Constable St's varied history

KELLI HOOKS
Last updated 09:21 21/09/2012

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The Wellingtonian

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Newtown was one of Wellington's first outlying suburbs and is rich with history.

Constable St runs off Riddiford St and is a main link from Newtown to Kilbirnie.

The street was named after John Constable, a London merchant and a principal of the New Zealand Commercial Company.

Constable St is home to Newtown Library. It opened in Riddiford St in 1902 and moved to Constable St in 1957.

It was the first branch library in New Zealand and the first to be organised under the Dewey Decimal Classification system.

Constable St is also home to a housing complex, Te Ara Hou flats, which was built in 1975. The flats were the first council rental housing to be upgraded by the Government and Wellington City Council.

Between 1878 and 1964, public transport in Wellington was dominated by the tram.

In 1914 the council decided to extend the tramline to Constable St to minimise congestion in the Hataitai tunnel and to relieve the city's south-eastern traffic.

A celebration was held two years later to commemorate the Constable St Tramway connection.

The cost for the extension was 25,928 pounds ($3.4 million today).

In 1918 the council accepted money from construction company Trevor Bros Ltd to build a new fire station at the top of Constable and Crawford streets.

The construction of the station was the largest work of its kind undertaken by the council during that period.

The fire station was opened in 1920 and closed in about 1975.

Constable St is also home to Wellington South Salvation Army hall, with newspaper stories dating back to 1923 mentioning community events there.

Each March, part of Constable St is closed to traffic for the Newtown Festival, which has been running since 1997 and has become ever more popular.

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- The Wellingtonian

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