It seemed obvious at first that this street was named after a Welsh village, and it appeared that all we would have to do was take a look at a world gazetteer. The supposed Welsh connection seemed to be confirmed by the naming of a nearby unformed street as Clanmorgan Street.
We could, however, find no Carverthen in any book we looked in. Even Google could provide us with no clues.We knew the streets were developed by Richard Kibblewhite in 1878 when the area was still part of Masterton Borough, but could find no connection between the Kibblewhites and Wales. We looked at later owners of the land, but again could find no connection.
Then we found two very interesting maps.
The first of these was a plan put out to advertise the sale of land in these sections, and it showed Carverthen Street as ‘Albert Street,’ with the unformed Clanmorgan Street shown as ‘Victoria Street’.
The second map was deposited with the Survey Department, showing the streets with their Welsh names, and signed by the surveyor D.P. Davies.
It is clear why Albert and Victoria could not be used for streets in the subdivision. The names had already been allocated to Wrigley’s subdivision in town. It seems likely that the surveyor himself came up with the two new names.
The surveyor turned out to be Wellington-based, and examination of the electoral roll showed him to be David Picton Davies.
The middle name Picton turned out to be the key to solve the mystery.
Sir Thomas Picton, after whom both the New Zealand town and the Wellington surveyor were named, was a Welsh-born soldier and administrator. During his governorship of Trinidad he was accused of cruelty to the population, a charge he was cleared of. He served under Wellington, and was shot leading his second brigade in the charge at Waterloo. A large statue was erected in his memory in his hometown, Carmarthen.
Research has uncovered that David Picton Davies was also a native of this town, born there in 1835. It seems that Carverthen Street is a typographical error and that, although unable to be proved after 120 years, the street should have been named Carmarthen after Davies’ hometown.