Home' Christchurch Mail : August 22nd 2013 Contents 17
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'Grand old lady' saved GLORY: Above left, the Racecourse Hill
property at its finest, before the
BOLD PROJECT: Above, builders Allan
Hood and Craig Brown, of Craig Brown
Construction, and owner Brian Cribb
are working together to bring
Racecourse Hill back to its former
So many of these beautiful historic homes have been
lost, but I looked at this and thought . . . we could save
--- Brian Cribb
By MAT KERMEEN
ATRUE historic gem of
Canterbury has avoided
the wrecking ball --
thanks to an ambitious couple.
Brian and Bernice Cribb first
became aware of Racecourse
Hill, near Darfield, after a friend
saw the iconic property advert-
ised for sale on internet website
The home, a grand old lady''
constructed in 1912, was devas-
tated by the September 2010
earthquake and was earmarked
I was sick and tired of seeing
so much history being pulled
down just because it was the
easy option,'' Mr Cribb said.
So many of these beautiful
historic homes have been lost,
but I looked at this and thought
. . . we could save this place.''
The Cribbs fell in love with
Racecourse Hill on their first
inspection of the property.
Work has been under way on
the homstead for more than 12
months now, and could be com-
pleted as soon as Christmas.
The 900 square metre, two-
storey, nine-bedroom residence
boasts a billiards room, a
formal dining room and a full
It is the second home on the
site, after a nineteenth century
house was relocated from the
farm in the early 1900s.
Half of the relocated house
became the Oaks of Darfield.
The Cribb's huge project is a
labour of love'' and it could not
be tackled without the right
Mr Cribb said every trades-
man who has worked on the
property believed in the project.
The work and effort of his
builder -- Craig Brown Construc-
tion -- had been phenomenal.
You need those sort of people
on board, otherwise it simply
The builders did, however,
take some serious convincing at
the start of the project.
Brownie [Craig Brown] came
out here just after we bought the
place and told me I was mad.
He wasn't the only one, but
you can't just sit around and let
a precious piece of history like
that be bulldozed.''
The family has had nothing
but support for the project, and
Mr Cribb said many local busi-
nesses had been very generous''
in helping with the restoration.
We have the full support of
the Historic Places Trust, and
the Selwyn District Council has
been really fantastic. Everyone
has recognised this is a signifi-
cant piece of history to pre-
Mr Cribb said there were no
plans set in stone for the prop-
erty when it was completed, but
using it as a wedding and func-
tion venue was a possibility.
Last month, the couple pur-
chased St Theresa's Church and
moved it from Coalgate, so it
now sits on the property too.
Mr Cribb said it would be a
huge feeling of satisfaction to
complete the project.
I can't wait to live here.''
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