Matron Mabel Thurston is said to have been the first to have promoted the need for a chapel at Christchurch Hospital. A wartime tragedy was to provide the impetus needed to bring about the building of the chapel.

The Revd Harry W Smith, Matron Rose Muir, Nurse Maude, the Hospital Lady Visitors Association and the Nurses Memorial Chapel Committee were instrumental in bringing the chapel into existence.

In July 1924 Matron Rose Muir wrote to the hospital board stressing the urgent need for a chapel. In January 1925 the board sanctioned the building of a chapel in the hospital grounds. A site was approved in a letter of the 2nd July 1925 after discussions with the Ministry of Health. The hospital board would pay for the foundations and in turn would have use of the basement.

The churches gave full support to the proposal to build and the Revd Smith wrote a letter of appeal for funds commenting that the chapel would be “a memorial to the Marquette nurses and to all nurses who died on military service during the war”.

The North Canterbury Health Board (NCHB) was not granted permission by the Ministry of Health to make a grant towards the building and the government did not provide any funds either. Hospital staff and the public were to fund the building alone.

An appeal was launched in November 1925 with street collections and a Sunday devoted to the appeal was held in churches. 3000 pounds sterling was required and 800 pounds had been raised.

The response to the appeal was good with the bulk of the funds being donated by the public. The chapels final cost was 3486 pounds and there was a surplus of 148 pounds which was used for chapel furnishings.



The foundation stone was laid on 15th March 1927 by the Duke of York who stood in for the Duchess who was ill on the day of the ceremony.

The stone records the name of the Duchess of York (her Majesty the Queen Mother).

The speech given by Dr Fox on the day, is in the form of an illuminated manuscript  and is framed on the back of the south vestry door. In the speech the chapel is designated as a memorial to nurses

Hildyard, Rattray and Rogers of the Marquette and the nurses Beswick and Hooker who were influenza epidemic victims.

The chapel takes its name from these five women.

Login to Christchurch Nurses Memorial Chapel