street names

street names
In Britain, main roads outside towns and cities are known by numbers rather than names. An exception is the A1 from London to north-eastern England, which is often called the Great North Road. Roads that follow the line of former Roman roads also have names, e.g. the Fosse Way. If a main road passes through a town, that part of it usually has a name, often that of the place which the road goes to, e.g. London Road.
  The main shopping street in a town is often called High Street, or sometimes Market Street. Many streets take their name from a local feature or building. The most common include Bridge Street, Castle Street, Church Street, Mill Street, School Lane and Station Road. Some names indicate the trade that was formerly carried on in that area. Examples are Candlemaker’s Row, Cornmarket, Petticoat Lane and Sheep Street. Many streets laid out in the 19th century were named after famous people or events. These include Albert Street, Cromwell Road, Shakespeare Street, Wellington Street, Trafalgar Road and Waterloo Street. When housing estates are built, the names of the new roads in them are usually all on the same theme. Names of birds or animals are popular. Others are based on the old names for the fields that the houses were built on, e.g. Tenacres Road, The Slade and Meadow Walk. The name of a road is written on signs at each end of it, sometimes together with the local postcode.
  Some streets have become so closely identified with people of a particular profession that the street name itself is immediately associated with them. In London, Harley Street is associated with private doctors and Fleet Street with newspapers.
  In the US main roads such as interstates and highways are known by numbers. Most towns and cities are laid out on a grid pattern and have long streets with avenues crossing them. Each has a number, e.g. 7th Avenue, 42nd Street. The roads are often straight and have square blocks of buildings between them. This makes it easier to find an address and also helps people to judge distance. In Manhattan, for example, Tiffany’s is described as being at East 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, i.e. on the corner of those two streets. The distance between West 90th Street and West 60th Street is 30 blocks.
  As well as having numbers, many streets are named after people, places, local features, history and nature. In Manhattan there is Washington Street, Lexington Avenue, Liberty Street, Church Street and Cedar Street. Some streets are named after the town to which they lead. The most important street is often called Main Street, and one that is especially busy and lively often has the informal name of the drag or the strip. A suburb or subdivision of a city may have streets with similar names. In a subdivision of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, all the names end in ‘wood’, e.g. Balsawood Drive, Limewood Drive and Aspenwood Drive.
  Some roads are called boulevards, with Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard and Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard among the best known. Avenues sometimes cross streets, as in New York, but often the word is chosen as part of a name for no particular reason. Avenue and boulevard once indicated roads with trees along each side, but few have trees today. A road in the US is usually found outside cities, though Chicago uses the name for some central streets.
  Some street names have particular associations: Grant Avenue in San Francisco is associated with Chinatown, Beale Street in Memphis with the blues, and Bourbon Street in New Orleans with jazz. In New York Wall Street is associated with the financial world, Madison Avenue with advertising and Broadway with theatres.

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Universalium. 2010.

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