Blenheim mayor from December 1897 to January 1899 after being elected without any experience as a councillor, Edward Purser vowed to name “the major portion of the streets” and affix iron plates.
Mr Purser was a brewer who operated Pheonix Brewery, and a draper who opened a grocery business, His opponent in the mayoral race was Thomas Horton, who had been mayor for four years and dragged the council out of financial debt.
Mr Purser won by four votes. He planned to conserve the Taylor River, which was a popular topic at the time, support the fire brigade more generously, submit a scheme for a water tower and use the overflow for a fountain and drinking troughs at the rotunda in the square.
He also vowed to name “the major portion of the streets” and affix iron plates.
“And it was his intention to offer to supply the plates and writing at his own expense if the Council would pay the cost of erecting them”, The Marlborough Express reported of Mr Purser’s mayoral installation on December 16, 1897.
Mr Purser kept his word and when he retired from the mayoral chair, he was thanked by his council for his gift of installing the signs.
After his mayoralty, Mr Purser moved to Whanganui where he established a furniture making business. He died in 1917.