1. The Land of Green Ginger – Hull
The origins of one of Yorkshire’s oddest street names in Hull’s old town is shrouded in mystery. Many years ago in the mists of time it is said that the street suddenly changed its name from the more mundane “Old Beverley Street.”
There are many theories as to why, one being that in Medieval Times it was a place where ginger was sold and stored. Another is that the street was named after a Dutch family who lived there in the 19th Century called “Lindegreen,” which means ‘green lime trees.’ The name could have derived from a corruption of their son’s name, Lindgroen Junior. Alternatively it could have been named after another local family called “Landgrove,” and comes from “Landgrove Granger,” which means a walk or pathway to their residence. The name has been used in literature and was the title of a 1927 novel by Winifred Holtby, plus a 1935 sequel to the story of Aladdin. Visitors to the Land of Green Ginger may also be amazed by England’s smallest window on the George Hotel. This tiny piece of glass was used by the innkeepers to watch for passing coaches entering their courtyard.
2. Tickle Cock Bridge- Castleford
The titillating name of ‘Tickle Cock Bridge’ is a railway underpass dating back to the 1890s. The rude name assigned to it comes from generations of local courting couples going there to get to know each other a little better! The underpass hit the headlines in 2010 when Wakefield Council tried to change it to the rather more straight-laced “Tittle Cott Bridge,” but thanks to a local campaign it was changed back to its original, cheekier name. Unfortunately for the modern generation of young Castlefordians a more open re-development of the site and the adjacent Carlton Lanes shopping centre have made Tickle Cock Bridge underpass harder to use for the reasons that it acquired its name.
3. Fanny Street – Saltaire, Bradford
This Saltaire street name has a tragic history, as it was named after Sir Titus Salt’s second daughter who died at the age of just nineteen. She was the second of the famous industrialist’s five children and born in 1841. While on holiday in Scarborough aged 17 Fanny was taken ill and diagnosed with tubercular phthisis, a wasting disease, which led to her death in 1861; days before her twentieth birthday. Most of the streets in Saltaire were named after Sir Titus’ family, but the name of Fanny is perhaps, these days, the most unusual.
4. Butt Hole Road- Conisbrough
This unfortunately named road in Conisbrough was apparently given its name because of a communal water butt which used to be present in the area. The attention it received, including local youths baring their behinds whenever they passed the street and coach loads of American tourists taking photographs of themselves next to the sign, became too much for those who lived there. Some residents even moved out because they could not deal with the constant jokes made at their expense, or the fact that nobody believed their address even existed.
In 2009 the residents of Butt Hole Road, took action to end years of ridicule by paying £300 for a name change to “Archers Way,” in reference to the town’s castle, enabling them to finally live in peace.
5. Whip-ma-wop-ma-gate– York
York’s shortest street with the longest name baffled both tourists and residents alike as to its name and origins.
Its original name was Whitnourwhatnourgate and is first mentioned in 1505 which referred directly to its length of only 35m and meant “neither one thing nor the other.” Another theory is that it means “What a street,” which ridiculed its small size. After the 16th Century the street’s name was corrupted after it became a place to flog petty criminals and where the city’s stocks were located, which is possibly how the “Whip ma wop” part came into common usage. The suffix of ‘gate,’ is like many other York streets of Viking origin, from the Norse word for street, ‘gata.’ Nowadays it is to be found on many tourist postcards and photographs.