Aintree Street, SW6

Place Name

Originally called William Street this was one of the many road names that fell victim to the first major review of London’s street nomenclature. As the city expanded hamlets, villages and towns in the surrounding countryside became part of the urban landscape. It meant that places that were once entirely separate entities became intertwined, which in turn led to confusion for, among others, the Royal Mail. Names that were once common in almost every village – particularly those named in honour of the ruling monarch – now appeared to be a short distance from each other. It was an issue that the founder of the modern postal system took head on as the Times Literary Supplement explained in its 1912 review of List of Streets and Places within the Administrative County of London: “The first powerful impulse towards the reduction of the inordinate number of King-streets and Charles-streets and William-streets which still cause confusion come from Rowland Hill in 1856. He declared that there should not be two streets of the same name in London and secured Parliamentary powers for the newly constituted Metropolitan Board of Works to begin reducing them… [the book] gives a list of fifteen of the commonest street names which in 1856 were borne by 443 streets. By the year 1868 confusion was worse confounded for the number had swollen to 615.” Before widespread development of the area in the late 19thCentury this was surrounded by open fields and market gardens. The name, after the area in Sefton, Merseyside, would appear to have been chosen at random but may have been inspired by the venue of the (still recently, 1839) founded Grand National.

 

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