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Street Names

We've noticed that there are a few street names in the Canning Town area referring to parts of Africa e.g. Pretoria Road, Khartoum Road and Mafeking Road, does anyone live on those streets or know their history?


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Amanda S
I don't have any particular knowledge of the history of this area however I can venture a guess.  Those were all names related to the Boer war - the Relief of Mafeking being a particularly significant moment.  Since many of the houses in this area were built just after the Boer War it's not surprising that these names were used.  There is a part of East Ham with similar Boer War references, with Mafeking Avenue and Ladysmith Avenue for example.
Kenny M
I like the naming of streets etc - even the nelson Mandela estate that Del boy and Rodney lived on. It happens all over Britain (I'm from glasgow myself). Street names from a while back were obviously named after battles etc - an not just streets; the boer war gave the name for the Kop one end of Liverpool FC's stadium, and there are a few other teams that call their terracing (as was) the Kop. 

Anyway, it's good when they were named after wars etc that locals were involved in, but there are also loads of street names that seem to have been named after people who were just high-end mates of whoever ran the country at the time - maybe it was a sort of honours system before those people started buying knighthoods etc (in those days knighthoods etc were more or less guaranteed because of social status etc).

London is full of other great names. my favourite is Elephant & Castle, so named because that's what yer man in the street thought that's what 'Infanta de Castilla' (some foreign bird brought over to marry some royal type - sorry, don't know the details) sounded like. As a Glasgow guy, that sort of stuff makes me love  London - really appreciate the attitude that turned the name into elephant & Castle.

Back to Amanda though. I'm in E7, at teh E15 end, and my local streets are called Atherton, Clova, Norwich, Earlham... what's all that about?

Ian R
Amanda is correct but also streets have such names because of the docks and ships coming and going from all parts of the world in that part of London, but particularly to do with that war at the time of building.
Amanda S
That's a fun story about Elephant and Castle Kenny.  I didn't know that.  Being a former Norwich resident myself I was aware of the Norwich-related roads in E7. Earlham and Sprowston are both areas of Norwich, so obviously the road namers had a bit of a soft spot for the place.  Clova and Atherton are nothing to do with it though, so no idea.
Might be worth checking on old census maps whether these road names are original - the old LCC went through purges of renaming streets to themes after WW1 to create work for returning soldiers - park bandstands are a good example.
@Digger37, will definitely do that.

@Kenny, that story about Elephant and Castle was a good one.

We had thought that a lot of the names were related to the docks, but hadn't realised how much influence the Boer war might have had. So thanks for pointing that out.

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