Historic school chapel to return to Lyttelton

19:07, May 27 2012

St Saviour's Chapel, where explorer Robert Falcon Scott prayed before his fateful expedition to the Antarctic, will be relocated to Lyttelton.

The chapel will sit on the site of Lyttelton's Holy Trinity Church, on Winchester St, which was deemed unsafe after the September 2010 earthquake and has been demolished.

Anglican Bishop Victoria Matthews hopes Lyttelton congregations might be able to celebrate Christmas in the historic structure.

The chapel, consecrated in 1885, sits in Cathedral Grammar School's grounds on the corner of Park Tce and Chester St.

St Saviour's was moved from Lyttelton in the 1970s from its original site on the corner of Brittan Tce and Simeon Quay.

Scott and his crew prayed in the chapel before embarking on their expedition to the Antarctic in 1910.


Principal Paul Kennedy offered the chapel to the Anglican Diocese, after discovering the cost involved in earthquake repair.

"The cost of removing the chapel from the site, remediating the ground and then putting the chapel back was actually more than taking the chapel away and putting it somewhere else," he said.

Matthews said three parties expressed an interest in the chapel.

"At the beginning no-one was too sure they wanted the chapel. Maybe it was as they began to realise the costs involved in new builds [that] suddenly we had three groups wanting it," she said.

She decided on Holy Trinity Church because Lyttelton had lost so much in the 2011 earthquakes.

The parish's insurance money would cover the cost of the relocation, reconstruction and earthquake strengthening, she said.

Vestryman Mark Penn said the chapel would be a place of worship for all faiths in the town.

"If you speak to anybody in the community they are all so excited about this," he said.

"We managed to save a lot of timber, a stained glass window and other important artefacts from Holy Trinity before it was demolished.

"We will try to use these in St Saviour's."

The diocese had not yet decided how the chapel would be relocated, and were looking at options, including transporting it over the Port Hills by road or floating it on a barge.

Cathedral Grammar is developing plans to build a larger chapel in the coming years.

The Press