Kirkby Street Names

Starting with Station Street

I have been researching the diaries of Gordon Parkin, my grandfather. As a result, I have developed an interest in Station Street in Kirkby in Ashfield. For more details see an Imaginary Walk Up and Down Station Street. The reason for this interest is that, for many years, this is where he had a shoe shop. Station Street is, at one end, the continuation of Urban Road. At the other end, it becomes Diamond Avenue. The now-pedestrianised Lowmoor Road is to the left. Kingsway is to the right.

1969 map of Kirkby showing Urban Road, Station Street, Low Moor Road, Diamond Avenue and Kingsway

Four Lane Ends

This latter junction, of Station Street, Lowmoor Road, Diamond Avenue and Kingsway, is commonly known as Four Lane Ends. However, my grandfather referred to it as Four Roads End.

Photo of Four Lane Ends in the 1940s from Lowmoor Road. This photo appears in the 1950 Kirkby official guide which Helen Jay kindly gave to me

Diamond Avenue

I understand that Diamond Avenue was named after Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. This took place in 1897, the year my grandfather was born. The origin of this name is of some interest to me. In 1960, I was born at 41 Diamond Avenue.

Postcard of Diamond Avenue circa 1910. The postcard seems to have been produced by Mrs A W Lane of East Kirkby
Recent photo of 41 Diamond Avenue taken on a visit to Kirkby in August 2023. I was born in this house in June 1960

Forest Hill

In the late 1920s, my grandfather and his family had lived on Diamond Avenue. In his 1929 diary, grandad gave his address as Hilly Mount, Forest Hill. Initially, I struggled to find any such address. Indeed, I wondered if it was some kind of joke about how hilly Kirkby was! However, according to Gerald Lee’s book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield Yesterday Remembered”, Forest Hill is “the name that sticks with many of the locals” for the eastern part of Diamond Avenue (see Chapter 21, p108 and also postings on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group). The name is recalled in Kirkby Heritage Centre’s book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Annesley and Kirkby Woodhouse Then and Now Volume 2” (p1) and is used by Edith Searson in her book(let) “I Also Remember” (p32).

Newspaper cuttings related to grandad’s mother’s death in 1930 gave her address variously as “Hillymount”, Forest Hill, East Kirkby and Hill Mount, Diamond Avenue, East Kirkby. Based on the electoral register for 1925, grandad and his parents were living at 158 Diamond Avenue. His sister Eva and her husband Arthur Evans were living at 160. His other sister Olive and her husband John Smith were living at 162, see Chapter 24.

I think the houses my grandfather’s family occupied are now 160-164 Diamond Avenue. Based on electoral registers from the 1920s, a house called The Gables stood between 150 and 154. But now, a house with a plaque which says “The Gables 1908” is 154. It seems that the houses were renumbered at some point. One intriguing feature of 164 is the very large garage. I wonder if this might have been build to house a bus or buses. Based on discussion on the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group, it seems that this property may have housed lorries or buses subsequently

Blidworth Road

It is interesting that where Diamond Avenue crosses Derby Road it becomes Blidworth Road. It seems that the whole of Diamond Avenue may have been Blidworth Road at some point, see postings on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group. However, it is more widely known as Forest Hill and Diamond Avenue. Blidworth Road is of interest to me because my great grandfather Henry Parkin built houses there, see Chapter 3. However, I think there were on the far side of Derby Road on the part that is still known as Blidworth Road.

Kingsway and Cemetery Road

Kingsway was previously known as Cemetery Road but was renamed following a visit by the king.

Which King?

However, in seeking to find out more about this, it seems there may be some confusion about which king visited and when!

Was it Edward VII?

According to a post by Richard Evans on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group, Kingsway was named after a visit to Kirkby made by King Edward VII. However, June Barbara Brown commented that, according to her mother-in-law, the visit by the King had been planned but did not happen as he was unwell. It does appear that a visit to the area by King Edward VII, originally scheduled for 1903, did have to be delayed because of poor health. However, it does not seem that the road was re-named as a result of that visit as the name Cemetery Road was in use until 1914.

1914 map of Kirkby which shows the roads linking at Four Lane Ends were Station Street, Low Moor Road, Diamond Avenue and Cemetery Road

Visit of King George V in 1914

Based on an article in the Mansfield Reporter in December 1914, it seems that the road was to be re-named following the June visit of King George V, see Chapter 7.

News cutting from the Mansfield Reporter of December 1914 concerning the re-christening of Cemetery Road as King’s Way. Cutting obtained through paid subscription to Find My Past. While it is written here as King’s Way, it seems to have subsequently always been written as one word, Kingsway.
While I have not come across other instances of Kingsway being spelled as King’s Way, this postcard is one example. I don’t know date but perhaps time of first world war or soon after? I believe it is St Thomas’s church on the left looking south down Kingsway.
Interestingly, Nic Clarke posted the same picture on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group but captioned Cemetery Road. Nic notes that this is from a 1911 postcard. Presumably, the card I have is later and has the new name but uses the same image

Was It a Later Visit?

The Kirkby Heritage Centre book “Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Annesley and Kirkby Woodhouse Then and Now Volume 2” (p1) states that Cemetery Road was named Kingsway following a visit by King George V in 1929. Some support for that view comes from the Kirkby and District Conservation Society booklet “A Brief History of Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Portland Park” as it contains a map (pages 50-51) dated 1921 which still refers to Cemetery Road. However, if this were the case, it would be difficult to explain why the road was already referred to as Kingsway in the 1921 census.

When Was the Change Made from Cemetery Road to Kingsway

There are some issues over when precisely the name Kingsway was adopted. However, it was sometime after December 1914. Based on burial registers, the name may have changed in late 1916 as, in November 1916, someone died who had been living in Cemetery Road, while in December 1916, someone died who had been living in Kingsway. Based on a review of news articles, the earliest mention of Kingsway is May 1916.

Extent of Kingsway

Kingsway appears to extend to the south almost to Derby Road although, according to Google maps, when it crosses the railway line it becomes Nottingham Road. This area is known locally as Shoulder of Mutton Hill and there is a street sign with this name.

Cemetery Road Was Short-lived

Kingsway may not have been known as Cemetery Road for very long. Cemetery Road only appears in the census in 1911. After that, in 1921, it is known as Kingsway, and before that, in 1901, as Low Moor Road. The 1901 census distinguished Low Moor Road and Low Moor Road North.

Extent of Cemetery Road

One question is whether Cemetery Road started at Four Lane Ends or further along, e.g. at Forest Street. The 1914 map is not completely clear. However, where the name Cemetery Road is written would seem to favour that road starting at Four Lane Ends. Nevertheless, some point out that houses on Low Moor Road only start at number 20. Granted, but this may reflect only that Low Moor Road continued across Four Lane Ends at some point.

Census Evidence

In the 1911 census, the first numbered entries for Low Moor Road are 21 and 22. There are five unnumbered entries and one which has been transcribed as number 6. However, checking the original record shows that this was in fact the entry for 61 Low Moor Road. In the 1921 census, the first even entry was for number 20. This appears to show that the first part of Low Moor Road was lost prior to the census of 1911, i.e. when the change was made to Cemetery Road and not when the subsequent change was made to Kingsway.

Kirkby Prior to 1900

I also have a map of Kirkby reportedly from 1900. However, the map itself states that survey work was done in 1877-78 with the map being updated in 1898.

This shows Low Moor Road to the north but the continuation of the road to the south is not named. So, it could be assumed that it was Low Moor Road along its entire length at this time.

The road running east from Old Kirkby is variously Chapel Street, Victoria Road, Lane End and then, perhaps surprisingly Station Road. Station Road seems to have run on both sides of what is now known as Four Lane Ends.

Map of Kirkby circa 1900. This shows Low Moor Road to the north with the road to the south being unlabelled. The road running east from Old Kirkby is Chapel Street, Victoria Road, Lane End and Station Road. Station Road is shown as running across the junction with Low Moor Road.

Low Moor or Lowmoor?

One issue I have encountered is whether to refer to Lowmoor or Low Moor Road. While most historical documents, censuses, maps etc. refer to Low Moor Road, the 1928 Kelly’s Directory refers to Lowmoor Road, see Chapter 27. This point is discussed in my Imaginary Walk Up and Down Station Street. In general, I have tended to refer to Lowmoor Road except where quoting references that specifically call it Low Moor Road.

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