Topic: Seddon Street (TDN 23/06/2018)

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Seddon Street 

When this short road in Westown was first surveyed in January 1908 the name chosen for it was MacLean. On the same survey map, nearby Massey St also had a different name: Watson.

However, by the time the first houses were built some 10 years later, the names of two New Zealand politicians had replaced the original choices. As New Plymouth already had a McLean St in Strandon perhaps it was decided that two such similar names would be too confusing?

English-born Richard John Seddon made a name for himself on the west coast of the South Island as a miner and publican. He turned to politics and was elected Mayor of Kumara in 1877. Two years later he became the Member of Parliament for Hokitika.

When the Liberal leader and Premier, John Ballance, died suddenly in 1893, some clever manoeuvring by Seddon enabled him to assume the leadership of the party and the country.

Seddon died suddenly in 1906 on board the passenger ship the Oswestry Grange while returning from a trip to Australia. He had been the leader of the country for 13 years, a record that still stands.

The Seddon family has a little-known connection with New Plymouth. In 1903 a prospectus was issued by the Minister of Lands for the sale of sections for 'Workmen's Homes' and blocks for small dairy farms in the new Spotswood Settlement.

Louisa Jane Spotswood, the daughter of Captain John Stewart Spotswood, of Victoria, Australia, married Richard Seddon in 1869. The settlement, now a large New Plymouth suburb, was named as a tribute to the family of the premier's wife.

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