The mystery of the missing 'e'
To ‘e’ or not to ‘e’? You’ve probably noticed that Ridgway School is located on The Ridgeway. How did the school get its name in the first place, and what has happened to the missing ‘e’?
Even today, the origins of the school’s name are unclear. Several possible explanations have been put forward:
- The school may have been named after an immigrant ship, the Martha Ridgway. This splendid 621-tonne sailing ship, built in Liverpool as a passenger ship, arrived in Wellington in November 1840. Have a look at the list of immigrants who arrived in Wellington on the Martha Ridgway – perhaps your ancestors were among them!
The Martha Ridgway was later shipwrecked en route from Wellington to Bombay, at the entrance to Torres Strait near the northern tip of Queensland.
- The school may have been named after members of the Ridgway family who were early settlers in Wellington (Isaac Ridgway) and the Wairarapa (James Ridgway). Both these men were local identities.
- The name may have been used simply to describe the location of the school, perched on top of a ridge. Or perhaps English settlers brought the name with them – The Ridgeway is a famous and ancient pathway in England that dates back around 5000 years, and has been described as ‘Britain’s oldest road’. It originally extended all the way from the Dorset coast to the Norfolk coast.
What do you think? Do you know of any other explanations for the name of the school?
And as for the discrepancy between road signs and the name of the school – the original title of the road, as recorded at the Wellington Land Transfer Office, shows the road spelt without the ‘e’ – this suggests that at some point the Council inserted the ‘e’ and that the name stuck.