Posted by: travelrat | October 28, 2009

Street Signs

I wonder who thinks of names for roads and streets?

I don’t mean the old ones. They’re usually the names people bestowed on them by convention. We do occasionally give a thought to their origin, although it was often just a casual one. For instance, when I lived in ‘Dawson’s Barn Road’, I did sometimes wonder who Mr. Dawson was, and where his barn was, but I made no serious attempt to find out.

My nephew did once say that he wished he could take his address with him, as well as his telephone number, when he moved from the charmingly-named Pickles Field Lane to the more prosaic Firs Road. The thing is, the houses haven’t been there all that long, and never, as far back as anyone can remember, have there ever been fir trees there.

So, if someone’s building a new estate, whence come the names? The builders? More probably the Council … and, if that’s the case, does one person decide, or do they form a Committee?

(As an aside, I think of the story of how ‘Two Dogs’ alcoholic lemonade got its name … which I shan’t repeat here!)

Since I moved here, several new estates have sprung up in our area, and someone, because of the proximity of the airfield at nearby Boscombe Down, decided to name the streets of one of them after military aircraft. But, they picked the wrong aircraft! I mean, I wouldn’t like to buy Plot 169, for instance, and find they’d suddenly named the street it stood in Tempest Road!

Anyway, I was in the RAF for 36 years, and had my fill of living in streets named after obsolete aircraft, disused airfields and dead Air Marshals.

But, this one really takes the cake! Maybe it’d be right for an old-fashioned village street, but an estate that’s newer than my car is? What, or who does this commemorate? What does it mean? And, who the hell thought of it?

Street Sign


  1. Sounds like a road from an Enid Blyton book. Actually, it goes well with my favourite road from childhood – Peppermint Grove!

  2. I wish I hadn’t taken that short-cut to my friend’s house; I was humming ‘Diddledown Road’ to the tune of Suzi Quatro’s ‘Devil Gate Drive’ for days afterwards.

    Best one I’ve seen so far is up in Cumbria ‘Willie Wife Lane’

  3. Hi,

    Re: who decides how roads are named, according to this document from Salisbury Council –

    “As far as street naming proposals are concerned the Council is happy for developers or occupiers to propose their own preferred addresses for consideration; …. Please note that it is desirable that any suggested road name should have some connection with the area. The Council’s decision is final.”

    On the naming of Diddledown Road, I’ve no idea what it means. I’m trying to compile a list of the derivations of Salisbury road names on my website, but I haven’t got as far as Boscombe Down. My guess would be that it’s a made up word – I certainly can’t find anything very relevant through Google

    • Thanks foir the comment, Matt.

      I’ve been doing a little research myself, into the ‘closes’ off Raleigh Crescent, where I live:

      ‘Hurley Close’ was (Captain?) Frank Hurley, the first CO of Boscombe Down; Westland is an aircraft manufacturer; Virginia was a type of aircraft, as was ‘Heyford’; ‘Barnes Wallis’ was the designer of the Wellington bomber and the inventor of the Bouncing Bomb; ‘Nicholson’ for Flight-Lieutenant J B Nicholson, VC, who won his decoration flying from Boscombe Down.

      But, I have yet to find out what’s the connection with Coniston and Chesterfield, and who were Hamilton, Burwood & Co.

      You can email if you want to talk about this further ….

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