Seaton Street is a very short cul-de-sac in Fitzroy. It runs off Hamblyn Street and was once a part of the street itself. At the end of the street there is easy access straight down to New Plymouth’s coastal walkway.

The road appears on a subdivision plan as far back as 1902 when Fitzroy was first being developed and when Hamblyn Street did not cut through to Nobs Line as it does today.

In 1921 New Plymouth solicitor Patrick Buckley Fitzherbert purchased a small block of land on the beachfront at Fitzroy and subdivided it into 12 allotments (sections), bordering both sides of what was to become Seaton Street and the first block from the sea on Nobs Line.

The road layout remained in this original form until 1943. However, for some years prior to this, the residents of Hamblyn Street had been petitioning the New Plymouth Borough Council for improvements to the road and for an extension of Hamblyn Street through “vacant land” to Nobs Line. On 22 November 1943 a gazette notice was published announcing the land was being taken for a street through two of Fitzherbert’s allotments and part of the south-side of Hamblyn Street.

It’s likely to be around this time that thought was given as to what to do with the short stretch of road that now jutted off from Hamblyn Street down toward the seafront.

We assume that between 1943 and 1953 Seaton Street was chosen as the name for the short no-exit street. Seaton Street makes its first appearance in a street directory in 1953 with the first residents being listed as William Scott, Cecil Hawker, Eric Stuck, Nolan Bracegirdle and Charles Barlow.

One source says that it was named after Seaton Avenue in the English city of Plymouth. However, given the seaside location of Seaton Street, a more enticing reason appears to the coastal town of Seaton on the Devon coast. Described as having “stunning natural landscapes…and a natural playground for water sports fans”, it surely makes a more appropriate choice than a street in the middle of Plymouth.

This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.

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