Jessie Bray Sharpin at one of the sites of her 'Hidden Histories' walking tour at South St. The photo Jessie is holding is George Hooper, Builder, Nile St West. It's from the Nelson Provincial Museum's Tyree Studio Collection: 57251. Photo: Kate Russell.

Tours reveal our history


A young Nelson woman with a passion for history is teaching locals a thing or two about the central city’s past with her increasingly-popular walking tours.

Jessie Bray Sharpin, who is a Collections Technician at Nelson Provincial Museum, runs her ‘Hidden Histories’ walking tours every Thursday evening as a way to raise money for a workshop that she’s been selected for in the UK this July – the Open Palace Programme.

She will be part of a select group of 25 who will travel around different heritage buildings in England, learning from the professionals who work at these places.

Her tours have been the talk of the town, with locals and visitors alike discovering the fascinating hidden histories of people and places in the city’s past.

So far, she has covered the Cathedral area, including the Symon’s Memorial gas lamp and fountain, Hallowell Cemetery, Fifeshire House and South Street – all which she has illustrated with photos from the Nelson Provincial Museum’s collection.

In her new tour, starting next week, Jessie will take people around the grounds of Fairfield House, Melrose House and Nelson College for Girls, sharing the tales of some very interesting early Nelsonians associated with these spots.

She says that it’s mainly locals taking the tours – but that is what she likes about it.

“There are so many weird and surprising pieces of history from Nelson’s past that are sitting right in the middle of our town, and it might be about a spot or building that you walk past every day – you’re guaranteed to find out something from Nelson’s past that you didn’t know,” she says.

“Interesting characters and strange stories of early Nelson are hidden in plain sight.”
Hidden Histories – Nelson Walking Tours will be held every Thursday at 6pm until further notice, and run for just over an hour with groups of up to 15 people.

Tickets are $10 and can be booked at [email protected].

Tickets and vouchers are also available at Volume book store on Church St.