Farr, Samuel Charles - Architect
Samuel Farr (1827-1918) arrived in Canterbury in April 1850, before the 'first four ships', the ships that brought British settlers to the city of Christchurch. He worked at Akaroa as a builder, turning his mind to solutions for various problems faced by the settlers in the area and proving his worth as an adaptable and versatile colonist.
In 1863 he moved to Christchurch, advertising his services as an architect. Whether he had ever trained formally for this profession has not been established, but it seems likely that he was one of the several 19th century settlers who managed successfully in this field after some practical experience and diligent self-education. Farr had a considerable flair for design and an ability to give his clients what they considered "value for money", and had the good fortune to launch his career by winning a number of prestigious competitions in Christchurch, thus settling his name firmly in the public eye. His designs followed current conventions of style and decoration, but he was innovative in his early use of concrete, most notably the construction of a complex of buildings for wealthy runholder, George Moore, at Glenmark between 1875-1881.
Farr was a versatile designer, equally at home with classically influenced styles, such as he used for St Paul's Presbyterian Church (1876) or with Gothic which he employed frequently in schools and churches. The former Normal School, Christchurch (1873-76) is perhaps his most scholarly Gothic design.