I am a historian and librarian with an interest in all aspects of New Zealand’s social history.  My doctoral thesis looked at domestic music making in New Zealand from 1840 to 1940 and the music trade – those who supplied the instruments (usually the piano) and music to enable this musical activity to take place.

Clare at the piano

New Zealand’s horticultural history is another area I enjoy researching and this fits in well with my love of gardening.

Rhubarb forcer in back border

Rhubarb forcer, Corryvrach

Corryvrach is my garden in suburban Wellington.  It has been substantially altered over the past five years and I’m always working on new ideas.  As well as looking after my own garden I volunteer at a local heritage garden and regularly visit other gardens, both in New Zealand and elsewhere.


Waterperry Gardens, England

Clare Gleeson





3 thoughts on “About

  1. Hello Clare, I am researching my Begg Family Tree and came across your book “Meet me at Beggs'”. I thought I had found a relation but it would appear that you are a researcher. Do you by any chance know how to contact any living Begg Relation. I am from Alexander Milne Begg’s line who was made Managing Director of “Charles Begg and Company Limited on his sister Elizabeth Warwick Kerr’s death 15 April 1918. Would appreciate any help or direction you may beable to give me. Kind Regards, Trish Hislop, Hastings , NZ


  2. Hello,
    I left Secondary School In 1957 to commence working in Chas. Begg and Co. Ltd., Invercargill Branch as the “Junior” in the Music Instrument Dept. I worked in that dept., later as “head” of Record Dept., leaving in/around 1960. Great Company with dedicated staff in my time there.


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