Henwood_006.jpg Henwood Road sign (undated). Mike Gooch. Word on the Street image collection.

Henwood Road begins in Bell Block and runs south-east towards Hillsborough.  It is named after William Henwood, who was one of the earliest settlers of New Plymouth. William was one of 18 children, his parents were James and Rebecca and he was born in 1818 in Cornwall, in the U.K.

At the age of 22, William was attracted to New Zealand with the prospect of creating a better future for himself, and 11 November 1840, he boarded the Plymouth Company's William Bryan and arrived in New Plymouth on 31 March 1841.

Also on the ship was the 9th daughter of Mr and Mrs Richard Putt, Ann Putt, who attracted the attentions of Mr Henwood. Their courtship aboard the William Bryan endured storms and gales and rose above seasickness and dysentery. Their love grew over romantic meals of Albatross Pie and Porpoise for breakfast. William and Ann were married in September 1841 and went on to have 10 children together, needless to say their hardy courtship helped build the mettle required to raise 10 children in the colonies! Their first child, Mary Jane, is reported to be the first child born to a couple married in New Plymouth.

While he owned land in New Plymouth, he also spent some time in Whanganui, quite likely as a result of political unrest in Taranaki. His occupation is given as "wheelwright" and "farmer". In 1865 he built the "Traveller's Hotel" on the corner of Devon and Currie Streets. Unfortunately, he was refused a liquor license as it was alleged he was responsible for selling "spirituous liquor to the natives" and the licence was granted to C. Autridge, a year later, who renamed the hotel the "Imperial". The Imperial enjoyed an elegant 107 years and was demolished in March 1972.

William died in September 1879, of Anthrax, at his residence in Devon Street. 

This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.

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