Location: Market Place, Blenheim
In September 1889 the Blenheim Borough Council received a request from Mr Fred Hale, Secretary of the Garrison Band, to erect a band rotunda in Market Place in central Blenheim. The site where the Rotunda now stands was initially occupied by a well which fed the town’s hand-operated fire pumps. This well was later filled in and replaced by a fire hydrant that was fed through pipes from the nearby river.
In December 1889, the Council granted Mr Hale’s request and the concrete base of the Rotunda was poured on the site. A magnificent cast iron fire hydrant with five outlets was set in the centre of it. However, the Council was unhappy with the cost of the project and further development was stopped for three and a half years.
In 1902 the sudden death of a well-known Blenheim surgeon, Dr George Cleghorn (1850-1902) who served the town from 1876 to 1900, prompted a town meeting of 150 people to decide on the best way to commemorate the memory of the late doctor. It was decided that the completion of the band rotunda in Market Place would be a suitable memorial. A committee, headed by Mr G W McIntosh, was established to gather public donations towards its construction and to oversee its design.
The design was approved by the Blenheim Borough Council on 27 January 1903 and the ornate structure was finally completed in July 1903. Dr Cleghorn was noted for his understanding and kindness, and was famous for performing the first successful appendectomy in New Zealand.
- Penelope Laurenson, 'Cleghorn Rotunda', NZHPT Registration Report, 8 September 2004 (Record no. 1506)
- Nevil Matthews, 'A Short History of the Cleghorn Memorial in Blenheim's Market Place', Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies (Inc), vol.1, no.2, November 1982, accessed 18 March 2010