Friday, November 15, 2019

There Are No Streets in Crawley

Since September I've been trying to prove a theory that there are very few new streets in Britain. My theory is that very few roads built after 1800 are called "... Street". Britain has lots of post-1800 roads, avenues, closes, courts and lanes. I believe it has very few new streets. For some reason since 1800 town planners in Britain have taken a strong dislike to calling roads '... Street'.

Today's #30DayMapChallenge is to create a map related to names. I've taken this as an opportunity to put my street theory to the test by exploring the number of 'Streets' and 'Roads' in a UK town largely built after 1800. The new town of Crawley in West Sussex was developed after the Second World War. If my theory is true it should therefore have very few roads names 'Street'.

There Are No Streets in Crawley is an interactive map which colors all roads in Crawley yellow and all streets red. Of the hundreds of roads in Crawley only five of them are named as streets: 'High Street', 'Church Street', 'West Street', 'New Street' and 'Ifield Street'. I don't know old these streets are  but I think all five of them existed before the new town of Crawley was built. I believe all five streets in Crawley can be found on this 1896 Ordnance Survey Map. It is therefore very likely that all five of them pre-date 1800. On the other hand, while there only five roads named 'Street' in Crawley, there are lots of streets named 'Road'. It does appear that the Crawley town planners had a real dislike for 'Street'.

If you want more proof of my theory that we don't call roads 'Street' any more then you can explore the distribution of streets and roads in some of the UK's medieval cities in Medieval Streets and Modern Roads. In this post I looked at how roads named 'Street' tend to be found in the old city centers. These centers also contain very few roads. However city suburbs, mostly built after 1800, have lots of streets named 'Road' and very few named 'Street'.

Obviously the name of my interactive map is a misnomer and it should be called 'There Are Five Streets in Crawley'. However it is true that There Are No Roads in London.

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