London - Streets of ..|
|(Index and abbreviations at the end of this page.)|
In London a "street" is not just a "street"!
There is of course the Street and the Road (in DKish [gade] and [vej]). (I think I read somewhere that there should be no "streets" in (the) 'City' - "the Square Mile"(!) A quick look at a map suggests that that is not the case, so maybe it was "roads" that were referred to? At any rate, I intend to "investigate"(!)) Funnily enough (from a Danish point of view) there are also - but in far smaller numbers - Ways, which must be basically the same word as the DKish [veje]; examples are: Queensway, Kingsway, Bishop's Way and Grafton Way.
Then there's the Lane, which, according to my DKish-Eng. dictionary, could translate to [stræde] or [smal vej/gade] ("small street or road"). A lot of the lanes are indeed narrowish, but Long Lane, Kennington Lane and especially Park Lane are not what I would consider typically "lane sized" :-)
Easily recognised (by a Dane) is the Avenue which in DKish is simply [avenu] - although pronounced in a French kind of way in DKish - or [allé]; the latter must not be confused, however, with the English alley (of which I've found preciously few in the London area, by the way) which means [gyde] or [stræde] in DKish. (Hmmm, wonder what the etymology (origin) of the word 'avenue' is?) Anyway, some London avenues are actually rather smallish (and probably not tree-lined as I think the definition of the avenue calls for?), e.g. Oaklands Av. and Southcroft Av. (p.136, E2-D3).
Also equivalent must be the Passage, which is spelt exactly the same in DKish - and probably has more or less the same meaning.
The Gate may be either a kind of gateway (to the town/city) - [port] in DKish - but it might actually also be equivalent to the DKish [gade]! Whether this be the case in the London area I don't know, but in York, which is an old Viking town, one is told that the street name Coppergate is basically the same as the DKish [Kobbergade] (in Swedish [-gatan]).
Misleading (for a Dane) is a Place which is almost always "street like" and not equivalent with a DKish [plads], which in return would typically be a Square in English. The Square is - surprise, surprise ... usually square(!) but if it's round (or, in the case of the "Oxford" one, used to be round:-) it can be a Circus. And for there are other "circuses" than the "Picadilly" and "Oxford" ones, e.g. Percy Circus and Arnold Circus.
Also in the category of names related to shape is the Crescent, e.g. Norfolk Crescent (p.60, C6). The word means "half-moon shaped" in DKish, but I'm not aware of any place-names of this kind in DK(?)
"Altitude/attitude" related is the Hill and the Rise; as far as I know only the first has a DKish equivalent: [høj] (but whether they actually go upwards (in the one direction:-) I haven't got any examples ready for).
The Terrace means a street/road the houses of which are sort of drawn back from the street/road itself. A good example is perhaps Glouchester Terr.? (p.59, K6). (No equivalent in DKish that I know of.)
The Court and the Close ([gård(splads)] and [vænge] in DKish) is most often what its name suggest: a (small) "blind" road (dead end).
Probably also "layout" related is (are) the Gardens (of which there are many!) I would assume that the name refers to the houses in these "streets" originally having (small) gardens?
The Grove in most cases is probably just a name and has nothing to do with a "small wood" ([lund] in DKish)?
A couple of Walks are found, e.g. Shepherdess Wlk. (p.62, C2-C3) and Sutherland Wk. (p.79, C5). The meaning of walk in "street" names is probably "route" or "path" ([rute] or [sti] in DKish). In older times you actually mostly did walk there - just as you nowadays mostly drive on the Drive :-)
A smallish kind of street that puzzled me for quite some time (but only because I didn't get around to looking the word up:-) is the Mews. The closest DKish translation is [gyde]. The mews(es) are smallish streets which in older quarters are located in-between of the "real" streets/roads and which originally held - the mews(!) ([staldbygninger] in DKish) Nowadays they're always converted to apartments, I guess.
Less frequently you'll also find Cottages, Fields, , Greens, Ho??s, Markets, Meads, Orchards and Paths.
Finally, in the Thames/docks areas you will - of course - find a lot of Quays and Wharfs and some Piers ([kaj], [værft] and [(ca.) mole] in DKish; not many streets are named thus in DK, though). In that area you'll also find some Stairs ([trappe(r)] in DKish) the name (and location) of which suggests some steps/stairs up from the quay/river bank(?) Examples are Globe Stairs, Stone Stairs and Shadwell Dock Stairs (all on p.63, K7).
But the funniest(!) road I stumbled upon while doing this "research" was - you won't believe it: Ha Ha Road!! (But it's true - p.82, D6 in the London A(to)Z booklet!) Less funny, but closer to my heart, is of course Fleming Rd. :-)
Index, abbreviations and translation to DKish:
Several examples of "street-street" names exist: Vale Cl., Grove Rd. (63/K1), Terrace Rd. (65/J1), Mews Street, Park Gdns., etc.
Last updated: 2001.03.22