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 The Old Waterfront, p 48 The Streets of my city, Wellington New Zealand,
by F. L. Irvine-Smith. (1948).

Part Two : Chapter Two
Directors and Friends of the Company

Contents: a letter | Part One chapters: 1 | 2 | Part Two chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15
Part Three chapters: Intro | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | Appendix

This is our duty, that if anyone specially needs our help, we should
give him such help to the utmost of our power.

Cicero (De Officiis)

IT HAS ALREADY been intimated that the promoters of the New Zealand Company were among the most enlightened and influential public men of the day, and an examination of the personnel of its early directorates will give us the source of many of our early street names. It was but natural that Colonel Wakefield, principal agent of the Company at Wellington, should seek to commemorate their names in the early streets of the Company's chief settlement, and a perusal of its directorate in any year will take us straight to the source of many of our street names. Consider the directorate of May, 1840: -

Joseph Somes.
Hon. Francis Baring, M.P.
Viscount Ingestre, M.P.
Lord Petre.
Henry Aglionby, M.P.
John Boulcott.
John Hine.
Sir Wm. Hutt, M.P.
Stewart Majoribanks, M.P.
Ross Mangles, M.P.
Sir Wm. Molesworth,
Alexander Nairne.
John Pirie.
John Buckle.
Wm. Copeland, M.P.
Russell Ellice.
James Gowen.
Sir Geo. Sinclair, M.P.
John Abel Smith, M.P.
Wm. Thompson, M.P.
Hon. Fredk. Tollemache, M.P.
Ed. Gibbon Wakefield.
Arthur Willis.
Geo. Young, MP.
John Ward.
Here we see at a glance the origin of the names of Somes Island, Baring Head, Hutt River and Ward Island (q.v.). Lambton Quay, the main thoroughfare of Early Wellington, was called after the first Chairman of Directors, the Earl of Durham, whose family name was Lambton. He died, July 19th , 1840, and was succeeded by Mr. Joseph Somes. The name of H. A. Aglionby, M.P. was given to a village on the Hutt River, long since absorbed into the Hutt Borough, but remembered by Aglionby Street. That of Lord Petre provided Wanganui with an English designation, which was officially recognised from 1840 to January 26th, 1854 when, by act of Provincial Council, the original Maori name was resumed. The first Ingestre Street in Wellington is now merged into Vivian Street, but there is a new street of the same name in the Mornington suburb.

Fully a dozen of the remaining directors are commemorated in early Wellington streets as follows:


Viscount Ingestre, M.P.
John Elleker Boulcott.
John Wm. Buckle.
Russell Ellice.
Stewart Majoribanks, M.P.
Sir. Wm. Molesworth, Bart.
Captain Alexander Nairne.
Sir John Pirie.
John Abel Smith.
Wm. Thompson, M.P.
Ed. Gibbon Wakefield.
Arthur Willis.

Ingestre Street (S.W.1).
Boulcott Street (C.1)
Buckle Street (C.3).
Ellice Street (E.1)
Majoribanks Street (E.1).
Molesworth Street (N.1).
Nairn Street (C.2).
Pirie Street (E.1).
Abel Smith Street (C.2).
Thompson Street (C.2).
Wakefield Street (C. 1, C.3), and Park (S.1).
Willis Street (C. 1).
Subsequent directors were also commemorated in early Wellington streets :

Lord Vivian, M.P.
Sir Henry Webb.
Thos. Woolcombe.
Viscount Courtenay.

Vivian Street (C.2).
W bb Street (C.2).
Woolcombe Street (now incorporated in Wellington Terrace).
Courtenay Place.

Mention of Sir William Molesworth of the New Zealand Company, 1840, recalls what still ranks as one of England's most beautiful gardens, laid out by this baronet at his family seat of "Pencarrow," the home of the Molesworths since the sixteenth century, three and a half miles north of Bodmin in the county of Cornwall.

Sir William Molesworth, who was M.P. for East Cornwall and later Secretary of State for the Colonies, began the garden when he was twentyone, and there is still preserved among family records a Garden Book compiled by him and entitled "Trees planted by Sir William Molesworth, Bart., from 1833 to 1883." The garden is particularly rich in rhododendrons, conifers and those aristocrats of the plant world that so captivated a still later Colonial Secretary, Sir Joseph Chamberlain. Of particular interest however, to a New Zealand visitor are the plants sent to Sir William from the colony by his brother, Francis Molesworth, in the forties. These include the New Zealand fuchsia (F. excarticata), the: rama-rama (Myrtus bullata) , the red parrot's bill (Clianthus puniceus), totara (Podocarpus totara) and the highly-esteemed karaka with its "beautiful orange berries."

Another of the early Company streets of 1841 is Lawrence Street (S.1.) named after Captain E. Lawrence, R.N., father-in-law of Captain Daniell. The former, like his son-in-law, was one of an enthusiastic band of Cornish promoters (including Lord Vivian, Lord Petre and Sir Wm. Molesworth) of Wakefield's Colonisation Scheme.

Drummond Street, another early Company street branching off Adelaide Road, is thought to commemorate Edward Drummond (1792-1843), private secretary to the Duke of Wellington and no doubt well known to Company officials of the forties, in fact, so highly did the Duke think of him that he expressed his satisfaction in the House of Lords at having secured his services. His father, Charles Drummond, was head of the Drummond Banking Firm of Charing Cross, London. Having been seen driving alone in Peel's carriage, he was mistaken for Peel by a lunatic who had a grudge against the Premier, and shot.

One of the earliest of Wellington streets inseparably connected with Directors of the Company and their supporters is St. Mary Street, appearing on the earliest plan of the city. This may perpetuate the official church of the University of Cambridge, "Great St. Mary's," for it must be remembered that a large proportion of the Company members, and indeed of early leading pioneers, looked to Cambridge as their alms mater, remembering too that, curiously enough, the official church of Oxford University is also "St. Mary of the Virgin," which may well serve as a double reason for the name. For a similar reason St. John Street, an early Company street of 1840, may be a reminder of St. John's College in both Oxford and Camhridge, or St. John's Street in the latter.

Manners Street was named after Charles Manners Sutton, the first Viscount Canterbury (1780,1845) and the eldest son of the Archbishop of Canterbury, while Mulgrave Street commemorates Baron Mulgrave, first Marquis of Normanby and Colonial Secretary at the time of the founding of Wellington. His son, the second Marquis, was Governor of New Zealand, 1874-1879.

In the original plan of Wellington (August 14th, 1840), Dixon Street is spelt "Dickson," but the late Horace Fildes, a most careful investigator of early Wellington nomenclature, states ("Dominion," October, 1927) that it is fair to assume that the street was named after John Dixon, Esq., member of the New Zealand Commercial Company, 1825.

Constable Street is so named after John Constable, a London merchant and friend of the Company; Hankey Street after Thomas Allers Hankey, a London banker connected with the Company, and Hill Street after General Sir Rowland Hill, second in command under Wellington at Waterloo, and afterwards Commander-in-chief of the British army. His estate in England was called "Hawkestone," whence Hawkestone Street. Off Hawkestone Street was formed Hawkestone Crescent,which was taken over by the City Council in 1905.

Hopper Street perpetuates the name of Edward Betts-Hopper, an influential member of the Company, who sailed to New Zealand, arriving by the "Oriental," January 31st ,1840. During the attempt at placing the chief settlement at Britannia (q.v.) Edward Betts-Hopper, Francis Molesworth, brother of Sir William Molesworth, Director of the Company, and the Hon. H. W. Petre, son of Lord Petre, another director, built a flourmill for the first settlers and established a firm for engineering and mili-wright business and repairs. This commenced operations, July 3rd, 1840, and less than three months later Mr. Hopper was accidentally drowned in the Hutt River (September 17th, 1840), a great blow to the young settlement. Mr. Molesworth later was injured by a falling tree, and returned to England where he died in 1846. In 1860 the Hon. H. W. Petre returned to England, but there are still descendants of his in the Dominion. One of these, Miss Mary Petre, became Mrs. Vincent Ward, daughter-in-law of Sir Joseph Ward, Prime Minister 1928-1930 and before this, 1906-1912.

It is also of interest to note that the two sons of the director, John Ellerker Boulcott, both came to New Zealand and were very popular in the settlement. One died early and the other had a farm at the Hutt called in later military days "Boulcott's Camp." A son of Geo. Young, M.P. for Tynemouth, also came to the colony, landing in Nelson in 1842, but was drowned the same year in the Wairoa River. Pioneering has never lacked dangers and difficulties undreamt of by those whose ways lie along safer paths.

Cornhill Street and Lombard Street are two of the early streets called after London thoroughfares of the same name. Doctors Commons is another London name, though the original Doctors Commons after which it is called, was not a thoroughfare, but five courts or colleges for the study of law situated on St. Bennet's Hill, St. Paul's Churchyard. In 1874 the legal work performed there was transferred to Somerset House in the Strand, and Doctors Commons in London survives in name only.

Hawker Street was named in 1840. The origin is doubtful and investigators are divided between Mr. C. C. Hawker of Camelford, Cornwall, and the Rev. Robert Stephen Hawker, one of the Molesworth-Wakefield group of reformers.

Another debatable name is that of Sydney Street, more often than not said to commemorate the maiden name of Colonel Wm. Wakefield's wife who, before her marriage in 1826, was Miss Emily Elizabeth Sidney, daughter of Sir John Shelley Sidney of Penshurst Place and sister of the first Lord de Lisle and Dudley. Before the advent of enamelled street name-plates in Wellington, the name of this street was spelt "Sidney." On the other hand the origin is sometimes stated as that of the capital of the Mother Colony of New South Wales, which would make the present spelling correct. No opinion is herewith expressed, but a former attempt drew forth a (published) reply to the effect that both of the above suppositions were incorrect, the source being given as that of an early resident in the street, Mr. Sidney Hirst ("," October, 1927), who afterwards farmed at the Taita - all of which goes to prove how rapidly the story of the past fades out of view unless carefully and contemporaneously recorded. Unfortunately, Mr. Hirst was not born until 1849, and the street appears on the Company's plan of the City of Wellington, 1841.

An interesting early resident of Sydney Street was Thomas Arnold (1823,1900) whose father, Dr. Arnold of Rugby, was a shareholder of the Company. Thomas Arnold reached New Zealand in 1848 in the "John Wycliffe" and commenced a school in Nelson, but soon afterwards crossed to Tasmania where he became Inspector of Schools. In 1856 he returned to his academic associations in the Old World, becoming in 1882 Fellow of the Royal University of Ireland. He was the father of the novelist, Mrs. Humphrey Ward.

Looking across to Hutt Valley, page 56

1. "History of New Zealand" (Shrimpton & Mulgan) p. 91.
2. For many years Lavaud Street was mis-spelt on its name-plate as "Leraud" Street.
3. "The Discovery of Dinornia," by T. Lindsay Buick, C.M.G. F.R.Hist.S.
4. The nearest Captain Cook came to Port Nicholson was to anchor a mile from Barrett's Reef.
5. Sir R. Newbolt.
6. H. Fildes, "Dominion," October, 1927.
7. Devonians mag recollect that Wellington chimes are the same as those of Bideford.
8. Henry Meech, who died in 1885, was the senior partner in Meech, Oxenham & Whitley, shipwnghts, Wellington.

Part Two : Chapter Three : First Arrivals

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