent there is more to Edgeware than its handy location. It is a neighbourhood of contrasts. New townhouses feature heavily around Bealey Ave, a nod to the area's central location. Then, within a few paces, you find yourself on leafy streets where character villas nestle up driveways in dappled light.
Eat and Drink
If you’ve worked up an appetite, head to Bailies Bar and Restaurant (1066 Colombo St) in Edgeware Village. It’s open for brunch, lunch and dinner and there’s outdoor seating for sunny days. Tuck into hearty meals, such as bangers and mash, or tackle a ploughman’s platter. A few paces away, in the mini mall, you’ll find Sema’s Thai Cuisine (76 Edgeware Rd) with an extensive menu, including favourites such as fish cakes and green curry; Japanese restaurant Tomi (76 Edgeware Rd), where the emphasis is on a typical Japanese dining experience; and Coriander’s (76 Edgeware Rd), which offers a great range of delicious Indian curries and other authentic dishes. For award-winning coffee, head over to the family-friendly café Ris’tretto Espresso Café and Roastery (670 Barbadoes St) for a range of deli food and delicious treats for those with a sweet tooth.
If you’re stuck for dessert, how about a tray of designer doughnuts from The Donut Boutique (569 Barbadoes St)? Mouthwatering flavours include Mesmerising Mint, Apple Crumble and the wickedly delicious Outrageous Oreo.
Edgeware Village is the area's hub and the mix of old and new is reflected in its shops. One of the longest-standing businesses is secondhand book dealer The Paperback Centre. Bursting at the seams with all manner of tomes, it's a real treasure trove for book lovers. Debs Fultz owns and runs the shop, which was established nearly 35 years ago by her parents, across the road from its current location. In 1985, the business moved to 35 Edgeware Rd, which was previously a doctor's surgery.
During the 18 years Debs has owned the business, she has seen many changes, especially in the wake of the Canterbury earthquakes. "We're one of just a few [bookshops] left now. We get people coming all the way over from the other side of town," she says.
Other Edgeware stalwarts include award-winning butchery Peter Timbs, which has been there for 18 years, and the StAlbans Pharmacy, which for the past 14 years has been run by owner Malcolm Pearce, president of the Edgeware Business Association.
The association was formed by local business owners after the 2010-2011 earthquakes to promote Edgeware Village as a place for people to visit, shop and enjoy. Malcolm believes Edgeware has a friendly atmosphere for shoppers. "It's a great place to come. All the businesses are owner-operated, so there's that personal element to it. It's a more personal shopping experience." Edgeware Village was given a $10,000 Canterbury Business Recovery Trust grant at the end of last year to further promote the are a.
At the Barbadoes St and Edgeware Rd intersection, another pocket of shops is sprouting. They include the quirky Donut Boutique, which is enticing foodies to the area. The shop is entirely devoted to the delicious business of doughnuts, ranging from traditional glazed varieties to less conventional treats, such as Espresso Ecstasy and Turkish Rose.
This little hub is set away from the main village and has a slightly quieter atmosphere, but the general mood is optimistic. Ian Chaney opened his hair salon at 566 Barbadoes St in November and enjoys the location because of the high level of passing traffic.
A couple of doors down, Rob Hyde runs urban streetwear shop Vandal. He also joined Edgeware in November, and is selling work by local street artists and art supplies, too. "We want to legitimise street art. We get local artists to hang their work here and we want to encourage young artists, so we're not precious about who we'll display." The approach seems to be working well. Vandal has sold an encouraging number of artworks since opening. Rob says there is a friendly atmosphere among business owners and, as far as his shop goes, "the response from the community has been fantastic".
If you like hunting out a bargain, check out Junk and Disorderly (10 Berwick St), a cute little op shop providing a boutique shopping experience for the thrifty
For clothes, Modesté (74 Edgeware Rd) stocks seasonal women’s fashion, with a mix of European and New Zealand labels. If you’re after something bespoke, head to Mel & Zoe’s alteration and design studio located in a beautiful character villa at 151 Edgeware Rd
Lovers of all things vintage should swing by the treasure trove that is Etcetera Etcetera (194 Edgeware Rd) for vintage clothes and more. Looking for furniture? Ambrose & Heal (cnr Barbadoes St and Edgeware Rd) stocks locally made, uniquely crafted wooden pieces
Shopping for dinner? Pop into Peter Timbs Butchery and Delicatessen (70 Edgeware Rd), which has everything for the discerning carnivore, from free-range pork to salamis, hams, sausages and renowned Wagyu beef. A few doors down, Crisp has the fruit and veg for your basket, 1066 Colombo St
Newcomers are providing even more reasons to stop in Edgeware, with Crisp selling fresh fruit and vegetables from a shop next to KB's Bakery, and Christchurch institution Bailies Bar and Restaurant now at home on the corner of Colombo St and Edgeware Rd.
At 10 Berwick St, the Potters House Church is also a hive of activity. Kathy Curwen-Walker and her husband, David, originally from Melbourne, moved to Christchurch shortly after the quakes. David is the pastor at the church and Kathy teaches ballet in the church hall. They also run an op shop for the church, Junk and Disorderly, in what used to be the youth wing of the church building.
Driving past on a sunny morning, the shop is eye-catching with its colourful exterior and inviting deck. Inside, lovingly arranged items fill various rooms and you can buy anything from china teacups to books, clothing and greeting cards.
"We've been getting great donations and we're trying to keep it looking beautiful, like a little boutique," Kathy says.
The couple have other plans for this little hub. Kathy would like to start a small Saturday market with a coffee van on site "to fill the void left by the Saturday market that used to be in English Park" and possibly a mid-week twilight market to sell fresh produce. They also plan to hold monthly concerts by the church youth band, once "they're trained up".
A sense of community seems to be part of Edgeware's charm. Emma Twaddell, chairwoman of the St Albans Residents' Association, says the people are one of the area's strong points "... in the sense that there's a community; even people that don't live here often connect to the area in some way".
Projects such as the Packe St Park are a great example of what a strong community can generate. The council reserve, tucked away in a residential street, has been cultivated by a bunch of volunteers. The park has sculptures and little areas of mosaics, well-tended vege patches, and apple and pear trees bursting with fruit in late summer. People can pick their own vegetables and leave produce for others. On one side of the park, a vine rambles lazily above a wooden bench, where you can take a quiet moment to contemplate life.
Like most places, however, not everything is perfect in the neighbourhood. Edgeware was badly hit by the quakes, with many homes affected and over a third of the commercial buildings in the village area damaged. Now, many streets are undergoing major roadworks, leading to street closures and winding detours.
Fuel up with a classic mince and cheese or steak and cheese pie ($4.30) at KB’s Bakery (76 Edgeware Rd). Eat in or take away
Pick up a Japanese takeaway lunch from Tomi (76 Edgeware Rd). Try teriyaki chicken on rice ($14) or sushi from $10.50, for nine pieces
With a Japanese chef on site at Circa Coffee and Wares (926 Colombo St) Monday to Friday, opt for ginger beef on rice ($7) or $5 sushi
All the usual favourites are waiting at Edgeware Takeaways (1071 Colombo St). Give the blue cod and chips a go, $7.20)
Stop in for an award-winning fair-trade organic coffee at Ris’tretto (670 Barbadoes St). It’s ethical and delicious at the same time
Wild Bean Café at the BP gas station (71 Edgeware Rd). If you don’t have time to stop for coffee, then grab one on the go
Emma says New Zealand Post's decision to give the area its own postcode (8013) has caused upset, too. "Edgeware is part of the greater area of St Albans and, actually, a lot of residents are not happy about the renaming of their neighbourhood."
Residents are also unhappy about some development plans, such as the workers' accommodation to be built on the Orion site at the corner of Madras and Canon streets. Cressy Village will comprise 200 single-unit dwellings, intended primarily for those coming from out of Christchurch to work on the rebuild.
"For people in that area, there are some serious considerations going on there," Emma says. "Now they've got an area that's going to have 200 single people for 10 years. They're not unhappy as a whole that it's happening there, because that site has been empty for so long, but why was there no consultation?"
Edgeware's residents might have their issues, but there is still a lot to love. Jo Duncan moved into one of the area's townhouses in 2011. "Originally, I chose here because it was close to town ... and, before February 22, I had plans to walk to work in the CBD. But, at the weekend, there's plenty to keep you in the neighbourhood. We might meet friends for coffee at Ris'tretto, or head to Pomeroy's. There's plenty of places in walking distance and Hagley Park is just a 15 to 20-minute walk."
Jo says the only daily issue is parking. With the plethora of townhouses in the area, many with limited or no allocated parking, it can be tough to find a park. Overall, she feels the neighbourhood offers the best of both worlds - city and suburban life. "I really like it. I feel safe and we've made a point of getting to know neighbours. It's close enough to Bealey Ave to be central ... and they're beautifying the streets."
The St Albans Pavilion and Pool Group wants to develop the old Edgeware pool site. The plans are in the early stages, but the group is committed to raising funds for a new pool and clubhouse to serve the local community.
Meanwhile, the Christchurch City Council has been consulting businesses and community organisations to come up with a draft master plan for the Edgeware Village. This includes streetscaping to improve the village area, as well as cycleways, improved signage and the development of courtyard spaces. As with most plans of this type, the leap between ideas and implementation will be the real challenge.
Changes might be afoot but, hopefully, some things will remain constant. As Debs at The Paperback Centre says: "Edgeware is a real friendly community. I hope it stays like that. I hope it stays villagey."
Pavilion and Pools
The plans for the facilities were drafted by the late Christchurch architect Peter Beaven and, during recent community consultations, one thing has became clear – residents want their pool back.
The group is negotiating with the Christchurch City Council over the purchase of the land, to enable it to run the facility when it reopens. The resource consent application is ready to be filed. Once a purchase agreement is in place, the group plans to start fundraising in earnest. More than $3 million will be needed to complete the project and provide some operational funds.
Donations can be made via the website stalbans-pavilionandpool.org.nz.
The group has a partnership with the St Albans Swim Club and also welcomes any new members who would like to help bring this dream to fruition.
|Pre-loved shopping – where to go for what
Name: Edgeware Paperback Centre
Where: 52 Edgeware Rd
Book lovers should set aside some serious browsing time at this long-established Edgeware store. It’s a real Aladdin’s cave. You’ll find popular paperbacks, biographies, fiction, and children’s books floor to ceiling, in three rooms.
Name: Junk and Disorderly
Name: Etcetera Etcetera
Name: Rainbow Relics