While I was in the midst of preparing the manuscript for my new book Imperial Gothic  a few years ago, a series of devastating earthquakes struck the New Zealand city of Christchurch. These quakes, of which there were two major ones between September 2010 and February 2011, caused widespread damage to the city’s historic centre, including the magnificent Anglican cathedral by the noted English architect Sir George Gilbert Scott. The destruction and deaths caused by these earthquakes made international headlines.


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