Monday, October 25, 2004

Tracing origins of road names

What is in a name after all?
Apparently a lot, going by the names of most City roads.
Deccan Herald

Ever tried to find out the meaning of names of some of the streets in Bangalore? Take for instance Bride Street. Whatever did that mean to the Britishers staying there? Did the street have several English brides hailing from the lane at one point of time? Or take for instance Berlie Street or Primrose Road or even Prime Street. Then there are these lovely quaint names like Castle Street, Alexandria Street, Myrtle Lane, Lavelle Road, Norris Road and Eagles Street. Not to forget, Convent Road, Magrath Road and Langford Road.

Did Myrtle Lane have myrtles and did Primrose Lane have primroses? And was Eagles Street named so after some British victory over the natives, or was it an insignia of a battalion? For instance, it is not hard to imagine why Infantry Road, Brigade Road and Cavalry Road were named so, but did you know that Residency Road was called so because the Mysore Resident shifted his office and home here and the road along the residency came to be called the Residency Road.

Sankey Road was apparently named after Sir Richard Sankey, who was the chief engineer of Mysore. And Austin Town was named after a one-time British Resident Sir James Austin. Coles Park came from British resident Arthur Cole.

It is easy to imagine why St Marks Road got its name -- St Marks church still exists there. But would you have believed that Church Street was named so, as it was the road that led to the church on St Marks Road. Museum Road had a museum. Hospital Road in Gandhinagar had two hospitals then, but now liquor shops crowd it. Incidentally, have you seen a single dispensary on Dispensary Road, which is full of bike shops now.

Although, some of the names of roads and streets in Cantonment are a mystery to me, the names came from the British living around the area. The British were attracted to the City for its lovely climate and called it “a little bit of England in India.”

Europeans and Anglo-Indians lived in Cantonment area, which is dotted by these genteel English street names where still nestle some old colonial homes.

Some of these street names are centuries old, but Bangaloreans find it easy on their tongue, although many of them have new names now. For example, how many of you remember that Residency Road is Gen Cariappa Road now. Try telling the auto driver to take you to Gen Cariappa Road or try asking him to take you to Kengal Hanumanthaiah Road, which is actually Double Road in common parlance.


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