Christian Julius Toxward was responsible for designing more than 230 buildings and is responsible for the move from timber buildings to masonry.
Christian was born on November 26, 1831, in Copenhagen, Denmark to Christian Hendrik Toxvaerd, a chair-maker, and Ana Margrethe Schmidt.
He studied at the Kunstadademiet or Academy of Fine Art before emigrating to Australia. Christian tried his luck the gold fields at Ballarat before heading to Invercargill.
For a while he was employed by the Southland Provincial government and married Jane Hall Hughes in 1864.
In 1866 they moved to Wellington where he worked as an architect. It was to be the start of a huge body of work, a few pieces of which can still be seen today.
At the time, nearly all buildings were built in timber. This material became popular after wholesale destruction caused to early brick buildings during the massive earthquakes in 1848 and 1855.
In his first year, he designed St Andrew’s Church then made additions to St Mary’s Cathedral.
One of the changes that can still be seen are the additions to Old St Paul’s in Mulgrave Street, Thorndon - the south transept, north transept and the north aisle extension.
Among the list of buildings he designed are some very familiar names in Wellington; the first Kirkcaldie and Stains store, Wellington provincial council buildings, Wellington College and Grammar school, Wellington College, the Union Bank of Australia and Wellington Hospital. They were all built in timber.
He often used a gothic style with flying buttresses and pinnacles.
In 1883 he designed plans for dairy factories that were published at the instructions of premier Frederick Whitaker.
It was Toxward who moved from full timber buildings - considered safer after the earthquakes - to using masonry. He was one of the first architects in private practise in Wellington.
He was also an artist, justice of the peace, Danish consul in New Zealand and district grand master of the Freemasons.
He died suddenly on September 30, 1891, aged 59, six weeks after the death of his beloved wife. He had fallen and was found on the pavement on Sydney St. Death was believed to have been due to heart disease.
They had two sons and two daughters.
Most of the buildings he designed have now been replaced.
Toxward and his wife are buried in Bolton St Cemetery.
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