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Nelson Historical Society Journal, Volume 1, Issue 5, December 1961

Home for Nelson History

Home for Nelson History

page Six

Pleasure at the Nelson City Council's action in going ahead with the purchase of Isel Homestead and the adjoining ground was expressed at the 1960 annual meeting of the Nelson Historical Society by the president, Mr L. E. H. Baigent. "At long last we have in sight a suitable resting place for the treasures which the Society has," added Mr Baigent.

He went on to explain that, for the exhibition of ordinary material such as old photographs, old maps, old implements and the like, the masonry section of the Isel home would be quite suitable with a small amount of alteration, while the purchase of the adjoining two acres would round out the site and make it more attractive, in addition to its value for historical use.

Another Building

However, he wished to point out that it had all along been recognised that, for the safe custody of such treasures as the Bett Collection and Miss Julie Tomlinson's silver, a damp-proof and fire-proof building was necessary.

It would also have to be internally lighted, have no windows and be specially ventilated. No building in Nelson at present would meet those conditions.

Such a building would be constructed alongside Isel and in such a position that it would in no way spoil the view of the present homestead or the park.

Questions Answered

In answer to a question by Mr J. Newman about the other four acres in the prospective purchase, Mr Baigent said he understood that the City Council intended to subdivide that area into quarter-acre building sections, but he did not think this would mar Isel or the park. He did not feel that, in 25 or 40 years' time, it would be said that there was not enough room because the council had gone ahead with the plan to sell these four acres for building sections.

A brief discussion also took place about roading. It was explained that there would most likely be a road leading in from the present main road entrance (as now) and out by a road joining up with Marsden Road. Mr Baigent said he was unaware of any proposal to join up with the Ridgeway.

Formation of Trust

Dealing with the proposed formation of a National Historical Trust on a provincial basis as the controlling and administering body for such a museum of Nelson history, Mr Baigent said that it was hoped all local bodies in the district would be partners. All those approached had agreed in principle with the scheme except the Motueka Borough Council, which had replied that it preferred all Motueka historical material to remain in Motueka. He hoped that such a view would be subject to revision in the light of further information given and that there would be one centre of history for the province.

The Mayor of Nelson, Mr S. I. Russell, had, said Mr Baigent, agreed to call a public meeting of all interested to discuss the formation of a Nelson Historical Trust as soon as the draft of a trust bill now being prepared by the Town Clerk was ready. That was the position they had now reached.

Other Business

The annual report (sections of which have already been published) and the balance sheet were adopted. Membership last year reached 140.

Mr Baigent, who presided over an attendance of 23 members, explained that all officers of the association worked in an honorary capacity and the limited funds available were devoted to the development of the society's activities.

"The Nelson Historical Society was not formed a day too soon," said Mr Baigent. "Indeed, it was formed too late to gather much of Nelson's history, especially that relating to Maori occupation."

Mr J. A. Jenkins, chairman of the Records Committee, paid a tribute to the work being done by those in charge of different sections: Mr T. R. Jameson, who had been carrying on with the work of cross-indexing since the death of Mr J. G. McKay; Miss A. M. Jenkins and Dr K. Curtis, who were classifying the page Sevennewspaper material; and Mr L. W. Field and Mr H. C. Collins, who were in charge of the photographic section. Mr J. E. R. Paterson edits the Society's journal, and Mr B. E. Dickinson is the Society's secretary.

Mr Jenkins said the present temporary premises in the building of the A. & N.Z. Bank, which were full to the doors, would not be available to the Society for much longer. He would like to make it known, however, that extra assistance with the work in hand would be much appreciated.

Tribute to Mr McKay

A paragraph in the Annual Report paid tribute to the invaluable services rendered to the Society by the late Mr J. G. McKay. The President (Mr Baigent) enlarged on this and Mr Jenkins spoke to the meeting on some of Mr McKay's researches into early education in Nelson, reading a paper on that subject which Mr McKay had prepared.

Archdeacon H. F. Ault, in thanking Mr Jenkins, told how helpful Mr McKay had been to him when he was writing "The Nelson Narrative". He went over those portions of the book dealing with early education in Nelson with very great care; he even corrected my grammar here and there," remarked the Archdeacon amid laughter.

New Members and Officers

New members elected were: Miss G. A. Bisley, Mr G. J. H. Reid and Mr and Mrs C. V. Neale.

The following officers were eected to the executive committee: Messrs L. E. H. Baigent, J. A. Jenkins, B. E. Dickinson, H. C. Collins, W. J. Glasgow, G. Gould, P. B. Griffin, L. W. Field, J. E. R. Paterson, T. R. Jameson, J. N. W. Newport and Archdeacon H. F. Ault.

Mr Griffin was re-elected honorary treasurer and Mr J. R. Oliver honorary auditor.

The incoming president and secretary are to be elected by the executive committee.