Stoke gets a history lesson from council

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Mayor Rachel Reese joked she may have been more appropriately dressed in a downey skirt and home knitted jumper when unveiling four new information panels in Stoke this morning.

The panels, located in Kane Lane next to Squires, each focus on one aspect of the suburbs history from the origins and planning of Stoke to it’s businesses and pastimes.

Rachel says, although she has no historical connection to the city, she loves learning about Nelson’s history.

“As we look around Stoke the heritage left by people is still here,” she says. “It’s quite magnificent when you think about all that change over a short amount of time.”

Initially the area was made up of streams and swamp land before roads were built and rocks were cleared to make way for the first community buildings and houses.

Rachel says visitors to the city really enjoy reading about heritage and looking at the photos, many of which have been obtained through the Nelson Provincial Museum archives.

“It’s the best photographic collection in New Zealand.”

Biographic information has also been included on iconic Stoke people such as William Songer, Thomas Marsden and Douglass Strawbridge.

Helen Stephen-Smith, Great Great Niece to William Songer says she believes the boards will help to keep a sense of community in the suburb.

“I suspect a lot of people don’t know about the history. If you know the history it helps hold the community together.”

Rachel says she is looking forward to what the future holds for Stoke with the Green Meadows facility developing.