Cloten Road.jpg Cloten Road sign (2022). Mike Gooch. Word on the street image collection.

For well over a century the residents of Cloten Road were unaware that their street name was spelt incorrectly. In 1996 former mayor Leo Carrington alerted the Stratford District Council to the mistake.

Cloton Road (as it was first known) appears on early maps of the Stratford settlement. On 31 August 1878 sections in the new township where put up for auction and it was reported that the first section sold was number 43, on the corner of Cordelia Street and Cloton Road.

From this date onward plans and street signs spelt the road ‘Cloton’. As readers will know, almost all the street names in Stratford are taken from the works of Shakespeare. In this case it’s a character from the play Cymbeline. Cloten is described in one study guide as the “overgrown dullard stepson of King Cymbeline” and spelt with an ‘e’ instead of a second ‘o’, something that had escaped the notice of Stratford residents.

Fortunately, in 1996 the Stratford District Council had already planned to spend $50,000 to replace 250 old street signs (Daily News 25 November 1995) which did not meet Land Transport Safety Guidelines. As Leo Carrington pointed out (Daily News 14 February 1996), the upgrade would be the perfect time to rename the area Cloten Road.

The east side of Cloten Road as it nears Juliet Street was dedicated as a Municipal Reserve on early maps. It was eventually developed into Windsor Park and, more recently, the Thomson Arboretum.  

In 1934, led by well-known local Dr Doris Gordon, the Windsor Park Society was formed to beautify an area previously overgrown with weeds and blackberry. The name was chosen for its Shakespearian connection with the play The Merry Wives of Windsor as well as celebrating the royal castle at Windsor. When public interest in maintaining the area waned in later years the local council took over management of the park.

The Thomson Arboretum is a legacy of Percy Thomson’s generous bequest to the town after his death in 1962. Along with the Percy Thomson Gallery and the Thomson Herbarium, the arboretum is administered by a trust. Planting began in 2001 and has continued over succeeding years, along with more general beautification of the site. 

This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.

Related plans:

DP1527 ICS Pre 300,000 Cadastral Plan Index (Imaged by LINZ)

DP1543 ICS Pre 300,000 Cadastral Plan Index (Imaged by LINZ)

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