Our Past

It all started back in 1965

Lyttelton Museum had its inception in the unlikely form of a rotting parcel of fish and chips. In 1965 an unsuspecting Baden Norris, future founder of the Museum, was perusing historic copies of the Lyttelton Times in the local library. Firmly lodged between the pages of his intended research material was someone’s decomposing fish and chip dinner.

Incensed, Baden immediately wrote to the Council about the woeful state of Lyttelton’s historical assets. He suggested that, if an area could be found, the port town might, some day, even boast its own museum. To his surprise, the idea gained great public support, and the Council eventually made space available in the Shipping Company Headquarters on Hawkhurst Road. 

And so, in 1969, Lyttelton Museum first opened its doors. Through Baden’s considerable efforts, alongside a dedicated team of local volunteers and donors, the Museum’s collection grew, as did the organisation.

Baden served as Curator of Lyttelton Museum from 1969-2010, while simultaneously working in the Port and as Curator of Antarctic History at Canterbury Museum.

Baden Norris with early donations to the collection. c. Lyttelton Museum collection

Baden Norris behind the desk at the Museum on Gladstone Quay. c. Lyttelton Museum collection


"Lyttelton Museum had its inception in the unlikely form of a rotting parcel of fish and chips"


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