Wiltshire Council rules say Marlborough cannot have 'Elsie Knocker Road' - it would have to be plain 'Knocker Road'. 'Are they serious?'
The plan to name new roads on the Salisbury Road development has hit something of a roadblock - due to a Wiltshire Council rule which Councillor Nick Fogg describes as 'idiotic'. A road in Wiltshire cannot be named after a person using both their Christian (or forename) and their surname.
With the centenary of the First World War in mind, the idea was to name the new roads after some of the Marlborough men and women who served overseas and returned to the town - rather than using names already remembered on the War Memorial.
Councillor Fogg told the Town Council meeting (January 22) that the developer, Redrow Homes, was enthusiastic about this plan.
He told councillors that London has some 30 roads and streets with both names - such as Anna Neagle Close and Vera Lynn Close (both in E7). He also pointed out: "As a Derby County supporter, I'm pleased that the road linking Derby and Nottingham is called Brian Clough Way."
The most glaring - or in Councillor Fogg's word, 'ridiculous' - result of this rule is that the suggested road name 'Elsie Knocker Road', would have to be just 'Knocker Road' - and would surely become one of the most sought after targets for those whose lives apparently centre round collecting so-called 'rude signs'.
During the First World War, Marlborough nurse Elsie Knocker worked with fellow motorcycle enthusiast Mairi Chisholm for the Belgian Red Cross ferrying the wounded out of the front line. They became known as 'The Madonnas of Pervyse" and were among just seventeen women awarded the Military Medal during the 'Great War'.
As someone said to your reporter after the meeting: "Are they serious?"
It gets worse. Councillor Fogg told councillors that Wiltshire Council's 'Address Information Officer', Jackie George, "...has rejected out-of-hand naming a road after Walter Lawrence on the grounds that there's already a Lawrence Acre in the town. So some petty bureaucrat can defy local opinion so that a man who served his country faithfully for five years and achieved further distinction should be consigned to the dustbin."
Walter Lawrence was born in the Roebuck Inn, served in the Middle East and after 1918 in Russia. He was world racquets champion in 1929, was secretary to Sir Gordon Richards - and is the 'Lawrence' of the College sports shop - Crosby and Lawrence.
Councillor Fogg has written to Wiltshire Council Leader Baroness (Jane) Scott asking her to intervene. And he has sent her the first 6,000 words he has written about Elsie and her colleagues. His 6,000 words does not get them to the front line: "... they haven't even left Victoria Station yet!"
Come to think of it, it is about time Marlborough had a Sir Gordon Richards Road - following his amazing career as a jockey, he trained racehorses at the Bonita Racing Stables in Ogbourne Maizey and had a bungalow on the gallops there. Would it have to be 'Richards Road'? That might please cricket fans. Could it possibly be 'Sir Gordon Road'? It obviously would not be 'Sir Gordon Richards Road'.
When they get round to naming a road after Councillor Nicholas Fogg will it have to be 'Fogg Road'? It is a very good thing that one of Marlborough's best known roads was not named after that well known Marlborough personality Mrs Cherry Orchard....!
One thing is certain, if the Council's rule on naming roads sticks, Wiltshire will never have a 'Jane Scott Road'.
We reported the previous Town Council discussion on naming the new roads here - where you can see the fine Royal Mail stamp commemorating Elsie and Mairi.