Is it Francis Street or Frances Street?
In a letter to the Marlborough Express editor, F N Dillon of Leefield writes that Frances Street was named after the daughter of Mr Alfred Fell, one of Blenheim’s early landowners who arranged the survey of Marlborough to settle the land.
Another letter claims Francis Street was named after Sir Francis Dillon Bell, a politician who died in 1898 and whose son was the first New Zealand-born prime minister in 1925. The letter, signed “Citizen”, blamed “a clerical error of the late Mr Carey in compiling the present map from the originals of the late Messrs Fell and Dobson”.
When the street’s name was changed resolutely to Francis, the following letter to the editor appeared in The Marlborough Express, dated June 9, 1898:
The naming of the streets
To the Editor, Sir, I wish to draw your attention to a very ungallant action of our present Mayor, and I am sure you will agree with me that our late Mayor, Mr Horton, would never have attempted to put such a slight upon the lady members of our community You must know, Mr Editor, that the male sex, with that selfishness that I am sorry to say is inherent in a great many of them, have called the streets of Blenheim almost exclusively after themselves Well, I don't complain of that. Let them have John Street and Alfred Street and Charles Street and Arthur Street and George Street and Andrew Street and Henry Street and a great many other streets but why should the Mayor go and change the name of my particular street to Francis St. If he does not change it back again to its original name before the next meeting of the Borough Council, I will organise a deputation of the ladies of Blenheim, and if we don’t make it hot for him, my name is not,