Staying, Going, Gone

Behind the scenes

The favoured view of Christchurch Art Gallery is from Montreal Street, the familiar glass façade that populates postcards, tourist photos, and – for a while there – nightly news bulletins.

Move round the back of the building though, and things aren't so glamorous. With the Greek restaurant Santorini now just a hole in the ground, the formerly full block that Christchurch Art Gallery inhabits is emptying out majorly. The old HSBC building has been stripped and will come down in the weeks ahead, leaving just us, the Harley and Worcester Chambers (out of shot behind the shell of the HSBC), and CoCA. The Gallery Apartments – previously reaching for the sky between us and CoCA – are long gone, leaving The Arthouse (which occupied the ground floor) homeless, but it's good to see that what is left on this increasingly desolate site is a couple of art institutions. Last art standing if you like. We don't know who our new neighbours will be of course, and you don't have to just go round back to see this kind of destruction. Head either way up or down Montreal and similar views are apparent. Here's the view a couple of blocks south on the corner of Cashel – it's like a scene out of War of the Worlds. Send in the nibblers!