A new book explores not just the rich history of Bognor Regis’ street names, but also the history behind the roads themselves.
It comes from historian Ron Iden, twin brother of the late Chichester artist, Peter. Ron, who lives in Bognor Regis, was inspired by the Bognor historian Gerard Young and went on to co-found the Bognor Regis Local History Society. The society’s second meeting featured a talk on Bognor street names – and Ron was hooked.
“That was the initial inspiration. I used to work in the county record office until I retired which gave me the opportunity to take this on. I am working towards a much bigger volume, more an encyclopaedia of Bognor Regis, but I am going to take a year off from that. But to pacify those who have abandoned all hope of ever seeing that published, I have come up with this book.”
The Street Names of Bognor Regis, Bersted and Aldwick: An Historical Gazetteeris available from Bognor Regis Museum in West Street, from Felpham Post Office, from Kim’s Bookshop in Chichester and Arundel and from Ron himself at 10a Devonshire Road, Bognor Regis, £10 plus £1.70 first-class p&p, £1.50 second-class p&p.
It covers an area from Barrack Lane in the west to Aldingbourne Rife in the east and north to Elbridge and Shripney, excluding Felpham, Middleton, Nyetimber and Pagham.
If you’ve ever wondered where Snag Lane, Stansted Lane, Sheepwash Lane, Circus Street, Mill Lane and Great Bognor Lane were, this is the book for you – equally if you want to know the origins of the names Craigweil, Sudley, Sturges, Bassett, Lyon and Glamis streets.
“The book includes every street that exists today in Bognor, Bergsted and Alwick bar two. One was finished this year so it went over my deadline, and one I passed on my bicycle just after the book had gone to print – a little cul de sac called Lancaster Place, apparently commemorating an aircraft that came down in World War Two.”
As Ron suggest, it all points to a wider history. Clues to a town’s past can often be found in its street names.: “Whilst some of these may be inspired by the builder of developer, older names can indicate what came before, recalling notable visitors and landowners, former field names and features or local occupations.” In the book, Ron promises an A-Z jigsaw of his home town’s colourful history – a massive work put together, Ron is pleased to say, entirely without using the internet: “I have got a horror of digital technology, I am afraid! Most of my sources were the record office. The most important source was the run of building bylaw council plans.”
Delve into the book, and you will discover where the barracks was in Barrack Lane and where the chapel was in Chapel Lane. You will also find out why old London Road is newer than the main shopping area...
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