How do they give names to the streets and roads of England? Well, there are lots of methods. Let’s take a quick look at Nottingham.
They are named after famous people (Shakespeare Street). They are named after the people who used to live there (Friargate) and the activities that used to happen there (Fletchergate….fletchers make arrows, or it’s from the word “flesh” which is what butchers sell you). Where the road goes to. (Hucknall Road). Who owned the land (Thackeray’s Lane). What the church is called (St Peter’s Gate). What building is there (Castle Gate). After events that happened in history. (Standard Hill…..where King Charles I first raised his banner and began forming an army at the outset of the English Civil War on August 22nd 1642.)
“Gata” incidentally is an old Viking word for street and will date back to 867AD when Nottingham was captured by the dreaded Northmen.
During the house building boom in the suburbs of Nottingham during the late 19th century and the early 20th century, the builder would often name streets after his own family. Here is an example in West Bridgford. Look for the Orange Arrow, wearing his anti-Covid mask:
The only problem is that we can recognise the first names such as Florence, Mabel and Violet, but what was their surname? Was it Crosby or Trevelyan? So often they seem to miss this detail out, or not to make it too obvious which name it is.
Has this builder tried his best to make it obvious by putting all of the first names around the surname “Musters” ?
Exactly the same thing was still going on in the mid-1970s when we moved into suburbia ourselves. The same problem remained, though. What was the surname? Our house was at the end of the Orange Arrow. The fourth one down the hill from the little gap which had an old oak tree in it.
Strangest of all, though, in Nottingham, are the streets which are all, clearly, named after a particular event, or even after another country. Between 1880-1900, the theme in a particular suburb of Nottingham, namely New Basford, was Egypt. This was a working class area with a huge number of terraced houses, and somebody, somewhere, decided to name the streets there in such a way as to commemorate the British involvement in Egypt, although I have been unable to ascertain any definite answer to that simple question….”Why now? ” Was it to commemorate Nelson’s victory in the Battle of the Nile in 1798 ? Or the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 ? I just don’t know. Perhaps it was because of events in 1882. Wikipedia says that :
“After increasing tensions and nationalist revolts, the United Kingdom invaded Egypt in 1882, crushing the Egyptian army at the Battle of Tell El Kebir and militarily occupying the country. Following this, the Khedivate became a de facto British protectorate under nominal Ottoman sovereignty”.
Whatever the answer, we now have, in New Basford, an Egypt Road, a Cairo Street, a Delta Street, a Suez Street and a Rosetta Road :
Do we all understand these references ?
Well, first of all, in the photograph below, there’s Egypt Street on the left, the home of Ramesses the Great and the Arab world’s greatest rock group, Mo Salah and the Pyramids. As a bonus, there’s also an excellent view of the junction with Suez Street :
Suez also has a canal. Here it is during the rush hour. It looks like the US Navy has brought its aircraft out to sunbathe:
Cairo is famous for its rush hour although I was really disappointed that it was cars not camels. Camels are far too clever to get into this kind of mess :
And here’s Cairo Street, once the traffic has thinned out a little. Watch out for that camel behind you!
Here’s the Nile Delta, which has its very own rush hour, but with dhows rather than supertankers :
Last and most famous is the Rosetta Stone, commissioned by Pharaoh Ptolemy V and found in the city of Rosetta two thousand years later, decorated with the same thing written in three different languages.
Firstly, there are hieroglyphics for the priests, then Demotic, the native Egyptian script used for everyday business, and Ancient Greek, the language of the civil service. At this time Egypt was ruled over by Greek speakers after Alexander the Great conquered the country :
Notice how somebody has put a magnifying glass over each bit, so that you can see the differences. Rosetta Road has no such problems over communication, because 99% of the time, it is deserted, except for cars:
Originally the French had the Rosetta Stone, but after Admiral Nelson beat them in the Battle of the Nile, the English took it to the British Museum where, even now, it is the most visited thing in the whole museum. I thought that title might have belonged to the toilets: