Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Street Stories 8: A street with a bit of a kink

Burnley Terrace is in the old Mt Albert Borough area from Sandringham Road, and Mt Eden Borough from Dominion Road. The border between the two boroughs is smack dab in the middle, based on the old survey lines between the farms along both main roads. Burnley Terrace is also quite obviously kinked.

There are other streets in Auckland with kinks for various reasons, but this one is because two separate landowners (Henry Hirst in Mt Eden 1887, Thomas Runciman in Mt Albert 1886) did two separate surveys and subdivisions, along with two separate road dedications., and didn't match up the line of road. Both ends were dedicated before either Mt Albert or Mt Eden had left their early Road Board status, and so probably couldn't do much about it. Henry Hirst, of Mt Eden by the way, was the father of Samuel Luther Hirst of Gribblehirst Park fame.

Surely, though -- seeing as the subdivisions were within a year of each other, even the surveyors would have alerted their clients to the possibility that the through-road they were each including to service the new sections didn't exactly match what was going on just across the way.

Do a virtual trip down Burnley Terace using Google's street view, and you'll see what I mean.

Update, 17 March 2013: Apparently, Henry Hirst had a large vineyard on his land which became the eastern part of Burnley Terrace, off Dominion Road.

As our small community is increasing in number and wealth, the culture of the grapevine is being extended. There are several places in the neighbourhood of Auckland where grapes are grown for table purposes under glass to a considerable extent. The other day we visited the vineries of Mr Hirst, Mount Roskill Road. For several years Mr Hirst has devoted a good deal of attention to grape culture, and fair success has attended his efforts. The vineries are situated in a small hollow, some distance off the line of road on the western side, and though Mr Hirst's residence is visible from the road, only a part of the top of one of the glass houses can be noticed from the same place. They are situated in a small sheltered hollow among the scoria land, and the vines apparently delight to send their roots down among the underground stonework of that region. Had the vineries not been so favourably situated in respect to underground drainage no doubt Mr Hirst would have been compelled to adopt more elaborate means than he has to prevent an undue state of moisture in his glass houses. The structures are very simple in character, but under their protection, and in the porous soil on which they grow the grapes are attaining a degree of perfection and vigour far exceeding that we have seen at places where much more care was taken, and when a vastly heavier expenditure was incurred.

It is evident that when grown on very porous soil, such as is found in so many places in the neighbourhood of Auckland, the warmth and evenness of our climate are such that the grape vine needs little protection or forcing to bring it to the highest state of perfection. Mr Hirst's vinery consists of four separate houses, one upwards of 50 feet long, two each 84 feet long, and one 24 feet long. In width they generally range from 14 to 16 feet. The roofs are not high, so that the vines do not require long rods to reach the summit. Three of the houses are fitted with appliances for artificially heating. This is generally done only during the night time, and throughout the day the fires are allowed to go out. Though this early in the season, the grapes in all the houses are not only set, but generally about half their full size. Only one of the houses has been heated, and in it some of the branches are beginning to colour. The others will supply fruit at a later period in the season.

The variety of grape grown is chiefly the black Hamburg. There are a few of the muscat of Alexandra, a few golden champions, and a sprinkling of mill hill Hamburg, but, like others, Mr Hirst has found by experience that the black Hamburg is a grape that surpasses all the others for a sure general crop of excellent quality. Mr Hirst prunes his vines on the spur system, and allows only one branch to hang from each shoot. The bunches are of good average size, with here and there some with indications that they could have been made into very large bunches if the grower so willed it. The vines are all planted inside the house, but not in prepared borders, and are not at equal distances from each other. The large blocks of rocks in many instances prevent this being done, but where large spaces exist he has allowed his vines to carry two rods from near the surface of the soil. The vines in all the houses show a remarkably even distribution of fruit, and the lower bunches appear to be swelling as rapidly and satisfactorily as those growing higher up. In stiffer soils the degree of moisture in the atmosphere of the vine houses could scarcely fail to develop various forms of fungoid disease, but here, in the open land thoroughly drained by nature, the effects of the heaviest rain disappear at once. This kind of soil the vines evidently delight in, and it is a long time since we have seen healthier looking or more abundant fruiting vines.

Judging by the manner in which the vines are planted, we think Mr Hirst will have about 190 bearing vines, from which he expects to harvest this year over two tons of marketable grapes. Last season he cut his first bunch on the 1st December, but this year he will be at least a fortnight late. To amateurs, an examination of Mr Hirst's vineries cannot fail to be a source of real pleasure, for the sides of each house are covered with a solid mass of fruit. He has constructed a large reservoir in the immediate neighbourhood of the vineries, from which an abundant supply of water can always be obtained, should the dryness of the weather reader watering necessary. This season, however, the natural moisture has prevented the necessity of applying to the reserve store at hand.
NZH 27 November 1883

Hirst won second prize for his black graps at the Horticultural Exhibition in March 1881, (NZH 28 March) but 1883 appears to have been his last hurrah. By 1887, his land was subdivided, and became the eastern part of Burnley Terrace.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome to have this information - thanks!