When locals in West Yorkshire won their battle to reinstate the place name ‘Tickle Cock Bridge’ last week, The Times readily welcomed the news by compiling a list of Britain’s top 30 rudest place names.
‘Cocks’ in Cornwall won the coveted title, closely followed by Worcestershire’s ‘Minge Lane’ and ‘Bell End’, which came second and third respectively.
Fourth place was awarded to ‘Twatt’. It may be noted that there are in fact two Twatts in the United Kingdom; one in Shetland, the other in Orkney.
West Sussex’s very own ‘Lickfold’ was given an honourable mention too, storming the chart at number 19. However, there was no mention of ‘Devil’s Dyke’, or indeed ‘Juggs Close’ in Lewes.
Other places to feature on The Times’ list include ‘Dick Lane’, ‘Hole of Horum’, and Derbyshire’s prized ‘Spanker Lane’.
Dr Oliver Padel, president of the English Place Name Society, based in Nottingham, said street names which today could have double meanings existed for many reasons.
“Sometimes a name had a completely different meaning and it developed over the years into something now we can potentially see as having a rude meaning,” he explained.
“Slag Lane in Haydock, Merseyside, for example, got its name from the coal slag heaps which used to characterise the area, while Juggs Close in Lewes is thought to have got its name from baskets in which fish were carried (known as juggs).”
Other roads were supposed to have an intended meaning. ‘Grope Lane’ in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, for example, was once the town’s red-light district, he said.