Old St Paul's Wellington New Zealand

Bringing the Stories Out of the Woodwork


Detail from the repaired Three Angels window in east Minor transept, 1979

1845 – Parcel of land in Mulgrave Street purchased by Bishop Selwyn

1853 – Balance of land given by Governor Grey to Bishop Selwyn as a Crown Grant of Maori Reserve, on the understanding that a church be maintained there in perpetuity

1861 – 1864 – The Rev Frederick Thatcher, architect and vicar of the parish of St Paul’s, prepares plans for the new St Paul’s

1864 – Construction contract for the church let to carpenter John McLaggan

1865 – Foundation stone laid by Sir George Grey

1866 – The new church opened and consecrated by Bishop Abraham

1867Bells are added into the church

1868 – South transept added. (Architect C J Toxward)

1874 – North transept and north aisle extension added. (Architect C J Toxward)

1876 – Chancel and sanctuary moved 5.2 metres to east, and north and south minor transepts introduced.

1883 – Choir robing room added.

1883 – Porch extension to clergy vestry passage added.

1891 – Extension to the baptistry.

1893 – Porch added on east side of south minor transept.

1894 – Porch added to south transept. (Architect Clere & Richmond)


1932 – Proposed rebuilding of timber walls of OSP in reinforced concrete in the Perpendicular Gothic style. (Architect Frederick de Jersey Clere)

1937 – Decision by Wellington Diocesan Synod to build a new cathedral on a site in Molesworth Street. Work delayed by World War II and eventually begun in 1953.

1938 – Decision by Wellington Diocesan Synod to incorporate sanctuary and part of nave of Old St Paul’s as a Lady Chapel within the structure of the proposed new cathedral

1944 – ‘Temporary’ flat-roofed robing room for women’s choir added. (Architect William Gray Young)

1953 – the battle to save Old St Paul’s begins

1954 – Queen Elizabeth II on first visit to New Zealand, attended a service in Old St Paul’s

1961 – Lady Chapel proposal abandoned and new locations for Old St Paul’s unsuccessfully sought

1964 – Old St Paul’s closed but not deconsecrated. The new cathedral opens in Molesworth St.

1965 – Friends of Old St Paul’s Society formed (from the original Society for the Protection of St Paul’s, formed in late 1950s)

1966 – Offer of diocese for sale of Old St Paul’s to Government was accepted, the church is saved.

1967-1970 – Major restoration carried out by the Ministry of Works

1970 – Old St Paul’s reopened as a public building.

1977 – New organ dedicated

1979New set of bells dedicated

1993 – Church vested in the New Zealand Historic Places Trust


The information for this page has been taken from the Old St Paul’s Conservation Plan 2015, by Chris Cochran and Russell Murray, commissioned by Heritage New Zealand.

Image: Detail from the Angel Window, 1979. Taken by Peter Shepherd. 19 MinorTransept AngelsWindow1979 © https://www.flickr.com/photos/peteshep/sets/72157604449659322

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