The Origins of Street Names - What is the background to your street name?

The Origins of Street Names - What is the background to your street name?

Over the years I have been invited to a number of junior schools to show photographic presentations of Victorian Britain, with particular reference to our own community in and around Brighouse. These presentations always proved to be a big success.

Just imagine you were given the final say in naming a new street, a task I am sure whilst many will think is easy, many others including myself would not find it that easy. To choose a name that will last, a name that will not be out date or even sound silly in a few years time. On our featured image we have a small part of the Mark Blackburn auction sale of land on Friday September 30, 1870. The vacant land extended from Huddersfield Road both left and right of the Martin's Nest (now the Thaal Indian Restaurant) all the way up to Halifax Road. Try to imagine in 1870 there were few few buildings of any kind at that time. I have chosen to show you this small section where all the land is split up into building plots and are numbered..    

Most street names have fairly obvious origins unlike the origins of a house name which tends to be more personal. Looking into the origins of a street name will often say something about the community itself. Although in the late 1950s the council was considering naming a new street after the famous American pop star of the time - thankfully naming it after Elvis Presley did not happen.

The Hon Mr Baron Pigott 1863In and around the Lane Head area many of the streets are taken from the family name of Piggott, the most obvious being Piggott Street itself. But what about Frances Street, Frances was born in 1814 and in 1836 was married to Serjeant Piggott who later became Honourable Sir Gillory Piggott, one of the Barons of Queen Victoria's Court of Exchequer. This area of Lane Head was part of the Piggott estate which was eventually sold off towards the end of the nineteenth century. This image is Sir Gillory Piggott c1863.

Then there is Bond Street, it's a little to early to have any James Bond links. It is named after Doctor Frederick Fielding Bond who lived at 'Thorncliffe', Rastrick. But why should he in particular have a street named after him.

The answer is likely to be his fifteen years of involvement with the Brighouse Ambulance Brigade. He retired as the Corps Superintendent on November 30th 1916.

Names with watery links are probably the ones to watch for ie: River Street, Springfield Terrace or Canal Street they could spell damp problems. Parsonage Road, Churchfields Lane, Chapel Street all these have obvious connections. As do directional street names, West Street, East Street, North Parade, Central Avenue or South View.

Industrial names such as Mill Lane, Mill Royd Street, Gas House Lane, Brick and Tile Terrace but to name a few. Royalty is always a favourite and probably the easiest whether it be King Street, Victoria Avenue, Duke Street.

Dr Frederick Fielding Bond c1910


Here is Dr Frederick Fielding Bond sat on the front step at his home 'Thorncliffe',           Thornhill Road, Rastrick c1910. 


However, there are some streets that do need some thinking about and would take a bit of working out, such as, Prospect Place, this is at the bottom of John King Lane just around the corner from Ganny Road and would have been across the road from what was called the Dark Passage.

Prospect Place is just below the old site of Leach Photographic works and is named after Prospect House on the end. In the mid-nineteenth century this property was the home of Dr. William Lundy's Prospect Academy. John King Lane takes its name from the old Quaker John King who's house was at the bottom of Halifax Road. He died in 1854 and his house was soon demolished afterwards. Ganny Road probably derives from the field name although the property Ganny Cottage is quite old and the Dark Passage was the local name given by local people to the passageway into Vine Court in Elland Road.
Vine Court low res

Vine Court, the tall singular building at the top of this photo is the property on Elland Road which is still there today. All the other properties in this photo have been demolished during the late 1960s. 

Do you know the origins of your street name? You might get a surprise once you know... 

1 comment

  • Rod Allen

    Rod Allen - Tuesday, 14 April 2020

    Hi Chris, The picture of what I presume was Ganny cottage, was this used for the local lockkeeper before the newer cottage was built somewhat later? I know that whatever was on that land on that side of GANNY lock (you can just see the footbridge build over the canal) did leave the land there unstable and slowly pushed the canal side in making the lock narrower than the rest of the locks on the canal. And I presume that you are aware that the current lock cottage is built on top of an older lock chamber which led the navigation back into the river before North Cut was dug out during later canal improvements. I'm told by the locky who lived there that it was an ideal place for home growing of mushrooms.

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