On The Street Where You Live

Have you ever given any thought to the origin of the name of road you live in? A little research may reveal fascinating stories behind the naming of a particular road, even if at first sight the name seems mundane. Names such as “Station Road” are obvious in their derivation, as, more gruesomely, are the occurrences of “Gibbet Hill” which one occasionally comes across. They derive from physical features which are, or once were, a prominent local landmark. Nearer in time, Kingsbury in NW London, an area long covered in suburban housing, has an “Aerodrome Road”, deriving from the old Stag Lane

Aerodrome. With some roads the origins may not be quite so obvious; for example near to where I live there is a “Regal Court”, so named because it stands on the site of the now long-demolished Regal cinema!

Other origins may be more arbitrary; in the boom in suburban house-building which occurred around London in the 1930s one suspects that local planning authorities ran out of ideas which had any local significance and chose thematic street names with no local reference at all, hence the plethora of Myrtle or Laburnum Avenues, Closes etc which typify such areas.

But a third source of street names are local personalities, or people who had been especially associated with the locality. In Harrow, where I grew up, there are a number of roads named after famous Old Harrovians – Peel Road, Palmerston Road and, naturally, Churchill Avenue. Even the Duke of Wellington is obliquely included – although he is remembered primarily as an Old Etonian he was at Harrow briefly – before being expelled! He is commemorated locally in Wellesley Road, using his family name. Nor is it not just the departed who are remembered in this way; as a long-serving GP who played a very active role in his local community, my father-in-law had a new road named after him shortly after he retired.

In the light of all this, one is therefore intrigued as to the following – Lindfield Gardens in NW3 and Guildford, Lindfield Roads in Ealing, Croydon and Romford, and Lindfield Street in E13; plus Linfields in Amersham and Linfield Close in Walthamstow…

These were discovered simply by looking up the index of a Greater London A-Z, and I’m confident there must be others in other parts of the country. How did these various roads come by their names? If anyone wants a research project that is not too taxing this could be the answer, since local authority highway or planning departments usually have a record of why a particular street was given its name, at least if it was a road constructed in the last hundred years or so. Otherwise local history museums or reference libraries can usually help. Don’t forget to share the fruits of your labours in LONGSHOT!

One thought on “On The Street Where You Live”

  1. Having difficulty finding the origins of Denmans Lane, Lindfield where I have family. Have recently read a book about Crawley which mentions a local family of prominence called Denman. I was wondering if one of the members may have moved to Lindfield hence the name of the lane? Have been easily able to find the origins of other street names in Mid Sussex but not this one.

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