Stained Glass Windows

There are 9 stained glass windows and these can be placed in three groups according to their origin. There are four by Veronica Whall, three which can probably be attributed to Francis Spear and two windows came from the former St Mary’s church in Merivale.

Veronica Whall

Veronica Whall was daughter of Christopher Whall, a leader of the Arts & Crafts Movement in stained glass. At the age of 13 Veronica had drawn part of a window for Gloucester Cathedral. She went on to become a successful stained glass artist and a director of Whall & Whall Ltd in London. Most of her work outside the United Kingdom are to be found in New Zealand. She was an expert in the use of Priors Slab glass which is of uneven texture and often has a variety of colours in one piece. Her windows in the chapel use this material to great effect and are richly coloured. The four windows are described next.

 “The Angel of Charity and a Waif”

This window commemorates Mary Ewart who was matron from 1898-1908. Trained in Belfast, Mary Ewart came to New Zealand in 1885 and in 1887 became the first qualified nurse to join Christchurch Hospital where she worked for 43 years. She died on 22nd July 1930. Nurses who had trained under her donated this memorial window which was dedicated by Bishop West Watson on 16th April 1933.

The angel depicted is enthroned on the world and the waif, symbolic of the soul, is protected by the cloak of charity. This work has suffered vandalism from the interior of the chapel and the child’s arm and hand holding the angels hand are not the originals. The Williams Morris Gallery, London holds the cartoons for this work.


 “Faith and a Sick Child”

This window is a memorial to nursing pioneer Sybilla Maude OBE, known to all as Nurse Maude and founder of the Nurse Maude Association of New Zealand. In 1892 after training in London, Nurse Maude worked as a matron at Christchurch Hospital from 1893-1896 before starting district nursing. In 1904 she established an open-air camp at New Brighton to TB victims which led to the government introducing sanatoria. She died on 12th July 1935. The window was dedicated on 15th November 1936 by the retired Archbishop Julius.

The figure of a woman has the cross of Faith on her dress and the child she is holding has a head bandage and has his hands clasped in prayer. The hour glass and circle symbols represent time and eternity.

“Christ and Children”

The window is a tribute to Annie Pattrick, promoter of the Plunket organisation in New Zealand and England. She trained at Christchurch Hospital and studied the Sir Truby Kings system of child care. During World War I she served on the hospital ship Marama. After the war she assisted with the introduction of Plunket ideals in England and established the Mothercraft Training Centre in London. She was appointed Director of Nursing at Plunket on her return to New Zealand in 1920. She lectured widely and internationally and had a profound influence on the growth of Plunket in New Zealand and abroad. Annie Pattrick died on 19th September 1937. The window was dedicated on 25th June 1939 by Chaplain Henry Williams. Plunket nurses, staff and others contributed to the cost. The NCHB gave 5 pounds.

The children shown in the window are shown as healthy and happy as a tribute to her work with Plunket.


“The Angel of Hope”

This window is in memory of pioneer nurses and was probably Veronica Whalls last window. It was designed to match the Ewart memorial window. The window was donated by Christchurch Hospital trained nurses who attended the 1951 reunion. The window was dedicated by Bishop Warren on 2nd August 1953.

The window is symbolic of the steadfastness of hope and the challenges of life.  An angel on a rock lashed by an ever-changing sea holds an anchor which is a symbol of hope. The sea is also a reminder of the Marquette nurses. Part of the cartoon for this work is in the The William Morris Gallery, London.

Francis Spear

The next three windows are thought to be by Francis Spear and were made at Lowdes & Drury’s studio, The Glass House in London. This studio was built in 1906 and was operated by Mary Lowndes and Alf Drury, who had connections with the Whalls.

“The Conversion of St Paul”

This window commemorates Mabel Thurston CBE, RRC for her outstanding service to military nursing. She was matron from 1908 to 1916 an was a driving force in getting a children’s ward built at Christchurch Hospital. During World War I she was matron-in-chief to the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and later worked as matron in Hanmer and Waipukurau hospitals. During World War II she gave voluntary service in British hospitals. She died on 23rd July 1960 and left £75 to adorn the chapel. This money may have partially paid for the window. The window was commissioned by former nurses who trained under her and by many former patients and friends. Bishop Warren dedicated the window at the Florence Nightingale service on 10th May 1964.

The window shows a saint as a soldier on the road to Damacus dedicating his sword to God.

“St Agatha”

St Agatha is a patron saint of nurses and this window commemorates Mary Christmas ARRC. After her training at Christchurch Hospital she served in the Mediterranean (where she survived the Marquette sinking) and later in England. In 1923 she became the first tutor sister at the Christchurch Preliminary School of Nursing and retired in 1937. She died on 17th April 1964.

The window was donated by the Rose Muir Association and servicemen and women. It was unveiled by Marquette survivors Jean Irwin and Emily Hodges and was dedicated by the chaplains on 21st April 1968.

"St Faith”

This window commemorates Rose Muir MBE who joined the staff in 1910 and was matron between 1916 and 1936. She died on 12th May 1970. The window was commissioned by the Christchurch School of Nursing Association and unveiled on 14th October 1971 by Grace Widdowson who trained under Muir and was herself matron from 1936 to 1952. Rose Muir was the aunt of Frank Muir the comedian.   

St Mary’s Windows
“Lamb of God” & The Dove of Peace”

These windows in the sanctuary and the west end rose came from the former St Mary’s Anglican Church in Merivale. They date from the 1880’s. The windows were given to the chapel at the suggestion of Adeline Turner, a Merivale parishioner and the Honorable Secretary of the Hospital Lady Visitors Association. 

“Poppys Remembrance”

On the west side this window commemorates Poppy Blathwayt who was home sister at the nurses hostel during the 1950’s and the 1960’s. One of her duties included care for the chapel and she often placed flowers in the building. The flower theme is symbolic of her love of flowers and water colour painting. Poppy Blathwayt died in 1993 leaving a bequest to the chapel, part of which was to be used to fund a window. The window was designed by Auckland designer Suzanne Johnson and constructed by her partner Ben Hanly. The window was dedicated in a service on March 26 2000.

“Nurses Memorial Window”

This window was designed to commemorate the contribution and sacrifice of nurses who served in the First and Second World Wars. It includes references to nurses in uniforms of the times and seven nursing medals. The WWI nurses are seen with a representation of the Marquette in the Aegean while the WWII nurses are depicted in Egypt and the Middle East with association to the pyramids.

The window was designed and constructed by Stephen Belanger-Taylor ARCA, FMGP, RCA with some of the glass made by his wife Denise. Stephen was born in 1940 in England emigrated to Canada in 1968 and took up residence in New Zealand in 1985. He has a long and distinguished career  with ecclesiastical, corporate and private commissions in England, Canada, France and New Zealand.

The Christchurch School of Nursing 1891-1987 Window

This window depicts a Registered Nurse kneeling in the Daffodil Field with the Southern Alps, the Canterbury Plains and the Norwest arch as a background. Graham Stewart Glass, Canterbury New Zealand designed and made the window. It was dedicated on the 20th September 2007 and unveiled by Miss Brenda Brankin, retired chief nursing officer for the North Canterbury Hospital Board and former matron of both Burwood and Christchurch hospitals.

The window is a memorial for all nurses who trained at the Christchurch School of Nursing. A grant was given from the Veterans Community Grants Fund to assist with its purchase.

The Hester Maclean window

Designed by Graham Stewart, the window was installed in 2018 as part of the reinstatement of the chapel. This was commissioned by the Canterbury branch of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation to mark the centenary of the organisation in Canterbury. Hester Maclean was its first patron and founder of the journal Kai Tiaki. She was instrumental in founding the New Zealand Army Nursing Service in 1915, serving overseas as its Matron in Chief and escorting the first 50 New Zealand nurses to Egypt. She was required to return to New Zealand to deal with severe staff shortages affecting the operation of hospitals. During the influenza epidemic in 1918 and 19 she acted as chief health officer organising measures to combat the disease.

She is depicted in her army uniform wearing the medals awarded for her war service.

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