Monday, March 16, 2009

Street Stories 11: More on Auckland City Street Names database

Now, don't get me wrong. I think that the initiative by Auckland City Libraries to put up a database of information on Auckland City's street names is commendable, and 95% of the time very useful. But, as with all databases reliant on secondary and tertiary sources, it has errors. Here are some of the ones I've picked up for Avondale.

Cradock Street

“Formerly Craddock Hamlet around 1912”

Cradock Hamlet dates from 1903, and is the subdivision through which Cradock Street runs. Note the spelling. See the Methuen Road entry below.

Great North Road

“Previously St Georges Road part. opposite Crayford Street one way (South to North) frontage road, servicing parking area.”

St Georges Road was never Great North Road – the Great North Road angled down and westward from the Five Roads intersection (now the roundabout) from the late 1840s when it was formed. The Crown purchased the part going through J. S. Adam’s land in 1859. As to “one way” – I’m really not at all sure where the library got that from. Quite mystifying.

Methuen Road

“Also Methuen Hamlet around 1915. Off New Windsor Road, Methuen Hamlet now part Methuen Road around 1916. Previously also Methven St.”

Methuen Hamlet (1903) is the name of the subdivision, through which the original part of Methuen Road (named after the subdivision, in turn named after Lord Methuen) was named. No “Methven Street.” There has never been a Methven Street in Avondale.

It would be nice if the Library's database included mention of Methuen Road being named after Lord Methuen, but they don't. Instead, they just mention Baden-Powell for Powell Street.

Rosebank Road

“Previously Browne St (to 22/9/1932) … The top end was known as Brown Street, but was altered to make one complete street.”

No, Rosebank Road got its name from the 1880s Rosebank Estate sale by Robert Chisholm. Browne Street (upper Rosebank Road) was indeed renamed in the 1930s.

St Georges Road

“Previously Georges Road. In 1937 … named 50 years before (1887). There were previously objections to renaming this street, it clashed with others.”

I can find no record of the street being just Georges Road. Before it was St Georges Road, it was Brickyard Lane, or Riversdale Road (before the one off Rosebank Road was dedicated, this one named after Buchanan’s tannery). In the 1930s, there was talk of renaming it Taylor Street, as for some reason it was thought to be a continuation of the latter.

Wingate Street

“previously Old Windsor Road (to 8/6/1939) … Possibly named after General Wingate.”

If the street was renamed after Orde Charles Wingate in 1939, this would have been just after he’d returned from Palestine, after he had been removed from command by his superiors after doubts were raised about his work with the Jewish Haganah volunteers. I’d say it was more likely that the street was named after another English place name as was a common practice in the 1930s by Auckland City Council, Wingate in County Durham.

When I get a bit of time, I'll take a look at the Auckland War Memorial Museum's site and their street names database as well.

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