Street Names

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This year’s East Leeds Old Codgers Reunion will be held at the Edmund House Club, Pontefract Lane, Leeds on Tuesday the 3rd of November 2015 at noon onwards for a couple of hours. All welcome.

 STREET NAMES

Eric Sanderson gives us something interesting to think about

Wandering the highways and byways in the area of our youth, familiarity with street names automatically became a subliminal knowledge with names tripping from the tongue, usually without thinking much about them.

But street names can be a rich source of interest and a significant clue to the long forgotten history of an area , such that knowing a little about the evolution of the district in which you live, adds to the feeling of belonging to which so many “East Enders” still obviously attach some importance.

Some are self evidently named after an event or place which may have no immediate connection with the area, such as the Glencoe’s & the Pretoria’s, but have a wider, familiar historical significance & remind us of those events of long ago.

Others may be named after people or places, an event or even an occupation which play or played a large part in the community, such as the St Hilda’s ,East Park Parade/View, the Victoria’s & the Clark’s etc

Yet others simply describe where they’re leading to (or from), such as Pontefract Lane, York Road, East Street & so on.

But perhaps the more interesting ones are those which are a puzzle as to how they came to acquire their soubriquet & here are a few, from the East Leeds area which leave me mystified, but there may well be explanations that others have the answer to.

So let’s start with a very familiar one, Snake Lane. It certainly wasn’t because it twists and turns, snaking its way from Cross Green Lane to the red shale path connecting Knostrop and Black Rd.

In fact it was arrow straight between these two points. Could it, at some time in the past been a haven for Grass Snakes? On the other hand, has it acquired its name from the human variety which frequented the area, in much the same way as Lover’s Lane, Gypsy Lane etc.

Cross Green Lane itself suggests a lane or path crossing an ancient village green which may have existed long before it became a well built up area.

Easy Rd? Running roughly parallel to Cross Green Lane, could that have acquired its name simply as an easier & quicker connection between East St & Pontefract Lane than the rutted cart track that Cross Green Lane may have been?.

Take the Copperfields. It seems to describe an activity, similar to the Coalfields or the Goldfields, but very unlikely to have taken place in the vicinity. The name could have been given due to some distant connection with the world’s largest copper mines in Southern Africa.

The Charltons, where I used to live ‘til the late 50’s are unlikely to have been named after either Bobby or Jack, or even Charlton Heston but is a name not unfamiliar in other parts of the country, even London. It’s mentioned in the Doomsday Book & is derived from an old English word meaning farmstead of freemen or peasants. I hardly think the East Leeds Charltons of today could be remotely regarded as farmsteads, except in the context of clandestine cultivation of illegal substances.

Dial Street – could that possibly, at one time have contained “dial” or clock, similar to the one that used to exist at Halton Dial, & which was a significant landmark in the area.

Long Causeway – not the only one in Leeds but an unusual name because while it was no longer than many a modern thoroughfare it somehow suggests it was some ancient, possibly paved route connecting the rural hamlet of Knostrop towards the centre of a growing Leeds city, if so it may have indeed been a ‘long causeway’. The Long Causeway at Adel was said to be the remnants of an old Roman highway so there could be some traction there.  

 

Such as the Dawlish’s & Fewstons were fairly obviously named after well known places, as were many others whilst the well known Black & Red Roads were the given local names  for Pontefract Lane & Halton Moor Road, simply to differentiate their road surfaces but were never, in my recollection, known by other than their colloquially given names  

East Leeds certainly isn’t unique in its interesting street names and of course there’s hundreds of other, long established names, both in the area & elsewhere. Many of them don’t however appear to have much historical significance or connection, but who knows?

There’s sure to be many interesting examples & explanations from the area, those mentioned are but a few but hopefully, helps explain how an area may be somewhat defined  & characterised by some of the street names 

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6 Responses to “Street Names”

  1. Eric Says:

    Just noticed a typo on my part. In the section re Snake Lane – “it has acquired etc” should read “has it acquired etc”

  2. Pete Wood Says:

    Interesting subject, Eric, and we had the Bertha’s Ada’s and Nellies on Richmond Hill. I suppose they were the builder’s daughters?
    I think I’ve heard that the ‘Long Causeway was once a long footpath – probably paved before it was opened out into a proper road perhaps that’s where it got it’s name from? There’s a couple of streets near to where I live now in Woodlesford that I cannot quite equate to: ‘Claremont’ – sounds French but was there ever a battle there? and ‘Pyemont’ they have just put that name on a new development. Don’t no where that comes from?

  3. Eric Says:

    There you go, it could also have been the builder’s mistresses they were named after !!
    I believe Claremont is a National Trust owned country house & gardens built by Capability Brown for Lord Clive of India.
    There’s an area In Italy , near the Alps, called Piedmont bordering France & Switzerland & literally means “foothills”, which is known for it’s fine wines & sophisticated cuisine.
    There’s also a similarly named region with similar characteristics in the USA between the Eastern coastal plain & the Appalachian Mountains.
    Maybe Woodlesford matches them, what with it’s renowned Northern Vineyard & wines.

  4. Pete Wood Says:

    Could be Eric but do you think his wife would been OK with that?

  5. marlene Egan Says:

    Being an old East Ender Eric l found this very interesting,l don’t know where the name Easy Grove came from that’s where l lived

  6. Eric Says:

    Pleased you found the tale interesting Marlene. I can’t quite remember just where Easy Grove was but I would guess it was a small offshoot from the main Easy Road. Often offshoots of main roads took on the name of that thoroughfare followed by “street; view; place, grove etc.

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