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Nelson Historical Society Journal, Volume 1, Issue 6, March 1964

First Visit to Isel — Street Names

First Visit to Isel — Street Names

page 8

The President of the Nelson Historical Society, Mr. L. E. H. Baigent, welcomed nearly 100 last evening at Isel where members were given the opportunity to examine the historical material so far collected and examine rooms used by the Society. Progress was reported in the preparation of an article on the origin of Nelson street names.

A film strip of the history of Nelson, compiled by the secretary, Mr. B. E. Dickinson, was shown to members. The strip had been prepared for schools and was based mainly on photographs from the society's collection, many of which have been loaned to "The Evening Mail" for its "Pages from the Past" series. It dated from early paintings before the advent of photography up to the present day harbour reclamation.

1849 Census

Recent acquisitions of the Historical Society were spoken of by Mr. J. A. Jenkins. They included a list of the original settlers in 1842; a copy of a Nelson census compiled in 1849 which included every man, woman and child; and a copy of Captain Arthur Wakefield's journal. The Society already had a photostat copy of the latter, Mr. Jenkins said, but it was difficult to read the handwriting. The copy made reference work much easier.

Early Days of Nelson Institute

He had discovered some interesting notes, he said, written by the late Mr. J. G. McKay on the early days of the Nelson Institute. It was first situated on the property in Trafalgar Street, where the coffee shop next door to the Waimea County Council is today. The property had belonged in 1842 to Mr. Jenkins' grandfather and was leased by him to what was then known as the Nelson Institution. It was described as being a building 30 feet from the corner of Trafalgar Street and Trafalgar Square, set eight feet back from the road; was 30 feet by 16 feet in area and had a four-foot porch in the front. In 1859 the Superintendent of the Province, Mr. J. P. Robinson, gave the Institution the land on which the Nelson Institute now stands.

Nelson Street Names

The progress made in preparing an article on the origin of Nelson street names was given by Mr. Dickinson. He paid tribute to the work done in this connection by the Federation of University Women, in particular Mrs. R. S. Duncan and Miss B. De Butts. Mr. C. I. Kidson, the City Engineer, had been of great assistance, he said. The origin of the names had been compiled from various sources such as old newspaper files, a lithographed map of Nelson printed in 1842, newspaper articles on early Nelson, Broad's Jubilee History of Nelson, and many others, said Mr. Dickinson A framed copy of the lithographed map of Nelson drawn by Mr. Fred Tuckett, the New Zealand Company's surveyor and sold at "The Examiner" office in 1842, had been presented to the Nelson Historical Society by Mr. Kidson and hung on a wall of the room they were now in, he said. It showed a complete map of the city of Nelson in 1842 with streets drawn and named, sections marked, including those which had been bought by settlers, reserves, markets, the extent of water lying in the lower portions of the city at high tide and also interesting names such as. Fish Market, reserve for houses of correction and others that had long since vanished.

According to "The Examiner" a committee met on March 24th, 1842, in the surveyor's office, said Mr. Dickinson. A motion was moved and seconded that "the principle of choosing names with a view to paying compliments to individuals ought to be repudiated". There had evidently been some discussion on it, he said. An amendment, which was carried, read, "The Committee proceed in the first instance to commemorate the career page 9of Nelson and that the succeeding names be at the discretion of the committee."

A second motion which was carried read, "No names be selected which will serve to perpetuate the recollection of Copenhagen". The reluctance to celebrate Nelson's victory over the Danes at Copenhagen left the Nelsonian rather confused, he said. It was not, however, the view of the majority of the committee, as an amendment was promptly moved and seconded that "The reserve for the barracks and parade ground be called "Copenhagen Mount". This was carried by eight votes to three and was a signal victory for those who considered Nelson's action in that battle right. The area which was to be given the name was doubtful for the purposes of record, said Mr. Dickinson. Many names had been suggested to him. It was the opinion of some of its members that it was what is now known as 'The Old Cemetery.'

Many Now Forgotten

A list of twenty-nine names was approved at the meeting. Almost half of them had since been forgotten, he said. Fort Calvi, Fort Bastia, Aboukir Battery and Aglionby Point were all on what was named Fifeshire Island, but what we know as Haulashore Island. The Fish Market figured on the early maps about where the Globe Hotel now stands and the Meat Market was in Bridge Street near the Eel Pond, the present pond in Queen's Gardens.

The origin of Bridge Street seemed easy as there were two bridges in this street, he said. However, the street was named Bridge Street in March, 1842, while the bridges, Saltwater Bridge at the west end, and the Maitai Bridge at the east were not built until October 1842, and April 1843 respectively. It was suggested that the street was named after Admiral Sir Cyprian Bridge.

Some of the names in use today, referring to Lord Nelson originated as follows, he said: Trafalgar, Nile, Copenhagen, St. Vincent were his most famous victories.

Lord Collingwood, a British Admiral, was one of Nelson's greatest friends. Hardy was his captain on the Victory at Trafalgar and at Copenhagen.

It was well to remember, he said, that the majority of the main streets of Nelson still retained the names they were given originally even though the spelling had changed over the years.

Auckland Point.

At the very beginning of the settlement when there were no roads, goods had been brought by small boats from the Port to Auckland Point which was probably the furthest spot up the Haven to which cargo boats could proceed, he said. It was probable, he thought, that it was because the goods from the ship Lord Auckland were the first to be landed there that Auckland Point received its name.