Monday, January 22, 2007

Pretentious Mews

I live on Dorchester Road. It is not in Dorchester nor does it lead to Dorchester. It is - to use that most dreadful of modern terms - aspirational. Name the street after a cozy southern town and you might forget for a moment that you are looking down on the mills of Brighouse or chemical works of Huddersfield. There is nothing particularly new in this practice : housebuilders developed the concept of spin years before the politicians jumped on the bandwagon.

However, recently it seems to have spun itself onto a new, quite preposterous, level. Just up the road they have erected a series of signs pointing towards new housing developments. Granted, Belgrave Court is in the Dorchester Road mould. Chequers might be if it referred to the Prime Minister's country residence, but you can't be sure today. But Intrigue : what is all that about? The intrigue is why anyone would want to live in such a place. There is another sign in Huddersfield pointing towards a big mill conversion which is called "Equilibrium". In Mirfield there is a similar development called "Fusion".

I am starting a new campaign for a return to good, old-fashioned street names. Names like Brick and Tile Terrace (just down the road in Brighouse), Bog Lane (that's in Leeds), Bonegate Road (Huddersfield) and Slippery Ford Lane (Bradford). And as our house backs onto the local crematorium, in future people can contact me by writing to 3, Crematorium Gardens, Huddersfield.


  1. Round us water is good. So all the new estates that have turned what used to be our beautiful rural canal into a city drain are Waterside, Waterways, and Whatabloodysillyname for an estate whose main claim to scenic beauty is a view of our canal boat. (Okay, I made that one up.)

  2. Yes, we are quite good on islands here, even though we are sixty miles or so from the sea. There is a new converted mill down the road located between the canal and the river which has somehow become Mill Royd Island.


Blurred Transition

  Memories are rarely in sharp focus, especially memories from half a century ago. Time, places and people all get blurred in the transition...