By 1861, the numbers on the Provincial Council had swelled to 35 making it a tight squeeze in the small Timber Chamber.
Mountfort drew up plans for a new chamber along with social and dining facilities (giving them the same name – Bellamy’s – as those in London’s Westminster), and accommodation for a housekeeper.
With these buildings, Mountfort used a variety of local stone as the main building material.
The Stone Chamber is in a High Victorian Gothic style and the stonework is magnificently elaborate.
As Canterbury historian John Wilson said, “the interior of the Council Chamber is the building’s greatest glory”.
There is a double-faced clock, encaustic (inlaid) tiling, beautiful stained glass windows, and carvings, carved in Christchurch by William Brassington.
Visitors can share Brassington’s sense of fun by searching for heads, birds, a cat, frog and other creatures.
The timbers used in the interior of the Stone Chamber include native kauri and rimu.