Lying to the north of Christchurch Central City and just a few minutes’ drive from Lovoir Day Spa is St Albans – the second largest suburb in the city and one of the most diverse, vibrant neighbourhoods. It is characterised by a delightful mix of heritage and modern homes, luxury apartments and workers cottages, nature parks and sports facilities, local businesses and retail stores.
But long before it was known for its modern living, it was a working-class settlement and a separate town from Christchurch City in the mid-19th century. It was named after the farm of George Dickinson, a New Zealand cricket player who owned property south of St. Albans Creek.
Fast forward to today, it has since evolved into a tight-known community with strong values and a residential charm, establishing itself as an attractive destination for locals and tourists alike. Here’s everything you need to know about this must-see suburb!
Because of St Alban’s history as a separate area before joining the city, its exact boundaries are often a topic of debate.
It is currently bordered by Merivale to the west, Strowan to the north-west, Papanui to the north, Mairehau to the north-east, Edgeware to the east, and the Christchurch City Centre to the south. However, since the original borough used to include some sections of these suburbs, you will notice some price variations in real estate properties (especially those in the expensive Merivale suburb), as well as some conflicting signages around the neighbourhood.
Whatever the case may be, one thing remains true: St Albans is a picturesque suburb. Its flat yet lush terrain is filled with residential homes boasting different architectural styles and ages – from council-owned flats and old cottages to luxe apartments and quaint houses. Alongside are commercial properties, roads, parks, and green spaces, adding more character and life to the neighbourhood.
St Albans is a vibrant hub, with a mosaic of ethnicities, age groups, and professional backgrounds. The unique blend of cultures and lifestyles in this suburb contributes to a community that is welcoming and diverse.
Over the years, St Albans has seen steady growth, reflecting its growing appeal. As of June 2022, it had an estimated population of 13,620 people, making it the second largest suburb in Christchurch.
Other remarkable characteristics of the St Albans community include:
- A balanced gender distribution, mirroring Christchurch’s demographic balance.
- A culturally rich suburb with 82.9% New Zealand Europeans/Pākehās, 7.0% Māori, 2.0% Pacific peoples, 12.8% Asian, and 2.9% from other ethnicities.
- A respectful mix of religions, including 50.6% with no religion, 36.7% Christians, 2.2% Hindus, 0.8% Muslims, 1.2% Buddhists, and 3.8% following other beliefs.
- A community of varying ages, with 15.6% under 15, 24.6% aged 15 to 29, 46.3% aged 30 to 64, and 13.5% aged 65 or older, reflecting a combination of youthfulness and maturity.
- A compelling blend of suburban charm with urban amenities, making it suitable for families, young professionals, and retirees alike.
- A highly skilled populace, with 57.6% of work-appropriate age employed full-time, 14.8% part-time, and only 2.9% unemployed, and a significant 35.1% holding a bachelor’s degree or higher.
St Albans has a strong community-oriented culture, as seen in various clubs, societies, community centres, and daily necessities in the area.
The St Albans Residents’ Association plays a vital role in community engagement and development. The suburb hosts events like markets, festivals, and concerts, volunteer programs, and the like.
Another is The St Albans News, a local monthly paper that is distributed to 5,000 homes and businesses and focuses on community-related issues and activities.
There are also several neighbourhood facilities in St Albans promoting community activities like sports and leisure. These include Edgeware Village (a complex containing several local shops), parks like St Albans Park, Abberley Park, and Malvern Park, and sports facilities like English Park (the Canterbury United Football Club stadium) and Rugby Park (the homebase of the professional rugby team, Crusaders).
You’ll also find several urban amenities in the area, such as supermarkets, hospitals and pharmacies, restaurants and cages, churches, commercial shops and fitness centres, all necessary to create a functional and self-sufficient community for residents.
Education in St Albans is well-facilitated, with quality education provided by primary schools like St Albans School and St Albans Catholic School, as well as kindergartens and pre-schools in the neighbourhood.
Its close proximity to various secondary and tertiary education institutions in Christchurch also adds to its appeal for families and students, including those in neighbouring suburbs like Merivale, Strowan, Papanui and the Christchurch City Centre itself.
The Edgeware Village, with its shops, cafés, and eateries, provides a taste of local life. The community-driven events and historic sites offer insights into the local culture and lifestyle.
A simple stroll around the neighbourhood also serves as a fun activity, allowing both locals and visitors to admire a range of unique homes, architectural styles, retail establishments and an overall cultural fusion of history and modernity.ST ALBANS WEATHER