Norm Brayshaw in his element - surrounded by photographs.
Brayshaw Museum Park, built on the site of Blenheim's early dump, was officially established in 1968 largely due to Norm Brayshaw. It is now known as Brayshaw Heritage Park, with the address of 26 Arthur Baker Place, Blenheim.
Norm was a driving force within the historical and farm machinery societies and had a burning passion to ensure that Marlborough's history and items pertaining to it should be saved and displayed for future generations. Beavertown, a collection of replica shops, was built in the park to house many of the historical objects donated over the years.
In his younger days Norm was a keen tramper, walking over much of Marlborough's hinterland, observing its history as he went. A pharmacist by day, he built up a reputation as a skilled photographer and film processor, carting his Zeiss cameras all over the countryside photographing the district and its historical highlights.
Norm was the Marlborough Historical Society Secretary/Treasurer from October 1960 to October 1972, he had been first elected to the Marlborough Historical Society's Council in 1959. From around 1960, he started his inspired project to copy or collect old Marlborough photographs of people, buildings, events and things – visiting families and organisations and photographing events as they happened.
Norm was awarded the British Empire Medal (B.E.M.) in the Queen's Honours' list in 1975, an honour recognising his outstanding commitment to the Provincial history of Marlborough.
Well before the Park had reached its full potential, on February 27, 1981, Norm died, leaving a legacy that in itself has become such an important part of Marlborough's history. It was his dream that professional staff would one day be appointed to care for and promote the collections. Steve Austin was appointed in 2006, as the Chief Executive of the Marlborough Historical Society, Marlborough's first museum professional.
Museums, including archive collections, in Renwick, Havelock and Picton, as well as the Edwin Fox in Picton were all actively promoted by Norm.
Today, the Marlborough heritage collections available to the people of Marlborough are recognised as a major achievement thanks largely due to the work of Norm Brayshaw.
[Some information copied from Marlborough Celebrating 150 years, compiled by Cynthia Brooks, Leo McKendry and Dave Olliver (2011), page 444]
Norm Brayshaw discussing the Edwin Fox restoration project, followed by a brief overview by
Dr RA Fowler, in 1964.
(4 minutes, .mp3 file)