Friday, August 11, 2006

Nelson Cathedral


At the top of Trafalgar Street is Nelson Cathedral (Anglican). And the Cathedral Steps are as important as the cathedral itself: protests, celebrations, lunches/dates, and caroling take place here, and marches often start or finish here.

Many moons ago, a town planner in England drew a plan for Nelson, New Zealand. He envisioned a city built around a grand cathedral with Trafalgar Street streching towards the sea to the north, and towards ... whatever to the south. Immigrants thanked the man (it would have been a man, wouldn't it?), boarded a ship, arrived here, and started to build the city according to plan. Except Nelson is hilly. So the Cathedral looks grand atop a hill, and the steps are convenient, but that was the end of the plan. If you look at this map, you can still see the plan, but Trafalgar Street South is a quiet residential area in a mild incline.

I will look for names and dates to substantiate this story, but it is one of the first every new arrival is told.


More on the "Symonds Gas Lamp".

10 comments:

  1. hey, I love those street lamps!

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  2. I thought you were away somewhere, Santy; perhaps you still are. I found the lamp listed in the Nelson Public Art & Sculpture Walks map, so here is the entry: The Symonds Gas Lamp (the big one) is a replica of the original, which was erected in 1880 at the intersection of Hardy and Trafalgar Streets as a memorial to John Symonds, a leading local merchant. In July 1906, a council workman detected a gas leak and lit a match to investigate. The resulting explosion demolished the lamp and killed the workman. The replica was a Nelson 150th celebration project, erected in 1992, based on enlarged photographs of the original.

    I enjoy getting to know Nelson better via DP. I knew it was a replica, but didn't know the original blew up!

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  3. I really like the street lamps too, and the history is so interesting.

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  4. Cristina, we came to New Zealand and Nelson for a holiday in July 1992, and the Symonds Lamp was here, so it must have been brand new then... I don't remember if the single ones were there, though.

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  5. One of my favourite shops is close to where you took this photo. It is up the steps on the left. I have a much admired handbag from there. Don't remember its' name.

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  6. Bedelia's Chic Bazaar; that IS a fun shop.

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  7. Hello yourself. I liked your observations on your bank.

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  8. Nice photo and thanks for the narration. BTW, is Nelson close to Auckland?

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  9. 90 minutes, Tanty, if you get a direct flight. You could stop by at Wellington, but that extends the travel about 3 hours, I think.

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