Tuesday, 21 June 2016

who lives down drury lane

Via the latest edition of Marginal Revolution’s assorted links, we are introduced to the discipline of civil engineering that’s inexorably connected with the streetwise and politic archeology that either celebrates or banishes the heritage of place through time.

As the most present and immediate sign of the times, either true and tethered to some landmark or subject to the revisionists of history, physical addresses—inherited or imposed by a regime that in the name of order wants to assign residents of a ghetto or favela to a fixed abode—carry an enormous burden, often but not always a reflection of the desired and generic demographic and favoured figures of the times.  Walking through neighbourhoods, one does often encounter streets named for local sons and daughters, for a certain landmark, mills and water-wheels no longer there, a craft-guild or spot reserved for certain commerce, but more often than not there are rather pedestrian and sanitised thematic quarters (and not just in newer developments), named after trees, non-controversial artists and composers, the next village along the road’s route, European capital cities, etc. This obvious (or subtle) reflagging does pique one’s curiosity to find what naming-conventions addresses had in prior years.  What do you know about your street’s name and history?