Topic: Davidson Street (TDN 11/10/2014)

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Davidson Street 

Davidson St is a short road connecting Gill St with Molesworth St. It appeared on the first detailed map of New Plymouth drawn by Frederic Carrington in 1842. Unlike most roads in this early survey, it was unnamed, and stayed this way until it was formed some 40 or so years later.

It was named after Alexander Davidson who operated a business in Gill St, presumably in the vicinity of the newly constructed road. Davidson was born in Scotland and arrived in New Plymouth in 1866. He worked for the Lighter Company which unloaded and transported passengers and goods from ship to shore. This was a lucrative and essential enterprise; however, once the port was developed, the service was no longer needed.

Fortunately for Davidson, he had already established his own business. He set himself up as a general carrier as well as operating a coal and firewood yard in Gill St. However, the lure of home proved too strong, and he sold up and returned to Scotland. Perhaps, as sometimes happens, memories of home were rosier than the reality.

Davidson, and his wife Mary, were soon back in New Plymouth. This time he opened a general store, in town to begin with, and then in South Rd, Moturoa. It was here at the "Little Wonder Store" that he died on March 2, 1922, aged 81. A well- respected businessman, his obituary described him as a, "man of sterling character, straight as a die and his word was his bond".

The road named after him back in town was once lined with private homes. These residential properties have long since gone, replaced by the commercial buildings we see today.

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