Alderney Street, SW1V

Place Name

Without a doubt this street name has one of the most complicated back stories in London. Originally called Stanley Street after George Stanley, a local landowner and son in law to Hans Sloane having married his daughter Sarah in 1719. This street was laid out over the manor of Neate, on which this road was laid out. But in 1879 the name Stanley had become so ubiquitous in street nomenclature that it was decided it needed to be changed. Not wanting to lose the connection with the original name they chose Alderley, after Lord Stanley of Alderley, a former president of the Board of Trade and Postmaster General. In his obituary published on December 11, 1903 The Times painted a picture of a complicated man: “Lord Stanley’s was no ordinary character, for, together with marked eccentricities and peculiarities, he combined a warm heart and no small measure of native shrewdness. In the House of Lords, where he was accommodated with a seat at the table during debates by reason of his unfortunate deafness, his figure was familiar and his voice not less so. He was a persistent speaker, by no means amenable to the discipline which Lord Salisbury exercised over many other Unionist peers, but the House received little benefit from his utterances, since his voice was weak and his articulation hurried. Moreover, he mixed much chaff with the grain, so that the sterling quality of the latter was apt to escape notice. In Wales, Mussulman (a Muslim) although he was, he was an ardent supporter of the Established Church, and the diocese of Bangor in general, and the island of Anglesey in particular, owe many a small church, rebuilt or restored, to his generosity. As a landlord he was greatly beloved by his own tenants, in spite of a somewhat imperious manner, for he gave close personal attention to his estates, kept his farm buildings in excellent order, and made a hobby of improved dairy accommodation. On the other hand, he provided a weapon ready to the hand of the agitators upon the Welsh land question by dint of his inveterate and openly avowed practice of shooting dogs found at large in the fields, and of taking the consequences. His constant presence, his insistent but kindly curiosity, his open purse, and his flashes of shrewd suggestion will be missed both in Anglesey and in Cheshire.” Indeed so difficult a character was Lord Stanley that he objected to the honour and so the name was changed yet again to Alderney, requiring only a minor change and having nothing to do with the island.


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