Friday, September 11, 2009

Thematic streets

Well, I knew that town planners from time immemorial
have, when all other inspiration has dried up, indulged in
the slightly licentious practice of thematic street-naming.
Straight off, I can think of a couple of Wellington examples:
the cluster of Brooklyn streets named after early American
presidents (Lincoln, Jefferson, Garfield, Washington), and
those in Island Bay owing their provenance to British rivers
(Tamar, Severn, Mersey, Clyde). First prize for imaginative
overreach still has to go to Auckland’s Pakuranga for its
Dickensian splurge (Oliver Twist Ave, Pickwick Parade,
Copperfield Tce and—my favourite—Bleakhouse Rd), but I
have only just learned that virtually every street in the
western Waikato town of Pirongia bears the name of a
19th-century European explorer who sought the Northwest
Passage across Canada: Beechey, Belcher, Bellot, Crozier,
McClure, Ross—with pride of place, the main street,
Franklin Rd, sacred to the memory of the massively
incompetent Sir John Franklin, who not only failed to find
the way through but got stuck in the ice and vanished with
all his crew, never to be seen again until three frozen
corpses turned up 30 years ago. Can any New Zealand town
save perhaps, Martinborough, with its world city theme
(Dublin, Venice, Cologne, New York etc) match this?


Will de Cleene said...

Khandallah in Wellington has an Indian sub-continent theme; Bengal, Calcutta, Punjab, Madras Streets, etc.

Anonymous said...

Stratford - every name is Shakespeherian

Old Geezer said...

Napier has English writers: Carlyle, Thackeray, Tennyson, Dickens and Shakespeare. Taihape streets are named after birds. Invercargill has Scottish river street names. Strathmore, Wellington's street names are associated with the Queen Mother's Cavendish-Bentinck ancestors (to honour her first royal visit in 1927).Brooklyn, Wellington has American Presidents. Hamilton has a suburb where streets are named after early New Zealand governors and governors-general. And as for Nelson... kismet, Hardy Street?

Anonymous said...

There is an Indian cluster in Christchurch's Cashmere as well: Bengal Dr, Shalamar Dr, Delhi Place, Chittagong Lane, etc. The gimmick is that Cashmere is a mis-spelling of Kashmir.

I think most NZ cities have their clusters of great-English-writer streets too. In Sydenham, Chch, you get Wordsworth, Coleridge and Byron Sts close together. The incongruous thing is that it's all panelbeaters round there now.

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