The Null Device

Gropecunt Lane

Today's Wikipedia featured article is about an old English street name:
Gropecunt Lane (pronounced /ˈɡroʊpkʌnt ˈleɪn/) was a street name found in English towns and cities during the Middle Ages, believed to be a reference to the prostitution centred on those areas; it was normal practice for a medieval street name to reflect the street's function or the economic activity taking place within it. Gropecunt, the earliest known use of which is in about 1230, appears to have been derived as a compound of the words "grope" and "cunt".[1] Streets with that name were often in the busiest parts of medieval towns and cities, and at least one appears to have been an important thoroughfare.
Although the name was once common throughout England,[2] changes in attitude resulted in it being replaced by more innocuous versions such as Grape Lane. Gropecunt was last recorded as a street name in 1561.
There are currently no streets named Gropecunt Lane in England, them all having been renamed to things like Magpie Lane, Grape Lane, or in some cases, Grope Lane (attributed by the prudish to the narrowness and darkness of the street, not to any untoward activity having taken place there). Perhaps the time has come for a campaign to undo these shameful acts of vandalism and restore this piece of English history?

There are 3 comments on "Gropecunt Lane":

Posted by: Greg Sat Jul 11 23:46:38 2009

It's a rather unsubtle name isn't it? I wonder if it reflects a more direct, Germanic style of early English, prior to all that post-Norman-invasion faffing about? If we're going to restore this name to streets where prostitution is/was popular, we should follow suit and rename Brunswick St "CoffeeChat Street", Highpoint shopping centre "BuyCrap Place", and Wall St "Bailout Lane".

Posted by: acb Sun Jul 12 13:39:48 2009

I was thinking that, if Melbourne's tram routes had names like long-distance trains do, the #11 which goes from St. Kilda's Fitzroy St. to Brunswick St. should be called "The Lattelander".

Posted by: Greg Mon Jul 13 08:55:11 2009

The 96, which runs between St Kilda and East Brunswick, could be the "Can't quite afford to live in latte lander"