Trafalgar Street Historic Area

Trafalgar Street, Nelson

  • Trafalgar Street Historic Area.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.
  • Plan of Historic Area from registration report..
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Date: 3/03/1995.
  • .
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Area Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 7048 Date Entered 3rd March 1995

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

The area comprises the land, and the structures and objects on it, on either side of Trafalgar Street including numbers 276-300 on the west and 281-295 on the east. It also includes 315 and 324 Trafalgar Square. At the south end of the area are the Church Steps and Christ Church Cathedral on Church Hill, Cathedral Square.

City/District Council

Nelson City

Region

Nelson Region

Summaryopen/close

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Nelson was the second New Zealand Company settlement following the successful settlement at Wellington. It was named after England's Admiral Lord Nelson (1758-1805). Nelson was established by Captain Arthur Wakefield (1799-1843) in 1841 landing at Wakatu (Nelson Haven) in early November of that year.

Wakefield pitched his tent on what became known as Church Hill. Before the arrival of Europeans Church Hill had been known as Pikimai and was the site of a pa. From its summit Captain Wakefield erected a pole which was used as a marker in the surveying of Nelson. From here the two main thoroughfares, Trafalgar and Nile Streets, were laid out. The New Zealand Company's buildings including storerooms and barracks were erected on Church Hill and following the Wairau Massacre in 1843, in which Captain Wakefield was killed, the site was fortified and named Fort Arthur.

In 1848 Bishop Selwyn acquired one acre of land on Church Hill from the New Zealand Company and the fortifications were removed. The first ecclesiastical building, Christ Church, was erected in 1851. From the Church Steps, Trafalgar Street runs almost due north. Trafalgar Street has remained one of Nelson's main commercial thoroughfares since the days of the New Zealand Company. The New Zealand Company went bankrupt in 1844. The town's fortunes improved following the discovery of gold at Collingwood in 1857 and in the 1860s there were developments in agriculture. By the 1880s many orchards had been established, forming a commercial base of primary industry on which Nelson continues to rely today.

The wide range in heritage buildings on Trafalgar Street, between Hardy Street and Trafalgar Square are testimony to its importance in Victorian and Edwardian times.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Church Hill has historical significance as the site of a Maori pa, Pikimai, and of the New Zealand Company buildings before becoming church property in 1848. The south end of Trafalgar Street also has historical significance as it has been the centre of local government since the establishment of the Nelson City Council in 1874. The area has further historical significance at a commercial level in that it has been home to many prominent local businesses.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

AESTHETIC VALUE:

The commercial buildings at the southern end of Trafalgar Street vary in age and style but are consistent in scale, framing the view south towards the Church Steps and Christ Church Cathedral. The matured garden setting of Christ Church Cathedral forms an attractive green space near Nelson's central business district.

ARCHITECTURAL VALUE:

At the southern end of Trafalgar Street, from 276-300, there is a notable concentration of Victorian and Edwardian commercial buildings. The Church Steps are a major focal point within Nelson and provide a visual link between the Cathedral, on Church Hill, and the city's commercial area.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. This report includes text from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

CULTURAL/SOCIAL VALUE:

The Trafalgar Street area has been the commercial centre of Nelson for over a century. The Church Steps have been the site of many public gatherings including a welcome home to soldiers from World War I, Nelson centennial celebrations in 1942, visits by the Royal Family and public protests and meetings.

CONCLUSION:

The buildings that form Nelson's commercial centre at the southern end of Trafalgar Street vary in age and style but are consistent in scale and together form a distinctive urban townscape. The Church Hill site and Trafalgar Street's links to Wakefield and the early settlement of Nelson also have considerable historic significance.

Linksopen/close

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Information Sources

Alexander Turnbull Library

Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington

Photographs: i. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, ii. Nelson Provincial Museum, Nelson, iii. Pamphlet, Nelson : The City of Sunshine, 'Trafalgar Street from the Cathedral Steps', n.d.

Wises Post Office Directories

Wises Post Office Directories

1900-1947

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)

Land Information New Zealand

Certificates of Title: 13/156, 13/157, 22/184, 28/283, 29/209, 37/202, 53/36, 57/181, 64/34, 64/35, 1C/251, 3A/1308, 4C/851

Nelson Evening Mail

Nelson Evening Mail

20 August 1957

Newport, 1966

J N W Newport, A short history of the Nelson Province, RW Stiles ad Co Ltd, Nelson, 1966

Scholefield, 1940

G. H. Scholefield, A Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Department of Internal Affairs, Wellington, 1940

Stacpoole, 1976

John Stacpoole, Colonial Architecture in New Zealand, Wellington, 1976

Colonist

The Colonist

26 July 1889

17 January 1903

2 February 1903

Stone's Post Office Directory

Stone's Canterbury, Nelson, Marlborough and Westland Post Office Directory, Christchurch.

1899

Nelson Guide Book & Directory

Nelson Guide Book and Directory

1887

Bell, 1978

C W Bell, Unfinished Business, The Second Fifty Years of the Nelson City Council, Nelson City Council, Nelson, 1978

Graham, 1974

R H A Graham, 100 Years, The Nelson Club Incorporated, 1874-1974, Nelson, 1974

Wises New Zealand Guide, 1987

Wises New Zealand Guide, A Gazetteer of New Zealand, 8th ed, Wises Publication Ltd, Auckland, 1987

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Central Region Office

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.

Historic Area Place Name

Christ Church Cathedral
Church Steps
Dalgety and Company Limited Building (Former)
Development House (Former Staig & Smith)
Glasgow Building (Former)
Nelson Club
Nelson Women's Club Building
Plunket and Rest Rooms
Pomeroy's Coffee House
Smythe Building