Topic: Bronte Place (TDN 18/01/2020)

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Bronte Place 

The subdivision application that resulted in Bronte Place, St Ives Grove and Tiverton Crescent in Whalers Gate was submitted by D.S. Garrett in 1973 and the three street names chosen were from a set of preapproved options drawn up by the old Taranaki County Council.

This list included more than 50 streets taken directly from the city of Plymouth, paying tribute to the area of England from which so many of New Plymouth’s early settlers hailed.

Bronte Place in Whalers Gate was named after Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855), who wrote the classic novel Jane Eyre, but it was also named for Bronte Place in Plymouth. The author has been a popular inspiration for street names around the world – there are six other Bronte Places in Britain alone and at least four streets named after her here in New Zealand. She also had a connection to the colony in the form of correspondence with her friend Mary Taylor, who immigrated to Wellington in 1845.

Bronte comes from the Gaelic word “bronnadh”, meaning gift or award, but it wasn’t actually the family’s original surname. Charlotte’s father Patrick, an Irish Anglican clergyman, was born a Brunty but he apparently changed it after one of Admiral Horatio Nelson’s titles, Duke of Bronte. Another theory is that he based his new surname on the classical Greek word for thunder.

Charlotte Bronte penned Jane Eyre under the male pseudonym Currer Bell but speculation about the identity and gender of the mysterious author reached the point where she had to confess the truth to her publishers. The novel was a best-seller – even Queen Victoria was a fan – and she wrote three more, as well as hundreds of poems.

Less than five feet tall and with a strong Irish accent, Charlotte outlived all five of her siblings but died herself at the age of just 38, after being married less than a year and while pregnant with her first child.

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Bronte Place (TDN 18/01/2020)

City:New Plymouth