Topic: Arthur Francis Stacey

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Who was Arthur Francis Stacey?

Arthur Francis Stacey Childhood

He was born in London, October 31st, 1887 and was proud to call himself a Cockney as he was born within the sound of Bow Bells. His father was George Frederick Stacey – a stained glass artist who made the windows of the Parable of the Lilies in the Durham Street Methodist Church which was destroyed in the February earthquake.

His mother was Alice Louisa nee Horsley – a very frugal woman – in London she was cleaner at the Barnsby Chapel.

Arthur went to school until he was about 12 and then in circa 1891 ran away to sea & travelled three times around the world. After the first trip he went home to his mother because life was so hard on the boats. All she said was “When are you going back” because she didn’t want him at home.

On his first voyage he got lost in France because he followed a Punch & Judy Show when he went ashore. He was supposed to stay near the boat. The boats he sailed on when he was a boy were very very old sailing ships. Their diet was black bread & treacle. There was a slide from the boat down to the wharf. As a boy, he put molasses on the “beach”. The slide caught fire & sailors were injured & had to go to hospital.

On his first voyage round the world as a young boy, he was in the crows nest when they rounded the “Horn” at the bottom of Africa. It was very rough & he was requested to climb down from there but he was too frightened, so stayed up there.

When he returned home to London, he went back to school to study. He studied all his life & was a man of many interests. Alice, his mother, used to take in washing to help pay for Arthurs’ music lessons. The man who was supposed to teach him was an alcoholic & left Arthur to his own devices with the piano, while he went on the booze, with the result that Arthur never did learn to read music but could play beautifully by ear.

His first job back in London was in a Plumbers shop & his first job on his first day was to go round the Merchants to see if he could acquire a sky-hook. When he went to work he had to ride Penny Farthing bicycle & when he arrived at work the only way he could get off the bike was to fall off. It was the same on the way home. He had to be assisted on to the bike.

Later teenage years

I do not know a lot about this time. It appears he may have worked on boats again but he came to New Zealand sometime before his parents & the rest of this family emigrated in 1905. I cannot find any records of him immigrating so I assume he may have worked his passage to New Zealand.

My Aunt, Beryl Hatherley, quotes her mother saying he played the piano for the passengers on the boat & they all though he was a professional who had been hired for the purpose.

In New Zealand

He arrived in New Zealand sometime before 1905. Hew would have been aged about 17 or 18. I have been unable to find any records of his arrival and I presume, with his seafaring background, that he may have worked his passage over, possibly on a steamership. My Aunts tell me that he played the piano for the passengers. I havea marine certificate that says he was discharged 28-8-07 from a coastal run to Whanganui (Whangarei). He is recorded at the time as living at 15 Chester Street, Christchurch. Back in Christchurch he was employed by Bradley Brothers as a lead-light worker. He met his future wife, Florence May Simpson, during this time as she worked at a factory nearby making childrens clothes or mattresses (I have heard both versions). Apparently some of the factories got together & arranged a picnic over at somewhere in Lyttelton Harbour. Florence went with one young fellow & returned home with Arthur.

They were married 24 June 1929 at Florence’s sister, Alice Chapman’s, house, in Sydenham.

Within a month or two they had moved to Melbourne, Australia, where their first 5 children were born – Arthur, Cyril (died at 3 months), Irene, Sylvia, and Thelma. Arthur continued to work in Leadlighting and they got to know the rest of Florence’s large family as she was born in Melbourne. Arthur joined the Fitzroy rifle club & gained quite a few awards.

By 1919 the family returned to New Zealand, settling in Palmerston North, where their 6th child, Ronald, was born. Arthur worked there as a sales rep for Robertson Borthers Seed Merchants, and then for Hodder & Tolly who were also seed merchants. Before their 7th child, June Egmont, was born in 1921, they moved to Hawera. They then moved to Christchurch before their eighth child, Beryl, was born in 1923. In 1924 their last child Ivan Rex was born.

Arthur Stacey was by this time a land agent.

Death Notice

Source: The Press, 2 July 1952. p1


STACEY- On July 1, 1952, at Christchurch, Arthur Francis, dearly loved husband of Florence May Stacey, 145 Victoria Street; aged 64 years. (Suddenly)


Mr A. F. Stacey

Source: The Press, 2 July 1952. p11


Mr Arthur Francis Stacey, a prominent valuer and estate agent in Christchurch, died suddenly yesterday. He was 64 years of age.

 Mr Stacey was recognised as one of the most successful property salesmen in New Zealand. Among the biggest deals which he negotiated were sales of Warner’s and the United Service Hotels, and Strange’s buildings which, before being subdivided, comprised a large block extending along both High and Lichfield streets. He also was responsible for the construction of New Regent Street, on the site of the Coliseum building.

Before he entered the real estate business, Mr Stacey had been manager of two grain and seed firms in the North island. They were Hodder and Tolley, Hawera, and Robertson Brothers, Auckland.

A keen sportsman, Mr Stacey was a former president of the Pleasant Point Yachting Club, to which he gave two competition trophies. He was a freshwater angler, and had won a number of prizes at the Fitzroy Rifle Club, Melbourne. Mr Stacey had held office in the Canterbury Boxing Association, and at the time of his death was vice-president of the Traffic Officers’ Guild.

He is survived by his widow; a son, Mr A. W. G. Stacey; and five daughters Mrs G. Dew, Mrs W. Bunting (Coromandel), Mrs J. Tucker, Mrs J. Donaldson, and Mrs L. Hatherly.

New Regent Street

Arthur Stacey was one of the directors of the company, New Regent Street Limited, formed in 1929, responsible for the building of New Regent Street.

New Regent Street opened in April 1932

From Historic Places Trust

“New Regent Street is significant as the only commercial street in New Zealand to have been designed as a coherent whole. It is one of the best examples of Spanish Mission style architecture in New Zealand, and as a street made up of small speciality shops it can be read as a forerunner to today's shopping malls. Its distinctive style and colouring makes this street a notable part of central Christchurch's townscape.”



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Arthur Francis Stacey

First Names:Arthur Francis
Last Name:Stacey
Place of Birth:London, U.K.