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The designatory part of the names of Sawley streets can be split into different groups. Designatory means the first part of the name before 'street', 'road' etc. The first group are roads named after the place which they lead to, such as Tamworth Road, Draycott Road, Wilne Road and Lock Lane etc.
In days gone by when there was little traffic on the roads compared to today, the people of Sawley paid little attention to where the roads led. Tamworth Road was then known as Front Street opposite Sawley Church, and Bridge Street after it turned the corner towards the river. Cross Street was the straight section of what is now called Wilne Road, joining Tamworth Road. After it turns the corner near to Plant Lane, it was known as Back Street, which was still its name up until around 1930. Plant Lane still has its ancient name, which certainly existed in the eighteenth century.
Some streets in Sawley were named after farms which formerly occupied the land. Firs Street, Ladylea Road and Fields Farm Road all come in this category. The Firs, which was Ironmongers' farm, had two large Fir trees by the front door, in the street known as East End. Other streets were named after the builders who developed them, some examples are: Mannion Crescent, Austen Avenue (named after Austen Jervis) and Reedman Road.
Miscellaneous personal names were also used on occasion, Hey Street was so called after the Reverend Samuel Hey, a popular rector of Sawley in the 19th century. Towle Street was once Towle Close, which was given to the Towle family in the Enclosure Act. Harrington Street comes from the Earls of Harrington who were Lords of the Manor at the time. Several of these streets were named after aristocratic families such as Blandford Avenue (Marquess of Blandford), Shaftsbury Avenue (Earl of Shaftsbury), Portland Avenue (Duke of Portland), Grosvenor Avenue (the Grosvenor family are Dukes of Westminster). Thoresby Road and Rufford Road are named after Ducal seats. Anstee Road is named after George Anstee Perks, the builder and developer. Clifford Close, named after the Rev John Clifford DD, born Sawley 1836. Kingsley Crescent, named after the writer, Rev Charles Kingsley. The name was suggested by the LE architect, John Tomlinson. (information from Reg Jackson) and Turner Road was named after a New Sawley family.
Grosvenor Avenue in Sawley was originally called College Street. The name had to be changed when Sawley became part of Long Eaton, to avoid confusion with the College Street that already existed there. As stated, other Sawley families gave their names to some streets such as Arnold Avenue, Clifford Close, Wilmot Street (The Wilmot family of Chaddesden Hall probably gave its name to this street, named after Sir Henry Wilmot, MP for South Derbyshire, 1869-85.) and Clarke Drive (formerly called Beaconsfield Street and changed when Sawley became part of Long Eaton).
Sawley, like other agricultural villages was based on large fields of which villagers held strips of land. This was abolished with the introduction of the Sawley Enclosure Act of 1787. Lady Lea is both an old field and farm name. Fairfield Crescent is where the old fair used to be held, hence its name. It was previously known as East End, but when houses were built there, it was thought that Fairfield Crescent was a more marketable name. Netherfield Road represents the site of the Nether Field, but Northfield Avenue did not represent a North Field, it was invented in 1935 by Mr Keith Reedman's mother, when the LEUDC was in the process of changing street names, it was originally called Gladstone Street. This was after the first big development in Sawley which was in about 1900 when the Derby Road Land Society purchased from several owners a large parcel of land to the east of the village. The Society set out extending what was then Derby Road (which was renamed Draycott Road in 1935) from the end of Plant Lane with three streets to the east: College Street (now Grosvenor Avenue), Beaconsfield Street (now Clarke Drive, named after the Rev. A. E. Clarke, a former rector of Sawley) and Gladstone Street (now Northfield Avenue). To the west two streets were set out: Towle Street, named after Towle's Close on which Towle Street was built. Towle is an ancient Sawley family name dating back to the first extant Parish Registers, and Firs Street. Both these connected with another new street - Arnold Avenue, named after Joseph Albert Arnold who owned the land there. Shirley Street was also developed about 1900 and its name derives from nearby ancient field names: Shirley Close, Shirley Lees, Shirley Corner (1788) although who or what Shirley was is unlikely to be discovered.
Chantry Close is on the site of the old Gaol Yard where there used to be a lock up where prisoners were kept overnight. In this instance a Chantry is not a place where monks chanted prayers. It was a private chapel, usually within a church, built by a - usually - wealthy patron having an altar where a mass would be said for the founder of the chapel. There was usually an endowment to pay for the priest who performed the mass for the soul of the founder or his family. The chantry was sited in the north aisle of Sawley church and was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin. It was founded by Ralph de Chaddesden during his term as prebendary of Sawley (1259-1266). It will have disappeared at the Reformation. However, a parcel of land near the Harrington Arms is shown on the enclosure map called Chantry Yard which may have been at one time part of the endowment of the Chantry, but Chantry Close was a more suitable name than Gaol Yard.
In 1921 when Long Eaton took over New Sawley and Wilsthorpe, Nottingham Road became Tamworth Road, Alexandra Street became Derwent Street, Lime Grove become Berkeley Avenue and Canal Street became Oakland Terrace. None of these names need explanation. A later change in New Sawley was Lake Street becoming Lakeside Avenue. Possibly the change was made when new houses were built and the estate agent or builder thought Lakeside Avenue more marketable. Finally, there is a pattern to some names with a common feature. Hawthorne Avenue, Myrtle Avenue, Ash Grove, Laurel Crescent, Cedar Avenue and Sycamore Road are all common names for trees and bushes. The county of Derbyshire also plays a large part in the naming of roads and streets as in Peveril Crescent, Kedleston Close, Hathersage Avenue and Rowsley Avenue. The so called 'Dales Estate' also uses names from the famous Derbyshire Dales such as Wensleydale, Ribblesdale, Farndale and Dovedale etc.
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