Wednesday 7 January 2009
Lewes District Council is making a big fuss about street names. They want to sanitise them by using a pre-approval process for new names to rule out anything that might have a double entendre (even if unintended) or that might be "aesthetically displeasing".
What a load of nonsense. Lewes DC is LibDem controlled and this is a poor advert for them. It smacks of pettiness and small-mindedness.
There are many names which have heritage value that could certainly be considered rude now. I used to havea girlfriend who lived at Crouchers. Just down the road was a country hotel that used the name Crouchers Bottom, which had been the name of the property for hundreds of years. In Sussex, there are plenty of Bottoms (valleys and dips). There is also a Gay Street (homophobic?), Black Down (racist?), the river Uck (yes, the signs get defaced all the time – boring, kids, not funny any more). Lewes itself sits on the River Ouse – it doesn’t really ooze anything and it isn’t a particularly attractive word (it’s just an old word for river), but nobody would want to change it.
It’s a dangerous policy. There is an area of Southsea which features the unbelievably tedious names of Harold Road and Trevor Road – so called because, before it was developed, the land was owned by a family with these names. The area adjoins Fawcett Road which has a pub at one end – you guessed: The Fawcett Inn. More entendres than you could shake a stick at. But I suspect that these aesthetically displeasing names were just fine when they were new – language and attitudes change with time.
And do we really want to have a bunch of wholly anodyne names for roads? Downs View is incredibly over-used in this area. Around Chichester, anything to do with the local heritage (Roman history, the Cathedral, motor racing at Goodwood and local flying aces/aircraft of World War Two) gets used time and time again. Or you end up with a situation like that at Kings Hill (what used to be West Malling airfield) where all the roads are named for varieties of apples – braeburn, russet, worcester and bramley – or old aircraft – typhoon, tempest, anson and stirling. They soon merge one into the next in the warren of identikit houses.
Perhaps there should be pressure on developers to be original. Maybe they should be made not to repeat a road name that has already been used in the same district. That would certainly get rid of the Downs View/Street/Road/Close problem. But it might lead to things like the road near my parents’ house called Syke Cluan Close (apparently, it is named for a place in Scotland, although Google draws a blank) – not relevant to the local area, hard to spell for the locals, but certainly original.
Any funny names up your way?
Friday 20 June 2008
I’m waaay behind. Way behind with work. Way behind with stuff that needs doing around the house. Way behind in keeping in contact with people (sorry). Way behind in sleep. Way behind in blogging.
Part of the reason is that this weekend sees the 14th Garden Event at West Dean. Last year we were royally rained upon – 32mm in the first few hours. I’ve confidently been telling people that we couldn’t possibly have two years in a row like that, but the forecast suggests that I might be wrong. Oh well, at least Sunday looks a bit better, and West Dean is on a shallow soil over gravel, so drains remarkbly quickly.
Anyway, do come along. It will be good – plants, tools, equipment – in fact, pretty much everything garden related, plus a good selection of food and drink. Bring an umbrella to keep you dry and some cash to spend. And your mere presence will cheer me up.
UPDATE: the forecast now says that we should miss the worst of the rain tomorrow during the day (it will be damp, rather than wet, when we are setting-up in the morning). The heaviest rain will pass through overnight tomorrow, so I’m hoping we might just get away with it.
Monday 15 October 2007
Brought to justice
Chichester rapist found guilty and sentenced. I think I blogged about these cases when I lived in Chichester. One attack took place on a lane where I walked frequently, another only yards from one of my clients.
Friday 25 May 2007
Pallant House wins Gulbenkian Award. I’ve long admired Pallant House, but the extension is truly splendid and makes it one of the finest galleries I know anywhere. Well worth visiting if you’re in the area.
Thursday 22 June 2006
You need to go to the Garden and Art Event at West Dean this weekend. You do, really.