Given names: 
Given address: 
Sheet No: 283

Biographical information provided by Briar Barry for the He Tohu exhibition:

Ethel Alcorn who was born in Hokitika in 1870 to Irish immigrant parents, Samuel and Jane Alcorn. In 1874 the family moved to Wellington where Samuel opened a draper’s shop on Lambton Quay.

The business was successful and the Alcorn children enjoyed a prosperous household. This changed dramatically in 1877 when a fire destroyed the business and killed Ethel’s younger sister, Winifred, aged four. The family moved to Ashburton. This is where Ethel, her mother Jane, and sister Olive signed the Petition.

Ethel’s older sisters Mary and Margaret were revolutionaries of their age as they were business women and interior designers. They had a shop on Lambton Quay in Wellington called ‘Liberty's Wellington’, selling furnishings they imported from Liberty department store in London and offering interior design advice. They lived in Oriental Bay and Mary cycled to the shop each day, an uncommon way for women to travel at the time. 

Related images:

E. Alcorn

Store display at 'Liberty’s Wellington'

Click on sheet number to see the 1893 petition sheet this signature appeared on. Digital copies of the sheets supplied by Archives New Zealand.

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