Monday, October 27, 2014

Thames (NZ): St Brigid's Catholic Church, Grahamstown

Let this be a reminder to all family researchers to revisit and revisit your resources. At the time we may think we have exhausted our use of a piece of paper, file, census, photo etc. Gather all your items paper or digital and see if anything new helps you on your history and genealogy journey.

Why am I saying this?  Well for years I have seen a photo of a hall at the north end of Pollen Street. I just assumed it was one of the many lodges that were dotted around the town, even having researched the street directories I had brushed over its significance. It wasn't till a fellow researcher queried what I knew about the catholic church in Queen Street (thanks Graham), the penny dropped and realised that this was the Grahamstown Catholic Church.

It has taken a week and lots of questions to confirm that the correct name for the church was the St Brigid's Catholic Church located at Queen Street, Grahamstown/Thames. It was then that I looked in my photo file and found a panorama of Thames that has buildings identified and sure enough there it was...double confirmation.

In 1879 the MARRIAGE took place for Hutchinson & Scheidler.
Hutchinson—Scheidler.—November 27, at St. Brigid's Roman Catholic Church, Grahamstown, by the Rev. Father O'Reilly, Samuel Meagher Hutchinson, only son of John Hutchinson, Esq., of tbe City of Dublin, formerly Librarian of the Dublin Library, and nephew of Alderman William Meagher, of the same City, to Margaret, eldest daughter of Mr Martin Scheidler, of the Thames.

Above: The St Brigid's Catholic Church on Queen Street, 1947
Below: a view looking north on Pollen Street, the back of the church is marked with an arrow (middle far right)

The church continues to appear on Street Directories until c1955. The church building was nearly destroyed by fire on 14 December 1954 and eventually had to be demolished. Around 1956 a new house was built on the site. The property as it is today, is in the photo below.

2012 view of the location of the St Brigid's Church.

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