Is your street name weakening your Scottish identity and/or your religiosity?

DCF 1.0

Caledonia Road, Ayr (c)

One of the local Ayr hotels has changed its name from the ‘Carrick Lodge’ [only a mile or two out of Carrick and really in Kyle] to the ‘Fox and Willow’. I’m sure many readers will have noticed similar Anglicisations [or are they bourgeoisifications?] in their local areas. I seem to remember reading that the burghers of Falkirk added the ‘l’ sometime way back to make it sound more English and ‘proper’. It makes no sense as the original Faw Kirk means ‘speckled Kirk’.


‘Dr Oto-Peralías, of the School of Management at the University of St Andrews, compared the street names of Scottish Westminster parliamentary constituencies with a recent population census asking people to identify their national identity. In areas with a lower number of such union-themed street names, people were more likely to describe themselves as having a ‘Scottish identity only’. People living in Scottish areas with street names commemorating Britain, such as ‘Queen’, ‘Royal’, ‘Regent’ or ‘London’ are less likely to define themselves as Scottish only, new research from the University of St Andrews has revealed.’

The study published in the Journal of Economic Geography also found that people living in areas with a high proportion of streets referring to ‘church’ or ‘chapel’ were more likely to identify as Christian. See this:


a-left) Street-name indicator measuring the historical importance of Christianism (percentage of streets containing the word ‘church’ or ‘chapel’)

b-right) Percentage of the population identifying themselves as Christian (from census data),1745319,en.php

The correlation with religiosity seems a bit weak in parts of these maps especially West central Scotland. Three strongly Christian areas are there yet they’re clearly deprived of street names to keep up their spirits (;-). Also street names in North-east Scotland failing to stem the tide of atheism.

There’s a street in Muirkirk called ‘Pagan Walk’. The RC Primary School used to be there but has since closed. Who knows how many ‘Union Streets’ there are. Maybe I should move from my current address at……guess?


20 thoughts on “Is your street name weakening your Scottish identity and/or your religiosity?

  1. socratesmacsporran November 16, 2017 / 12:41 pm

    John, Pagan Walk in Muirkirk is named after Tibbie Pagan, a contemporary and friend of Burns, reputedly the original writer of ‘ the ewes tae the knowes. Tibbie came from Muirkirk.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gavin November 16, 2017 / 12:55 pm

      Still Pagan’s in and around Muirkirk.


    • johnrobertson834 November 16, 2017 / 3:47 pm

      I know but it was more funny without telling folk that. I have an evil streak in me.


  2. gavin November 16, 2017 / 12:54 pm

    I can only imagine Dr Oto-Peralias had lots of time on his hands, or cannot sleep at night. This “study” seems to me, an utter waste of time and effort by a person who has had the benefit of a good education.
    But if its worth doing, he could do it properly, and expand his research to Australia, Canada and New Zealand. There he will find lots of streets, towns and villages with names redolent of “Britain”, and if he can extrapolate that information into a bettering of human knowledge, he is a better man than me (which he almost certainly is, anyway). Do the people of the old commonwealth, feel any less national, because of their street/village/town name?

    Bye the bye—there hae been mony a Saturday Nicht where I have been “Peraliased”, in my long gone, wasted youth. Sorry, couldn’t resist.


    • macgilleleabhar November 16, 2017 / 1:39 pm

      Aye Gavin I can just remember my wasted youth and a saying we had then,
      “A weekend wasted is not a weekend wasted.”

      Back on topic I admire the good people of Strathbogie and the good people of Bogie Street in Huntly for not wiping the name of the map.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Marlene Halliday November 16, 2017 / 3:15 pm

    Oh dear, I’m surrounded by street names featuring Churchill, Marlborough, Edgehill, and Randolph. We do have an SNP MP though 😉


  4. Ludo Thierry November 16, 2017 / 5:37 pm

    Hi all – Marlene, are Randolph Street or Road etc in Scotland not named after Thomas Randolph of Murray? (He led the 2nd battalion @ B/burn and Randolph’s schiltron was on The Bruce’s left). I lived for many years in a street bearing the name ‘Victoria’ and it instilled in me a hope that – one day – we’d be able to change it to one more relevant. Not sure where that places me in the good Dr.’s scheme of things? – My understanding is that any Union Street or Union whatever in Scotland is likely to be commemorating the entry of Ireland into the Union in 1801 (?) – but, personally, I would be happy changing them all to Independence Street or Independence Gardens or whatever in the very near future!

    PS – The establishment wouldn’t permit Speaker Bercow to be Alex Unleashed’s guest for his inaugural show – so Alex the Magician produced President Carles Puigdemont of the Republic of Catalonia as substitute!! Exocet hitting target mid-bows I’d say!

    Cheers, Ludo


    • Brian November 16, 2017 / 7:16 pm

      I’m sure he just beat the BBC, ITV and Sky.
      Ironic (to me anyway) that the Catalonian attempt to (at least) establish the principle of self determination has been all but ignored by UK Media. Once Puigdemont went to Brussels, that was it. So it takes the Russian state broadcaster to host an interview with the Catalonian president to allow us to hear his views and plans.


  5. Alasdair Macdonald November 16, 2017 / 5:42 pm

    I think this is a serious point and one which is part of the cultural colonisation that has been going on since 1707. Look at how Gaelic names have been removed or distorted over the centuries. Look at the names of settlements like Fort William, Fort George, Fort Augustus. The same happened in Ireland and Wales.

    Many new housing developments have PR derived names like ‘Laburnum Grove’, ‘The Coppice’, etc.

    I think the depth of the cultural colonisation is illustrated by the outspoken hostility amongst many Scots to the addition of place names in Gaelic on Railway Stations and road signs and the denial of the geographical extent of Gaelic speaking.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. mike cassidy November 16, 2017 / 6:43 pm

    I was brought up in a Fife village where the new streets of the Fifties were things like Woodstock Place, Ivanhoe Avenue, Abbotsford Road…

    Talk about Scottish propaganda!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Brian November 16, 2017 / 7:10 pm

    I am more amused by the naming of our newest hospital after “Queen Elizabeth”. A woman who has never used an NHS hospital in her life. All part of the plan I’m sure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alasdair Macdonald November 17, 2017 / 4:47 pm

      I have heard some call this place, “Betty’s”


  8. Ludo Thierry November 16, 2017 / 8:00 pm

    Just thinking – could it be that the streets with names associated with Victorian and Edwardian Ukanian big-wigs (Victoria Road, Roseberry Place, Balfour drive etc etc) are tending to be found in the parts of our towns and cities where the classic stone built/slate roofed, suburban villas built around these years are found? These properties have tended to maintain their values and would be counted as solid moneyed/professional class areas. These more comfortably off voters were, reportedly, more likely to have supported the ‘status quo’ (Cue the music jokes from John!) during the Indyref. This element of the electorate (better off, older age profile – often with professional pensions and tending to own the properties lived in etc are – in many societies – viewed as most likely to be reluctant to see ‘change’ in the political/economic structures – as a whole – but with many individuals holding very different ideas).

    PS. Here’s hoping Alex – having travelled to Belgium to conduct his interview with the President – doesn’t feel he has to join him in political exile to avoid being ‘thrown in the Tower’ as The Drouthy Baron (and others) were calling for.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Robert Innes November 17, 2017 / 7:46 am

    Hi there,

    Even where a local Scottish name is incorporated into a development (I almost said “scheme”), they don’t always get it right. In Halfway, Cambuslang, South Lanarkshire, we have the massive “Drumsagard” housing development, still under construction. This is a corruption or mis-spelling by the Promoter of the local name “Drumsargard”, which I think sounds much posher and more attractive than the more “gaggy” “Drumsagard”. “Drumsagard” really grates on my ear.

    If I lived there, I would mount a campaign to reinstate the old name.

    Just my opinion.


      • Robert Innes November 24, 2017 / 7:07 pm

        Hi John,

        Thanks for the information. I didn’t know that, though the knowledge makes me even more irritated.

        I also discovered an “Avenue Street” in Rutherglen. I thought at the time that whoever came up with that name must really have been scraping the inspirational equivalent of the bottom of the barrel, but later found that the road was previously the site of the “avenue” approach (presumeably tree-lined) to Farme Castle.


        Robert I


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