Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Elf Meadow

Skipper in his comment on my last post linked to one of his own concerning the comical vagaries of English place names. My favourite old street name from around my way - no longer in use for obvious reasons - is Gropecunt Lane, which, like its neighbour Cock Alley, ran off the notorious Turnmill Street. I don't think I need explain what trade was plied in that particular corner of Clerkenwell.

Nowadays, the business of street naming is still approached in fairly utilitarian fashion - it's just the referents are never as bawdy. It's all a bit unimaginative (and English?): naming privileges are extended to former councillors, landowners, animals, villages, pastoral poets, species of tree or, worst of all, bland abstractions.

There are exceptions, though, where a developer has had a flash of inspiration and the council haven't squashed it.

Poulton is a pretty Cotswold village, consisting of mostly old, weathered cottages. It does have one cul-de-sac of new houses, quite well built and designed. It was named, charmingly, Elf Meadow. I imagine the residents have wonderful ideas of their living on the site of some magical patch of ground where children played and fantasy reigned.

The homes were actually built over an old Elf petrol station. I gather it was quite a job getting the site decontaminated.


Brit said...

"Turnmill Street" - that's filthy!

Gaw said...

Indeed. A 'turnmill' is a quite revolting practice. For those who, blessedly, haven't come across it, the clue's in the name.