New Names To Old Streets.
( Originally Published Late 1800's )
In your last Supplement, p. 634, A. Z. notices the practice of giving new names to old streets in this Metropolis. Some, perhaps, have been changed for more reputable names, as the streets have been improved by more respectable inhabitants : such as Poor Jewry-lane ; Cow-lane, Smithfield ; Petty France, Westminster, now called York-street, etc. ; but however modernized, I understand the old name is retained in the parish books.
There is another point with regard to new streets which I have noticed, and that is, the Orthography. I will mention two, which I have recently observed, both leading into Russel-square : at one end of Guildford-street the d is omitted, and to Montagu-street the e is added ; to prove that both are incorrect, it is only necessary to mention, that the first is named after the town in Surrey, the latter from the name and title of the Duke, who built Montagu-house, now the British Museum. The builders of streets think of profit, and to give a fashionable name ; with propriety, or orthography, they have nothing to do, and the work is left to an ignorant painter; but I think the better-informed resident, against whose house the erroneous word is painted, should have it corrected, and this I should certainty do if the case were my own. Allow a short illustration : I was lately at Brighton ; in passing down a street, a painter was at work, to name a court or passage; he had proceeded, "Belle Say." "Hold," said I, "my friend, you intend to make the v a u."--" No;" was the reply. "Then you should omit the e in Bell, otherwise you will paint an English to a French word ; either let it be ` Bell-Savage,' or ` Belle-Sauvage.' —Said the man, " I suppose you are right, but I must follow my instructions on this paper ; for myself, I am ignorant of language, and thought I was following the directions of those who knew better."