Architect of St Paul’s, Frederick Thatcher, gave an interview to the New Zealand Advertiser in February 1866, four months before the church opened. The reporter provides a vivid description of the church:It stands on Thorndon flat, on a piece of land adjoining Bishop Abraham’s house, and commanding a magnificent view of the harbour, to which its east front faces. The style of architecture is early English, and the building consists of a nave and two side-aisles with a chance at the east end, forming an apse of the same width as the nave. From the west end to the chancel, inclusive, measures ninety feet, and the extreme breadth is about forty-seven feet, the nave being twenty-one feet, and each aisle eleven feet nine inches wide. The height of the nave is thirty-eight feet, and it is separated from the aisles supporting the roof, which strikes sharply upwards from them. The chancel is pierced by one double window in the centre and two pairs of windows at either side, which will give ample light to this portion of the building, and along the aisles at each side of the nave, run eight pairs of clere-strory windows, throwing a brilliant light into the interior. At the south-east corner, and joined to the chancel by a lobby, is the vestry – a small octagonal building somewhat in the quaint fashion that the style of architecture admits of, and at the west end of the north aisles is a tower, also octagonal, terminating in a pointed spire, on a summit of which a vane will be placed. The height of this tower and spire is to be seventy feet, and through its base is the main entrance to the Church … All the timbers, both on the exterior and in the interior of the building, are to be of wrought work, so as to give an airiness to its appearance, and seats are to be fixed in the name and aisles capable of holding about five hundred persons. On the whole, the plans for the building give the idea of great chasteness in the edifice to be erected from them. There is no redundancy of ornaments, and no pretension to the floridness of the early English architecture as applied to more extensive buildings; but a neatness of design pleases the eye as being more appropriate to a sacred edifice constructed of wood. The foundation stone was laid, as will be remembered, in August last, and as it was not required for the usual purpose of foundation stones in stone buildings, it has been converted into a base on which the font will stand, just inside the great west window. Placed on an elevation, and having nothing to obstruct the view from the harbour, the new church at Thorndon will form a pleasing object at that end of the town, when looked at from the water, and on the east side a clear opening has been left between the building and the road, so as to give a good view of it from the land. The graceful spire and the sharp peaked roof, so suited to the smaller class of ecclesiastical buildings, and octagonal tower and vestry at either end, will leave nothing wanting to enhance the good keeping of the whole, and the greatest credit is due to the rev. gentleman who designed it, for the able manner in which he performed his work.
[Source: ‘The New Cathedral’, New Zealand Advertiser, 7 February 1866]