Friday, April 22, 2011

Pat Nidd - Early memories

William Thomas "Pat" Nidd writes about his early life:

I was born on 17 February 1914 at ... My father,  William Michael, was the licensee of the Te Aro Hotel on the corner of  Willis Street and Dixon Street, Wellington.  My mother was Mary (nee Latto) born in Christchurch and lived in Wellington.

Father was a widower.  His first wife Mary nee Griffin, having died in 1907 leaving him with a daughter, Cecilia Florence.  Prior to having the Te Aro Hotel he was the licensee of the Wellington Hotel, Molesworth Street, Wellington.  

In the 1960s I used to drink in the Te Aro and I met several old drinkers who remembered my father in the Te Aro Hotel.  My mother worked in the Te Aro previous to my father taking it over. 

Father and mother went to Christchurch in 1915 where my father was the licensee of the Star Hotel, Lincoln Road in Addington.  I can recall the Star Hotel from about 1919.  Behind the hotel was a large paddock with a stable, which backed onto the railway line by the Addington Railway Station. I used to spend a lot of time watching the trains - Addington was a very busy Railway Station in those days.

In 1919 I started school at the Addington  Convent.  I was there for only a couple of days because I did not settle in with the Nuns.

Then I went to a private school in Meredith Street conducted by a Miss Duggan * and there were about six pupils.  I can recall Pat Gibson, Walter Sargeson, Violet Foster and Tom Joseph.  I do not know how the school was established.  It may have been that Miss Duggan was home because of a tram accident.

I can recall soldiers returning from the 1st WW - the "front" - which I understand was Belgium.  I was intrigued by a soldier known as "Scotty" who had lost a leg below the knee and was on crutches and had the lower portion of his lower leg pinned off.  I couldn't make this out.

I was pretty well known to most of the shopkeepers along Lincoln Road.

The Influenza epidemic was never in my memory.  (Hard to transcribe - talks about people dying and others collapsing - talks about ways they tried to ward off the flu). I remember being in one such tram outside the Star Hotel . I have read in later years that the --- was not effective but a boost to morale. 

The Prince of Wales visited NZ  ** and there was much interest in Addington because there was a reception they held at the Met Trolley Club.  People flocked to the crossing at Lincoln Road with the crossing people with his green and red flag ensuring that the Prince's car could proceed. 

 About this time there was excitement one evening when a plane, lighted up, flew over the city and Addington.  People came out onto the streets to view it. 

He also notes that he recalls the No 7 Tram - at the Lincoln Street end and  going to Race Meetings with father - at places including Amberley, Rangiora...

* A Miss Eileen Duggan is recorded as being a teacher around the time Pat started school.  The Marlborough Express recorded on 14 March 1918:

Miss Eileen M.  Duggan, of Tua Marina, has received cabled advice that she has been successful in passing her M.A. degree with first calls honors.  Miss Duggan, who is at present on the teaching staff of the Dannevirke High School, has qualified also this year for the Teaching A Certificate.

However, it is possible that it was a Miss Dugan, not Duggan.

** This visit took place between 24 April and 22 May 1920, during which time the Prince visited Christchurch.  He was also accompanied by his cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten.

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