The Peterborough Centre (Former Teachers’ Training College), a large stone-faced Collegiate Gothic style building on the corner of Peterborough and Montreal Streets, Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand, was built in stages between 1924 and 1930, as the place where Christchurch’s primary school teachers were trained from 1927 until 1978.
After the teachers’ college completed its long-planned move out of the building in 1978 to its present campus in Ilam, the building stood empty for two years before being used by various cultural groups. It became known as the Peterborough Centre. One group of tenants tells a part of Christchurch history not often told. The Lambda Centre leased the former science laboratory, at Room 104 on the ground floor, to operate as a friendly drop in centre, meeting place and coffee bar for gay and lesbian people for around two decades from late 1980. Standing for a sense of freedom, the 11th lower-case letter of the Greek alphabet, Lambda (λ), was adopted as a sign of Gay Liberation in the 1960s. The Lambda Centre within the Peterborough Centre helped thousands of gay and lesbian people in Christchurch by providing a safe and supportive socialising venue, with regular informative STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) clinics. From the mid-1980s, it offered AIDS clinics and counselling at a time when HIV/AIDS was emerging throughout the world as a serious life-threatening illness that disproportionately affected gay men. In 1989 the Gay Information Centre moved to Room 206 of the Peterborough Centre, on the floor above the Lambda Centre, having previously operated out of the Arts Centre on Hereford Street as well as within Room 104 of the Peterborough Centre.
In 1997 the building was converted it into 37 apartments. Renamed The Peterborough, the building was owned by the individual tenants of the apartments. It suffered damage in the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury Earthquakes and has since lain vacant requiring strengthening and repair, though new owners have expressed their intention to repair and redevelop the building.
25 Peterborough Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8013, New Zealand