In this blog we take a selective look at some Brimington street names, particularly focussing on those that are lost. We’ll be using the 1881 census as our baseline.
Anyone reading the census enumerators’ returns will be able to fairly quickly build up a picture of who lived where and what they did, age, occupation and the family they had. Census analysis also helps us understand how the village grew and helps profile the economic activity of its inhabitants.
But the census also gives us some indication of what various areas were called before the days of house numbering and street name signage.
Naming the streets
In Brimington the parish council decided to name the streets in December 1901. Presumably this meant that the names already in existence would either be adopted or altered. It appears the council also arranged for local iron founder Herbert Ashmore (who had a foundry at the back of Church Street) to supply and erect the signs. Prior to this naming and plating of the streets it might well have been difficult for a stranger to have found their way around.
But this work wasn’t actioned on the ground until the summer of the following year. By this time Queen Victoria had died and a new Edwardian era was dawning.
Looking at the 1881 census reveals a number of now unfamiliar street names as the enumerators picked their way across the parish. Here’s just a selection, with a brief explanation of what happened to the names (the ones described in the 1881 census are in bold).
John Street and Heywood Street – no change there.
Fiddler Lane – now Foljambe Road – probably from when the council renamed the streets in 1902. This street is named after the Foljambe family – one-time lords of the manor. They were an important family in the Chesterfield area until the 1630s.
Burnell Street, Princess Street, Albert Street, Queen Street, Victoria Street and Victoria Place – the latter has vanished and Albert Street has become King Street. Albert Street must have originally been named after Queen Victoria’s consort Prince Albert. He died in December 1861, so it was some time before the 1881 census. Presumably Albert Street’s name was changed to King Street – after King Edward VII succeeded on 22 January 1901. It was in December of that year that the parish council first decided to rename the streets. They were probably keen to display the village’s patriotic side following his accession to the throne.
High Street, James Street, Cow Lane, John Street – James Street is now George Street, but the change may be a little more complicated. James Street appears on an 1898 Ordnance Survey map but so does George Street – occupying the street now known as Cross Street. By the next map edition of 1916, the James Street name has vanished – it’s labelled George Street. The 1891 census makes no mention of James Street either. And what has become of the former George Street? Well, on the 1916 map it’s now known as Cross Street. Of course, the 1898 map location of George Street could be a mapping error. (Incidentally it’s believed that James, John and George Streets were named after members of a once influential family in Brimington – the Heywoods. Heywood Street is obviously named after this family too).
Cow Lane, of course, still exists, but the village end is now Coronation Road. Was this again displaying the council’s patriotic tendencies when they renamed the streets in coronation year?
Staveley Road, Church Street – There’s no change to Church Street, but Staveley Road is now Ringwood Road. In this area, also noted in the census, is Toll Bar House and Cropper’s Buildings. The toll bar house was shortly to be removed. This was a small structure on the then Staveley Road, pretty much opposite where Robinsons Caravans is now. Those passing through would have had to pay a fee to the toll bar trust (who had improved the road). The Chesterfield to Worksop Turnpike Trust had been established in 1739 and was abolished in 1883. The toll bar gates were removed in August of that year. Cropper’s Buildings are those illustrated here. They were built by the Cropper family, hence the name.
Back Street is now Hall Road (after the 1920/1930s demolished Brimington Hall). For many years it was indeed a back street with very little traffic on it – hard to imagine in the 2020s.
Wheeldon Mill Road is now Station Road. The Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (later Great Central Railway) station at the bottom of Wheeldon Mill having been opened in 1892, this must have been another 1902 parish council initiated change. Now, of course, there is no station on Station Road.
Brimington Common is perhaps the most curious. This long road to Calow was for many years in the census just described as Brimington Common. At some time, this became known by three names. The village end became Manor Road, the centre section North Moor Road and the Calow end South Moor Road. It’s not yet known if these names dated to the council’s renaming of the streets (none of Ashmore’s plaques survive here). It wasn’t until 1949/1950 that the road became known entirely as Manor Road. One might imagine the confusion that the three names were potentially causing visitors to the area at the time.
House numbering was not normal practice at one time either, hence the reference highlighted earlier in the census, to Toll Bar House and Cropper’s Buildings, on Staveley Road (now Ringwood Road). It appears that house numbering was not actually addressed until 1905.
There are, of course, other examples of what various roads, streets and areas were called, and have been changed to, but for now we’ll call time on this little exploration of Brimington’s lost street names mainly through the census of 1881.
We have previously written about the census in Brimington:
Information in this blog is sourced from the 1881 and 1891 census and various Ordnance Survey maps.