The First Hundred - 1953


Last Modified: 18-3-2023 13:13

Mayor: Mr H. J. S. Mitchell

Councillors: Messrs R. Agnew, C. C. Bythell, W. C. Davies, C. C. Dix, T. H. Gleeson, A. H. R. Houlston, H. G. Patchett, H. A. J. Sowman, A. W. Taylor, F. Paulding, S. P. Harling, R. W. Kibble­white, G. E. Marshall, H. E. McKinley, A. B. N. Roy, G. T. H. Cawte.


Times are reported as being good, with plenty of money about. The Blenheim shops report a record Christmas turnover.

17: Blenheim tops the New Zealand "sunshine stakes" for the fifth successive time with 2388 hours of sunshine (1948, 2577 hours; 1949, 2616 hours; 1950, 2598 hours; 1951, 2526 hours).


Ten children are in Wairau Hospital with poliomyelitis.

25: R. W. Gill & Sons, Marlborough Transport, and J. A. Robinson Ltd cart spoil to fill the river loop in Alfred Street. The Council paid £2000 as its share of the project to the Wairau River Board.

"The back-biting and bickering of this Council would make any­body sick ... the citizens are fed up with it, and the ten of us are a laughing stock," stated a Borough councillor.


Mrs C. Borck, Budge Street, wins the A and B sections of the annual garden competition.

The Marlborough Electric Power Board charges 1 3/4d per unit for domestic lighting, cooking and heating.


8: The old reading room in Alfred Street (formerly the Fire Station) and the swing bridge leading to the R.S.A. clubhouse are demolished.

152Mr E. R. Norgrove completes 53 years' service with the Blenheim Fire Brigade.

Many Air Force families, unable to find accommodation in Blenheim, live in caravans in Jackson's Crossroad, near Woodbourne.


The filling of the Omaka River loop is completed. At the peak of the operation 2000 tons of spoil were carted daily.

Mr P. Burgoyne resigns as Borough engineer. Mr C. D. Peat appointed.

25: Primer pupils start classes in the new Whitney Street School. Mr J. D. Finney is appointed temporary headmaster.

25: The old band rotunda in Seymour Square is demolished to make room for the new coloured war memorial fountain.


2: Blenheim celebrates Queen Elizabeth's Coronation. There were church services and a military review. Some 2000 people watched a procession of colourful floats from town to Pollard Park where a carnival was staged. The same day Express readers learnt that Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tensing, had reached the summit of Mt. Everest.


15: The liquor licence of the Empire Hotel, which was burnt down on June 18, 1949, is transferred from Mr A. McGuire to the City Hotel (Mrs D. L. Chapman).

23: It is debatable whether septic tanks should have been per­mitted in the Springlands-Farnham area because of poor drain­age, said the Borough health inspector, Mr F. Jenner.

30: The paua shell ornament factory of G. D. Beatson Ltd in Ward Street, Springlands, is completely destroyed by fire.


6: A Marlborough College old boy, Mr A. J. Sheat of Auckland, urges that the historic immigrant sailing ship, the Edwin Fox, lying in Picton Harbour, be restored. (Great efforts were made in 1965-67 by the Edwin Fox Restoration Society, with Mr N. H. Brayshaw as president, but there was no agreement on a suit­able site and the hulk was towed to Shakespeare Bay in 1967.)

The Marlborough County Council gives the Borough Council one month to restore the Burleigh rubbish dump to a condition satis­factory to the health inspector, or have it closed.

Messrs M. W. Wisheart, W. J. Hayward and F. G. Paterson, of Blenheim Jaycee, address the Council regarding a scheme to re­move the Rotunda from Market Place and replace it with garden plots. There was a spirited argument over the issue, and no action was taken.


The Council buys the Marlborough Lawn Tennis Association's courts in Kinross Street for £1600 for the future site of a swim­ming bath.

After one and a half hours' heated discussion, the Council de­cided to leave the taxi stand where it was, next to the Rotunda in Market Place.


Mr E. P. Meachen is elected Mayor.

12: A Marlborough Brevet Club is formed with Mr J. R. Naysmith as first president.


Mr R. V. Oliver operates the first two-way radio telephone in a taxi in Blenheim.

23: The Blenheim and District World War II Memorial, the coloured fountain, is unveiled in Seymour Square by Mr K. W. Fraser, vice-president of the N.Z.R.S.A. It was designed by Mr E. I. Hubbard. Turnbull & Jones, water effects and illum­ination; T. H. Barnes & Co., construction; Adam Gibson & Son, plumbing; Tomlinson & Gifford, electrics; Concrete & Terrazzo Products Ltd, paving; F. E. Musgrove Ltd, metal work; Cement Enamel N.Z. Ltd, colour finish.

Rates produce £55,164; building permits £320,805; valuation, capital £6,554,505, unimproved £1,423,085.

Cite this page

Beverley, A. (2023). The First Hundred - 1953. Retrieved February, 28, 2024, from