What do you know about your street?
I don’t mean what kind of neighbours you have or what day the bins go out. More, have you ever wondered about the origins of your street’s name? I started web searching mine this week and pretty easily found myself here. In a nutshell, my street is named after a posh family from Camberwell whose ancestors were Lords from Normandy.
There are obviously some streets that are more historically captivating than this, like the Huguenot-built streets of Spitalfields…
Or even the streets south of Tower Bridge, such as Bermondsey Street - once famous for leather tanneries, now somewhere to go for a nice brunch and a mooch around the White Cube.
Maybe you’re even lucky enough to live in one of the many houses around London – and a few outside too – with a blue plaque pinned to its bricks that lets everyone know which notable person once lived there. They’re ten-a-penny in Chelsea.
Here’s a glimpse of Noel Coward’s old house in Teddington where the plaque is positioned unfortunately close to a drain pipe.
My curiosity in street names – which will seem a bit Who Do You Think You Are, only an episode about a complete unkown who you don’t care about – stems from the recent discovery that my Great (maternal) Uncle Bert Chalkley has a street named after him in Birkenhead. It’s in honour of his bravery when serving in the battle of the River Plate on the HMS Exeter in the WWII (he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal too).
*Though I have seen nicer fonts.