Christmas markets always make me feel I’m on the way to being organised for Christmas and they’re great if you like craft, but like me you’re not much good at it. This year there’s going to be a Christmas Market Fair at Addington Raceway, a twilight one called Christmas on the green at Sydenham and an All I want for Christmas market at Shirley Intermediate School Hall.
When I read Vanessa’s very interesting blog on the origins of the name Cashmere, I was inspired to find out what else street names of Christchurch might tell me about our history, so I turned to our Street Name and Place Name index for inspiration.
It seems that many of Christchurch’s main streets were laid out in the original plan with names taken from bishoprics listed in Burke’s Peerage. Cashel Street, for example was named for The Rt. Rev. Robert Daly, Bishop of Cashel and Waterford at the time, who also happened to be John Robert Godley’s uncle. This tells us little, except that the names were thought out before hand, possibly to emphasis the Anglican character of the settlement – and that the surveyors must have bought Burke’s Peerage with them.
Many others were simply named for the families who developed the land. There is an area in Spreydon where Lord Lyttelton is commemorated with names like Stourbridge Street (a village near where he lived) and Glynne Crescent (his wife’s maiden name).
However, there are less obvious connections in street names which help preserve our history in a way nothing else would. There’s Ontario Place for example, which was named because Canadian engineers lived in the area when they were building the Lyttelton Road Tunnel. Or Nicholas Drive, which was probably named for Henry Nicholas awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery in action at Polderhoek (Belgium) in 1917. An appropriate memorial, as the houses in the area were built by the Christchurch City Council for returned soldiers after World War One.
Sometimes, sadly history has been obliterated with name changes obscuring origins rather than marking them. For example Dr Alfred Barker, renowned photographer of early Christchurch, was wiped off the map when Barker Street was removed in favour of the more aristocratic name of Onslow Street, after a former Governor of New Zealand.
Find out what your street tells you about Christchurch.