Cambridge's Best Street Names

4/10/2018

 

 

So you’re reading this collection of well put together, amusing and relevant pieces of writing and you’re thinking ‘Isn’t this great?’ and then you see the title of this article. Maybe you’re presuming it's some clever and subtle joke which will link into a broader and more meaningful topic. Well, no. This is solely one person’s opinion on a handful of street names in Cambridge.

‘Why street names?’ you ask – I’ll be straight with you here: this was one of the first things that popped into my mind and I thought why not go with it? (The quality of this article may prove why not but we’ll see.) Also – and I’ll let you into a little behind the scenes secret here – I’m not actually writing this while I’m in Cambridge. You may have thought that was a prerequisite for writing about the features of a town. It would appear not.


First up on this list is Mud Lane. Now I quite like this one. It’s simple and unpretentious but still vaguely interesting. I mean, it raises so many questions, like is it made only of mud? Is there any mud? What even is mud…? Ok, maybe only a couple of questions.

6.4 Mud?

Next we have Bridge Street. Now I like bridges as much as the next person (probably more if we’re being totally honest), but I have to admit that it isn’t very imaginative. I mean, yes it may go to a bridge but then so do many streets. In a similar vein, there’s also a Park Street and a New Park Street and a Park Parade and a Lower Park Street. I feel the naming boundaries could have been stretched a little here.
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3 Parky-Park Park

There’s a street called Portugal Place. I don’t have any strong opinions on it, but it does seem unexpected so I thought I’d include it as a fun, little aside.


Peas Hill. This is a bit of a misleading one as I can confirm that there is no particularly notable supply of peas in the vicinity, nor is it in fact a hill. You’d therefore be quite justified in thinking that it has rather failed as a street name. However – and this may just be my zany eccentricities talking here – I still really enjoy it. And often I think we have to look beyond this physical plane to see the true beauty of things.

8.78 No Peas, No Hills, But Wonderful Naming

Eden Street Backway. As you can see, there’s a lot going on with this name: you’ve got two synonyms for road paired with an image of biblical paradise. I mean I’ll give points for effort but I do wonder whether less may have been more in this case. Also – and call me a naysayer – but I think likening a street to perfection may be setting yourself up to fail.

5 The Street of Eden

And the best street name in Cambridge? Well, that would of course have to be Pembroke Street. Yes, that is the creative and completely unpredictable answer I’m going for. Justification? Don’t be silly.

10 It’s definitely street-naming brilliance (I mean, it’s not like Pembroke Street would be at all biased towards a road of the same name – that would just be unprofessional…)

If you enjoyed this – and why wouldn’t you? – then you’re likely to absolutely love my reviews of doors, clocks and bridges. They can all be found somewhere in the Pembroke Street archives if you really want.

Also, I’m going to try to make this a more interactive experience. Now I know what you’re thinking, ‘Andrew, how can this possibly be any more relevant to my life?’ Well, yes I know, but I thought I’d ask for some suggestions. So if you have anything that you’d like me to review then send me a postcard, or an email (afmj2@cam.ac.uk), or a coded flare signal. Will yours make the cut? I suppose you’ll just have to read the next instalment to find out. Exciting, isn’t it?

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