EDitorial ± 21-Oct-2003

Know Any History?

You may be aware that Broom Acres is situated in Broom Hill Road, a cul-de-sac off the unstoppable Norwich Road. What's more, over the pedestrian crossing there's a row of shops bookended by two pubs, the Inkerman and the Emperor. One of these emporia, the Pasta Place — still going strong after more than 18 months, thanks to young Reg — stands on the corner of Brook's Hall Road.

So far, so factual. Here's another: the newly minted Ipswich Association Football Club, formed 1878, played their early games at two sites: Broom Hill and Brook's Hall.

As the men with fine moustaches and long shorts demonstrated their dribbling prowess, terraced houses were sprouting up the length of Brook's Hall Road. Walk up the road, as I often do, sometimes sprinting to catch up with the offspring on their bikes, look up, and you can't help but notice the plaques that give the name (and year) of each property.

What say we learn some stuff, dear readers, about the origin of these Victorian names?

Rosebery Villas

Rosebery Villas
There's also a Rosebery Road on the other side of town, home to Bob's my uncle, so presumably a big name. Archibald Primrose was, briefly, the British prime minister. Taking over from Gladstone as head of the Liberals, he lasted from March 1894 to June 1895 before happily resigning. Fifth earl of Rosebery, BTW.

Benhall Villas, 1888
Er, dunno. Maybe a reference to Benhall (street or green) in Suffolk?

Benhall Villas

Salisbury Villas
Another PM, Robert Cecil, aka the 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, was in number ten no less than three times, both before and after old Primrose. He succeeded Disraeli (who doesn't merit a plaque) as big chief Tory, but was apparently clever, tolerant and practical. Can he fix it? Yes he can!

Cleveland Villas, 1881
Thought I was being smart in thinking this was none other than Grover Cleveland, twice US president. Thing is, he didn't get elected until 1885. Could be in honour of one John Cleveland, the 17th century metaphysical poet, though seems unlikely.

Cleveland Villas

Alexandrina House, 1881
Know this one? Sounds vaguely Egyptian? Alexandrina was better known as Victoria, empress of India and wife to one Prince Albert. Yep, her first name had no fewer than eleven letters.

Phew, enough with the education. What do you think the chances are that they'll be building Blair Villas and Major Cottage in a century's time?

Be seeing you!