Nelson gets a street fire alarm system


In July 1937 the fire brigade attended a fire in an outbuilding attached to the residence of Miss A M Jennings, Weka Street. The alarm was given by a boy who saw what was happening as he dashed off to the nearest alarm box, broke the glass with his elbow and gave the alarm. He waited to direct the brigade to the fire which was some distance away. The fire was soon extinguished by means of a bucket pump, and only slight damage was done to the walls.

Alice Jennings tested the new Nelson city fire alarm system in 1937. Jennings Alice 09 Colorized Enhanced

Alice Jennings. Image supplied by author

The fire was caused by a tin of ashes which was placed in the shed. This was the first call to be put through the new street fire alarm system. The heading in the paper reads: Two Fires and One False Alarm, Boy’s Valuable Help to Brigade.1

Mary Alice Jennings was the daughter of James and Susan, nee Wooster Jennings, and the granddaughter of William West Jennings and Elizabeth nee Gradley.  She was born in Nelson in 1868 and died also in Nelson 1947. William was an early member of the Board of Works before Nelson formed a city council.

Alice Jennings tested the new Nelson city fire alarm system in 1937. Jennings Alice 30 Weka St

Alice Jennings and daughter at 30 Weka Street. Image supplied by author

Other than a mention of receiving a prize for General Improvement at the Preparatory School when she was 8 years old, nothing further is known about Alice's education. She was a great collector. Stamps, spoons and small jugs and pen friends from all over the world were a few of her past times. She kept a scrap book of interesting items from the local newspaper.

Alice, along with her brother, William Aubrey, she was a member of the Order of Good Templars. This was an organisation that tried to curb  drinking in the community. Hop picking in the Sherry area of Nelson was something she did with her sister Gladys for many summers. Sydney, Australia was the destination of one of her holidays, where she visited her Wooster cousins along with her sister Sue.


Sources used in this story

  1. First call from street box (1937, July 26) Nelson Evening Mail, p.4

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