Tuesday 5 June 2012

Street Signs

Streets bearing the same names can be found in every district. There are at least twenty Prince's Streets, Queen Streets, Charles Streets, etc. Then each appellation is subdivided into lane, road, place, terrace, row, etc. and even these are not necessarily adjacent. The street may be at one end of London, the terrace at the other. It is most dreadfully confusing. When at last you have located your street your troubles are not over. Numbers are carelessly painted, sometimes illegible, or they may lurk playfully round the corner of some other street as though having a game of hide and seek. It is impossible to remember a house however often you have been to it as all the others are identical, and the whole row seems to stare at you in derision with its shutterless windows like glassy unblinking eyes. The name of the street is not indicated in a uniform way as it is in Paris, but just haphazard - sometimes on one side only and in a variety of letterings. As other inscriptions are also to be seen on walls and houses the unwary foreigner is liable to make most ludicrous mistakes. The adventures of the wretched Frenchman who most carefully copied out "Commit No Nuisance" and gave it as his address are too well known to bear repetition, but there is no reason why the story should not be perfectly authentic.

Francis Wey, A Frenchman Sees the English in the Fifties, 1935

1 comment:

  1. Ha ha, and I thought I had trouble finding places nowadays!