I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.
Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights

zondag 27 februari 2011

Searching for the history of Mary Taylor, the friend of Charlotte Bronte, in Nw-Zealand.

Mary Taylor's shop Cuba Sts

I received this reaction on my last blog.
24 Corners wrote: This is so wonderful! I didn't know there was any information out there about Mary's shop. I love that it grew to be a long lasting establishment..she would have ben pleased. I'll have to try to find copies of both books, she was a fascinating woman and such a good friend to Charlotte...I wish their correspondance had survived.
xo J~

My answer to her:
First of all, I love your comments. It is so nice to realise that you, living so far away from me (you in de USA and me in Holland), can be a friend because of our love for the Brontes!

Yes, me too, I wished Mary had kept her letters. The sweet Ellen kept, rebellious, most of the letters. But the independent Mary, who wanted to create her own fate, burned all hers. What a pity....
I wished I could much more find out about the background. I am searching a lot on the internet. Maybe someone living in New Zealand is reading this and have information?

I found this information on internet
  • James Smiths Department Stores
Cnr Cuba & Manners Sts, Wellington, New Zealand 6001
p: 04 4736777
Website - None Supplied
Email - None Supplied

So, it still exist.
  • I found this website
http://www.james-smith.co.uk/. But it seems to be a departement (only?) in Londen
  • I suddenly thought I look bij Google's Images
  • And what did I see?
I don't believe my eyes. Do you think this is  the same place?

James Smith Building
Cnr of Manners and Cuba Sts
Known as James Smith's Corner and built in 1907 for James Smith, an early settler who had built up a prosperous drapery business. This former department store remained in the Smith family until 1993. The Art Deco facade was designed in 1932 by King and Dawson. Inside murals are by Ruffo and Steve Templer.


There are five buildings that make up the complex still popularly known as James Smith's. The main corner building was designed by architects Penty and Blake, and was constructed in 1907 for George Winder, an ironmonger and importer who had owned the land since 1898. James Smith purchased the site in 1921 and, in 1932, architects King and Dawson supervised a complete refurbishment of the building, including a new facade.

The heavy Edwardian character of the original building can still be guessed at in the arrangement of windows, particularly in the paired round-headed windows of the top (fourth) floor. Otherwise the style is now Art Deco, with emphatic vertical piers, stepped skyline, fluted frieze at parapet level, and typical 1930s lettering that runs vertically down the central column on the Cuba Street/Manners Street corner. This character follows through into the interior spaces.

James Smith's is a pivotal building in Cuba Street as a landmark on the important Manners Street intersection. It has a long association with the retail trade as one of Wellington's best known department stores for over 70 years (1921-1993)

Like Stewart Dawson's, it has given its name to a street corner that all Wellingtonians knew as a landmark (at least until a few years ago when the store closed). 
  •  and look what I found:
Early Wellington
Street Nomenclature and Place Names

Winder's Corner (now James Smith), 1904, corner of Cuba and Manners Streets, near the locality of a former residence of Mr. W. B. Rhodes. The Grand Opera House is on the extreme right.

Cuba Street, 1855, showing Mr. R. Miller's bakery, locality of Godber's, now Dustin's.

Cuba Street, 1900. The Royal Oak is on the extreme foreground to the left. The Nags Head (Alhambra) by the clock on the right. Te Aro House (with the tower) has been converted into the Burlington Arcade.

And I found more:

Wholesale and Retail Draper, Te Aro House, Cuba and Dixon Streets, Wellington. Branches: Hawera, Feilding, Palmerston North, Woodville, Norsewood, Waipukurau, Westport, Danevirke, Levin, and Greytown North. Telephone 220. Private residence, Wellington Terrace. London house, 9 Bush Lane, Cannon Street, E.C. Te Aro House was established in 1845 by a Miss Taylor, who soon disposed of it to the Misses Smith. Mr. Smith purchased Te Aro House—then a very small building in 1866.

From that time to the present there has been a succession of enlargements and improvements, culminating in one of the most prominent establishments in the City. The premises are freehold and built of brick, from plans by Mr. Thomas Turnbull, architect. The frontages, 105 feet to Cuba Street by 120 feet to Dixon Street, give in all 25,000 square feet of floorage. The carpet and other showrooms are really grand, and the tinting of the plastered walls is in excellent taste, and quite charming. From first to last Te Aro House is a credit to all concerned, and most decidedly an ornament to the City. Over one hundred hands are employed, including managers, clerks, cashiers, salesmen, saleswomen, tailors, dress-makers, milliners, upholsterers, packers, etc., etc.

Mr. James Smith was born near Edinburgh, and at the age of ten he began to earn his own living. As a business man he is attentive, obliging and kind, and socially he is popular. Mr. Smith began his business career at a drapery house in Meirose (Scotland), following up with experience in London, where for five years he was with Messrs. http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-Cyc01Cycl-t1-body-d4-d42-d1.html


6 opmerkingen:

  1. Geri, this is so wonderful! I am also very happy to have found another Bronte lover and friend! Your research is fabulous...if only Mary could see what she started, it seems that she didn't have her shop for very long but she was most definitely in the right location by the looks of what became of the area, what a smart woman she was.
    It was fun to look at the images from your links...I loved seeing the inside turn of the century department stores. I wonder what the inside of Mary's looked like. It's amazing what can be found on the internet now, maybe that will turn up one day too.
    You and this lovely blog do the Bronte's and their friends proud, thank you so much!!
    xo J~

  2. Yes, the inside turn of the departement stores is so great to see. Amazing what internet can do. I am so excited about it. And so nice to share it with you, I am really happy with this!And I hope it gives fun to other Bronte lovers as well.

  3. I'm sure many other Bronte lovers will, for many years, appreciate all the research you've done and the wonderful way you've compiled it all...I have to say that I think you have the best blog out there concerning the Bronte's...it's so well rounded, I couldn't ask for more.
    xo J~

  4. It's great finding information I've posted on my website to be useful to other people on the web. I had never heard of the Bronte sisters until I saw one of my Art Deco building photos from Wellington in New Zealand on your blog and discovered the rich literary legacy made my the Bronte family. Thank you for enlightening me and I hope others will benefit from the work you have invested into getting all this information onto the one page. Best regards, David

  5. Hi David,

    Thank you for your nice reaction.

    It's a little late that I react, but I saw your comment only now.

    Internet really is great, isn't?

    Regards from Geri

  6. HI Geri, I just tested the new link to the James Smith Corner post and found it did not work. The reason is you have a back slash at the end of the smartdecorprops URL. I have moved the post to blogspot.com so that it will be a bit more permanent. The new link is "http://artdecoheritage.blogspot.com/2009/08/james-smiths-market.html". Sorry for the bother but I figure working links are better than broken ones :-)


The Parlour

The Parlour



Charlotte Bronte

Presently the door opened, and in came a superannuated mastiff, followed by an old gentleman very like Miss Bronte, who shook hands with us, and then went to call his daughter. A long interval, during which we coaxed the old dog, and looked at a picture of Miss Bronte, by Richmond, the solitary ornament of the room, looking strangely out of place on the bare walls, and at the books on the little shelves, most of them evidently the gift of the authors since Miss Bronte's celebrity. Presently she came in, and welcomed us very kindly, and took me upstairs to take off my bonnet, and herself brought me water and towels. The uncarpeted stone stairs and floors, the old drawers propped on wood, were all scrupulously clean and neat. When we went into the parlour again, we began talking very comfortably, when the door opened and Mr. Bronte looked in; seeing his daughter there, I suppose he thought it was all right, and he retreated to his study on the opposite side of the passage; presently emerging again to bring W---- a country newspaper. This was his last appearance till we went. Miss Bronte spoke with the greatest warmth of Miss Martineau, and of the good she had gained from her. Well! we talked about various things; the character of the people, - about her solitude, etc., till she left the room to help about dinner, I suppose, for she did not return for an age. The old dog had vanished; a fat curly-haired dog honoured us with his company for some time, but finally manifested a wish to get out, so we were left alone. At last she returned, followed by the maid and dinner, which made us all more comfortable; and we had some very pleasant conversation, in the midst of which time passed quicker than we supposed, for at last W---- found that it was half-past three, and we had fourteen or fifteen miles before us. So we hurried off, having obtained from her a promise to pay us a visit in the spring... ------------------- "She cannot see well, and does little beside knitting. The way she weakened her eyesight was this: When she was sixteen or seventeen, she wanted much to draw; and she copied nimini-pimini copper-plate engravings out of annuals, ('stippling,' don't the artists call it?) every little point put in, till at the end of six months she had produced an exquisitely faithful copy of the engraving. She wanted to learn to express her ideas by drawing. After she had tried to draw stories, and not succeeded, she took the better mode of writing; but in so small a hand, that it is almost impossible to decipher what she wrote at this time.

I asked her whether she had ever taken opium, as the description given of its effects in Villette was so exactly like what I had experienced, - vivid and exaggerated presence of objects, of which the outlines were indistinct, or lost in golden mist, etc. She replied, that she had never, to her knowledge, taken a grain of it in any shape, but that she had followed the process she always adopted when she had to describe anything which had not fallen within her own experience; she had thought intently on it for many and many a night before falling to sleep, - wondering what it was like, or how it would be, - till at length, sometimes after the progress of her story had been arrested at this one point for weeks, she wakened up in the morning with all clear before her, as if she had in reality gone through the experience, and then could describe it, word for word, as it had happened. I cannot account for this psychologically; I only am sure that it was so, because she said it. ----------------------She thought much of her duty, and had loftier and clearer notions of it than most people, and held fast to them with more success. It was done, it seems to me, with much more difficulty than people have of stronger nerves, and better fortunes. All her life was but labour and pain; and she never threw down the burden for the sake of present pleasure. I don't know what use you can make of all I have said. I have written it with the strong desire to obtain appreciation for her. Yet, what does it matter? She herself appealed to the world's judgement for her use of some of the faculties she had, - not the best, - but still the only ones she could turn to strangers' benefit. They heartily, greedily enjoyed the fruits of her labours, and then found out she was much to be blamed for possessing such faculties. Why ask for a judgement on her from such a world?" elizabeth gaskell/charlotte bronte

Poem: No coward soul is mine

No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the worlds storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heavens glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.

O God within my breast.
Almighty, ever-present Deity!
Life -- that in me has rest,
As I -- Undying Life -- have power in Thee!

Vain are the thousand creeds
That move mens hearts: unutterably vain;
Worthless as withered weeds,
Or idlest froth amid the boundless main,

To waken doubt in one
Holding so fast by Thine infinity;
So surely anchored on
The steadfast Rock of immortality.

With wide-embracing love
Thy Spirit animates eternal years,
Pervades and broods above,
Changes, sustains, dissolves, creates, and rears.

Though earth and man were gone,
And suns and universes ceased to be,
And Thou wert left alone,
Every existence would exist in Thee.

There is not room for Death,
Nor atom that his might could render void:
Thou -- Thou art Being and Breath,
And what Thou art may never be destroyed.

Emily Bronte

Family tree

The Bronte Family

Grandparents - paternal
Hugh Brunty was born 1755 and died circa 1808. He married Eleanor McClory, known as Alice in 1776.

Grandparents - maternal
Thomas Branwell (born 1746 died 5th April 1808) was married in 1768 to Anne Carne (baptised 27th April 1744 and died 19th December 1809).

Father was Patrick Bronte, the eldest of 10 children born to Hugh Brunty and Eleanor (Alice) McClory. He was born 17th March 1777 and died on 7th June 1861. Mother was Maria Branwell, who was born on 15th April 1783 and died on 15th September 1821.

Maria had a sister, Elizabeth who was known as Aunt Branwell. She was born in 1776 and died on 29th October 1842.

Patrick Bronte married Maria Branwell on 29th December 1812.

The Bronte Children
Patrick and Maria Bronte had six children.
The first child was Maria, who was born in 1814 and died on 6th June 1825.
The second daughter, Elizabeth was born on 8th February 1815 and died shortly after Maria on 15th June 1825. Charlotte was the third daughter, born on 21st April 1816.

Charlotte married Arthur Bell Nicholls (born 1818) on 29th June 1854. Charlotte died on 31st March 1855. Arthur lived until 2nd December 1906.

The first and only son born to Patrick and Maria was Patrick Branwell, who was born on 26th June 1817 and died on 24th September 1848.

Emily Jane, the fourth daughter was born on 30th July 1818 and died on 19th December 1848.

The sixth and last child was Anne, born on 17th January 1820 who died on 28th May 1849.

Top Withens in the snow.

Top Withens in the snow.



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