Street Names

The Four Streets

The title Street Names of Hessle is something of a misnomer as there are only four streets in Hessle – Victoria, Edward, Gladstone and Salisbury. These names have fairly straightforward derivations: Victoria after the Queen, Edward after her son, the Prince of Wales whilst Gladstone and Salisbury were Prime Ministers during her reign.

Victoria Street is named after Britain’s longest reigning monarch and was probably built around the turn of the century, the same time as Edward Street. Victoria was born in 1819. She was the daughter of Edward, Duke of Kent and Victoria Maria of Saxe-Coburg, and the Grand daughter of King George III. She was only 18 years old when she became queen. On June 18th 1838 Victoria was crowned at Westminster Abbey.

In 1840 Victoria was married to her cousin Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and they had nine children. Albert died in 1851. After his death Victoria went into mourning for many years. Although rarely seen in public after the death of Albert, Victoria celebrated her Golden (1887) and Diamond (1897) Jubilees in style and the whole country celebrated with her.

When she died on January 22nd 1901 she had been queen for over 63 years. Her children and grandchildren married into almost every royal family in Europe which earned Victoria the unofficial title of the Grandmother of Europe.

Victoria gave her name to the era in which she lived: the Victorian era. It was a time of great social, political and industrial change.

Edward Street is probably named after Edward VII (son of Queen Victoria) who reigned from 1901 to 1910. He is probably best remembered, in this area, for his involvement in the Baccarat Scandal, which took place at Tranby Croft, the home of the Wilson family in 1892.

Gladstone Street is named after William Ewart Gladstone (1809 - 1898) who entered Parliament, at the age of 23, in 1832 as the Tory MP for Newark. Gladstone was Chancellor of the Exchequer twice (1852 - 55, 1858 – 66) and Prime Minister four times (1868 - 74, 1880 - 85, 1886 and 1892 - 94). In 1865 he crossed the floor of the House to join the Liberal Party and became its leader in 1868. He retired from politics in 1895 and died three years later.

Salisbury Street is named after Robert Gascoyne–Cecil, Marquis of Salisbury (1830 – 1903) who entered Parliament in 1853 and became leader of the Conservative Party in 1881. He led three governments (1885 - 86, 1886 - 92 and 1895 - 1902). He also took on the office of Foreign Secretary. Salisbury’s policies gave rise to Britain being seen as existing in ‘Splendid Isolation’, from the rest of the world. Salisbury was the last Peer of the Realm to take on the office of Prime Minister.

The Gates of Hessle

The suffix gate is taken from the old Scandinavian word gata meaning thoroughfare, or simply road, and does not necessarily denote the presence of a gate, across the road, at some time in the past. To take York as an example we have Micklegate Bar and Monkgate Bar. Bar simply means the fortified entrance through which people passed, or in some cases a bar across the road. The same is true of Beverely which still retains its North bar

In Hessle there are have several gates: Northgate, Eastgate, Southgate, Swinegate and Prestongate. As can be seen three of these are derived from the cardinal points of the compass. Northgate was the road which led north, to Beverley, and Southgate led south, to the ferry, at the haven. These two formed part of what has been called the ‘Pilgrim’s Way’. This ancient highway used the Hessle – Barton ferry as the vital link in journeys between Lincoln and Durham (and further afield). The term Pilgrim’s Way stems from the use of the road by pilgrim’s travelling to the shrine of St. John of Beverley. The northern part of Southgate between Cow Lane (Square) and Swinegate is recorded as Town Street on Iveson’s Survey. Eastgate was the road or lane which ran alongside the eastern extremity of Hessle’s habitation and bordered Hessle Common.

We do not, however, have a Westgate though Fitzgerald tells us in Hessle; Its History, Curiosities and Antiquities that Prestongate was originally called Westgate and says that it was, ‘so called in Mr George Bayley’s will of 1685’. At some time the name must have been changed. Why is a matter for research. One theory suggests that a family called Preston lived in the vicinity and gave their name to the street. Preston is derived from Priest or Priestman and as such is one of the oldest of surnames. Alternatively it could also stem from someone who came from a place called Preston. Another source suggests that the Weir was, once, called Westgate because it formed the western edge of the habitable area of the township.

Street Names with geographical origins

Several of Hessle’s roads are named after physical features around the area. Itlings Lane for example takes its name from the Itlings, the areas of marshland, called ings, adjacent to the Humber where cattle were grazed. Though it is difficult to see how Humber View has a view of the Humber. Hillcrest Avenue is simply at the crest of the hill. South Lane is so named because it ran south but on Iveson’s Survey of 1853 he recorded it as Back Lane.

Cliff Road, Cliff Balk, Cliff Top Lane and Cliff Top Road all take their name from the chalk cliffs that once overlooked the Humber. These chalk cliffs were formed of chalk laid down millions of years ago. Before the last ice age they formed the coast line of East Yorkshire. When the ice had receded it left behind the glacial alluvium of Holderness and a new coast many miles further east. The cliffs disappeared due to quarrying that began in the fourteenth century. When the railway was built a cutting thirty six feet deep was dug to accommodate the line and the station. It was the only earthwork on the line between Hull and Selby. Redcliff Road is a little more problematic as there certainly were no red cliffs in the area. West Hill relates to the hill to the west of the town.

The Weir is recorded as Westgate in deeds dated September 1840 because it formed the western edge of the habitable area of the township. It was also shown as Wyre on maps. Another explanation of the name is that it is derived from the watercourse that ran along the route of the street. This watercourse has been shown to exist during recent building works to shops on the street. On Iveson’s survey of 1853 what we know as the Weir is marked as Tower Hill and what we call Tower Hill is named Wyre Lane. Amazingly another map dated the previous year shows the opposite. By the 1890s these roads had certainly adopted their modern names.

Names with historical origins

Many roads take their names from the ancient mediaeval field system. Southfield is one. Southfield House was built around 1838. The estate was adjacent to the station and provided easy access to Hull by rail. It was laid out around 1868 and by 1880 there were at least twelve houses. The house and estate take their names from one of the former fields of the township. Southfield has many fine mansions but shows the signs of more recent property development with modern houses some sympathetic in design to the original villas. Westfield Rise and Woodfield Lane have similar origins. Heads Lane and Little Heads Lane take their name from the heads of the arable fields, in the old field system, where a space called the heads or headlands was necessary in order that the ploughs could be turned round. Others are Crossfield Road, Northfield Avenue, Northolme Road, Circle and Crescent.

Castle Way does not take its name from the castle that Hessle did not have. It was, in fact, from a folly built in the 19th century by Mr Hall and survived into living memory.

First Lane was so named because it was the first lane on the eastern side of Hessle and marked on the 1795 enclosure plan along with Second and Third Lanes. Second Lane subsequently became Anlaby Park Road and Third Lane became Pickering Road. Up to the last century these lanes were firmly within the Hessle boundary but are now part of Hull. However, on the Enclosure map of 1792, these roads are recorded as Acre Heads Lane, Common West Road and Common East Road. Common refers to Hessle Common which was a vast stretch of untamed wilderness where it was not unusual for people to get lost in poor weather or at night. From this we get the story of the church bells being rung at seven p m. According to custom this was to guide travellers safely home after a townsman had become lost one misty evening many years ago. In gratitude, we are told that, he donated a parcel of land to the Parish Clerk together with direction for the ringing of the bells.

Station Road is the road leading to the station (or on which stands). There was no Station Road in Hessle before 1840 because there was no station until the coming of the railway. Before then it was known as Gravel Pit Road. Buttfield Road has its origin in the Butt Field, which is where the archery butts were placed in medieval times. The Hourne comes from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning corner. Beacon Close takes its names from the beacons which were placed on the Humber foreshore to guide shipping. In more recent years a beacon basket was placed there to commemorate special events.

Ferry Road was simply the road leading to the ferry at the Haven. The ferry connected Hessle and Barton for over a thousand years.

Street names derived from places

It was often the custom for roads to take their name from the place to which they led and several of Hessle’s roads are so named. Among them are: Ferriby, Swanland, Beverley, Hull and Boothferry Roads.

Apart from Boothferry Road and Hull Road all of these names date back to long ago. Hull Road came into being in 1826 with the opening of the Hull – Hessle – Ferriby Turnpike. The turnpike road to Hull was opened in July 1826 and gave Hessle a direct link with its larger neighbour for the first time. This turnpike trust was much shorter lived than the Beverley one, being wound up in 1873. Prior to the opening of the turnpike travellers between Hull and Hessle had to go by way of Anlaby. Alternative routes for those not using wheeled vehicles were by one of the three lanes to the east of Hessle, which joined the Anlaby – Hull road, or along the Humber bank.

Beverley Road, continued on from Northgate and was the road to Anlaby, Kirk Ella, Willerby and to Beverley. It was part of the Beverley to Hessle Turnpike, opened in 1796 with a toll bar at about the point where Swiss Cottage now stands; Hannah Cook was the toll collector here in 1871. A further section of toll road completed the turnpike near to the ferry where there was another bar. Ann Maw (1841) and Robert Harker (1861) were responsible for collecting the tolls. The Turnpike Trust was wound up in 1878.

Boothferry Road was built in the 1920s to provide a new route to the west, bypassing Hessle and North Ferriby. Boothferry was where a man called Booth operated a ferry across the River Ouse, near to Howden, before the building of the Boothferry Swing Bridge (opened 1929). Presumably there were other men who ran the ferry before Booth but it is his name that has been immortalised.

Kingston Close relates to Hessle’s larger neighbour and Kirkham Close is a reference to Kirkham and its abbey in North Yorkshire. Gisburn Grove is named after the Priory of Guisburn, or Guisborough, which once held the rights to the living of Hessle. Boothferry Road was built in the 1920’s.

There are also places further afield which have given their names to streets and roads: Barnetby Road, Bedford Road, Brocklesby Close, Brigg Drive, Brunswick Grove, Cambridge Road and Court, Newlyn Close, Richmond Road, Sunningdale Road, Weelsby Way and Winsthorpe Road. Many of these are the names of places across the Humber in Lincolnshire. Barrow Lane is another but it was also known as Town Side Street in the nineteenth century.

Street Names derived from people

Jill Grove and Margaret Grove are named after the daughters of the builder - Reg Dunn. Florence Avenue and May Grove may also have similar origins. The Hessle builder, Fishwick Tasker gave his name to Fishwick Avenue which he built. He lived, and had his yard, in Unity Avenue until his death in 1914. Hearfield Terrace is named after the Hearfield family, who owned whiting works on the foreshore. Clark’s Gardens are from an area of garden adjacent to the old Parish School and almshouses, belonging to John Clark.

Coulson Drive probably refers to William Coulson. There have been Coulson’s in Hessle for hundreds of years. Robert Coulson and Thomas Coulson are mentioned in seventeenth century Manorial Court records for various offences. In 1871 David Coulson ran a post office and was also a grocer. David’s son, William Coulson, became a solicitor and was appointed clerk to Hessle UDC. He also held the post of ‘captain’ of the fire brigade in 1907 and other local offices.

Bannister Close comes from Anthony Bannister. He was one of Hessle’s more renowned residents in the 19th century and came to live in Hessle, at Kingston Lodge in 1861. For sixteen years he was a Churchwarden at All Saints and there is a brass memorial tablet to him in Hessle Church, erected by his friends and colleagues. Bannister promoted the Hessle Gas, Light and Coke Company and the Hull & Holderness Railway. He sported a splendid beard and is probably better known for his political role, becoming Sheriff and Lord Mayor of Hull. He died on 18th July 1878 aged 61. Anthony Bannister’s grave in Hessle cemetery, on the northern side.

Jenny Brough Lane is after Jane Brough who, according to legend, committed suicide by hanging herself from a tree along the lane.

Tranby Lane takes its name from the hamlet of Tranby which was founded by a Danish Viking, known as the ‘Crane’ (Tran in Scandinavian) who acquired vacant land at Tranby, Tranby being derived from his name. This settlement lasted until the middle ages when it either succumbed to the Black Death or was given over to sheep farming.

Grove Hill is one of Hessle’s shortest lanes and was formerly known as Deadman’s Lane. Despite its macabre former name it was probably named after a local resident called Dedman (sic). A second version tells of how a man disappeared. Some years later a skeleton was dug up whilst foundations were being prepared for a house. Grove Hill is certainly a much more evocative name and may come from the gardens which were there up to the nineteenth century.

Davenport Avenue has two possible origins. The first suggests that a London by the name of John Davies Davenport was a member of the ‘Hessle West End Land Syndicate’ which was responsible for building houses in South Lane. Having completed those houses they acquired land to the west and laid out the street which became known as Davenport Avenue. On this land they built some houses, possibly numbers 2 – 8 to begin with. The second explanation is that a Mr Davenport acquired the land from Robert Watson. Davenport gave the land to Ebenezer Frost, a Hessle builder, in exchange for work done on his estate. The land passed to G R Cook who sold it to a syndicate the members of which divided the land and dwellings among themselves some years later. The houses, being close to the station, were readily snapped up by wealthy merchants and traders. Davenport Avenue displays some elegant houses as well as some of more modest proportions. The whole of the street was situated on land from the former south field.

There are of course some modern names in Hessle which have historical significance. Livingstone Road, close to the Foreshore takes its name from the former Livingstone and Cooper’s shipyard which stood alongside the Haven. Dunston Drive is also named after the shipyard of Richard Dunston which stood on the east of the Haven. Recently John Ellerthorpe, the Barkworth family and the Locke fami,y have all had street named after them.