Items in Museums and Private Collections
A number of items that belonged to Henry or William Williams are now in New Zealand museums, including the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the Tairawhiti (Gisborne) Museum and the MTG Hawkes Bay in Napier. We hope to show some items from these collections in due course.
In addition family members still hold a number of interesting objects in their private collections. We should like to showcase photographs of these, with the owners’ permission. If you have items which you feel would be of general interest and are happy for these to be on our website, please contact us.
Inside front page
Recipe for beer
Marianne Williams' Recipe Book
This recipe book is a precious collection item at Tairāwhiti Museum in Gisborne.
The first page is inscribed: Recipts, Mrs Williams, 1853.
It includes handwritten recipes as well as pasted in articles and gardening hints etc
William Williams Desk
This solid Victorian desk was made in New Zealand for William Williams, possibly around 1865-70. He was consecrated Bishop of Waiapu in 1859 and the desk might have been made for his new accommodation of Bishopscourt in Napier. It is in three separate pieces – two pedestals with four drawers each and a top piece with three drawers. The original leather top has been replaced. On this desk William would have worked on his Maori translations of the Bible and his dictionary. The desk was handed down to his son, Leonard, and grandson Herbert, both of whom were also Bishops of Waiapu and editors of the Williams Maori dictionary. The desk is owned by Sheila Williams who intends to donate it to the Williams Museum Trust in due course.
WILLIAM WILLIAMS DESK
Marianne's Writing Desk
Even without its historical associations, this lovely Victorian writing desk with its elaborate finishings and contents would be a treasured item. It belonged to Marianne Williams whose gift to us has been the lively letters that she wrote to her family. A collection of these is in the book “Letters from the Bay of Islands” edited by Caroline Fitzgerald, which has proved to be a best seller because of the vivid descriptions of the difficult early years in Paihia. The writing desk is owned by a family member in the United Kingdom.
Wooden Deck Chair
On the veranda of Butler House at the Butler Point Whaling Museum sits this wooden deck chair. The founder of the museum, Lindo Ferguson, bought the chair from a local dealer who said it used to belong to Marianne Williams and thus would have been at The Retreat, probably also on the veranda at that house. Visit for more information about this excellent private museum in Northland.
William Williams Clock
In the collection of Cynthia Smith, William Williams's great, great grand-daughter.
In the collection of the Whanganui Regional Museum with the following notes:
A mechanical barrel organ encased in an oak case with faux gilded wooden pipes, the first barrel organ in New Zealand came in 1829, as a bequest from their uncle John Marsh in England, to Archdeacon Henry Williams and his brother William Williams when they were stationed as missioners in the Bay of Islands. The organ includes three barrels with ten hymns on each. In 1898 Henry Williams' grandson Reverend Alfred O Williams, together with the Wanganui Public Museum curator Samuel Drew, travelled to the Bay of Islands and collected the organ, bringing it back to Wanganui, where Drew restored it in time to play hymns for Easter Sunday of that year.
More recently this organ has again been conserved and restored and is now played regularly in the Museum.The hymns identified on the rollers are the 'Old Hundredth', 'God Save the King", 'O God our help in ages past', 'Christ the Lord has risen', 'Come thou everlasting spirit', 'O, for a heart to praise my God', 'A charge to keep I have' and 'O worship the King'.
To operate the pipes, a roller of about six inches in diameter is placed in position in the back of the organ and turned by a geared handle, which engages another gear connected with the handle. At the same time the bellows are worked by a foot pedal. There are four straps which control the volume of sound, the treble and the bass notes.
Maker's name: A Buckingham (Foreman to the late Mr Avery and Mr Elliot), Church and Organ Builder, No 39 Frederick Place, Hamstead Place, London
Henry Williams Candlesticks
This pair of almost identical bronze candlesticks was owned by Henry Williams and presumably used in an ecclesiastical setting. His son Thomas Coldham Williams inherited them and in turn passed them to his eldest son, Hugh. They are now owned by Antonia and Charlotte Williams, Hugh’s grand-daughters.