Street Names – statement

STREET NAMES: I first became seriously interested in photographing street names through doing family history research. Census records tell us where our long forgotten ancestors lived, and often the street names themselves tell us much about the history of the area in which they lived. My own father was born and brought up in a two up and two down terraced house in Fort Road, Bermondsey. I have never visited the place or seen the house, which I believe no longer exists, but the name of the road has a significant resonance in relation to the stories that my father told me of his childhood. I have yet to discover the origins of the road name as there is no obvious sign of a ‘fort’ there on Google Earth.

Behind many street names there is often such a hidden history. The street in which I currently live derives its name from the long lost industrial buildings which dominated the local landscape. The road name (and the products produced) is all that is left of this industrial past. Likewise other road names can refer to ancient trades and tradesmen, events and historical figures, rights and rituals, battles and achievements that are commemorated in the given road name. The street name can derive from the particular location but it can also be to do with the events of the time in which it was officially named (or re-named).

The street name can carry hidden messages about the people and the place, but then so does the sign itself, through its condition, style and general state of repair. The setting and immediate environment has something to say to those who take the interest to ‘read’ the body language of the road name and the way that it declares itself to the passing world. Click on any of the images below to return to the Street Name Gallery