Godmanchester street names have undergone substantial variations over the years, especially in the Nineteenth Century, presumably because name plates were not erected until the last hundred years. Post St still does not boast any to this day!

The Enclosure Award of 1803 gives street names in some detail. Post St. ran all the way to the beginning of London St. (Pipers Lane corner), and Causeway and Court Hall are not mentioned, except that one house (where Hampton House now stands) declares itself to be in Causeway. London Rd. also did not appear and London St. went right past the present Exhibition corner to the edge of the town. The Swan Inn (Hatton House) and the Rose & Crown (where Post St. widens out) were given as being in High St., a name which does not appear again until on a postcard of 1898.

In the present Cambridge St., properties are described as being in East St. or Cambridge St. indiscriminately, just as the owners decided, apparently. Broadly, those nearer the river are East St. and those farther east are Cambridge St. and the latter continues past the White Hart right to the edge of the built up area. Confusingly, one property (roughly where the Comrades Club now stands) is shown as being situated in Horse Shoe St. - the only time this name has been noted.

Similarly, in Pinfold Lane, some houses go for that name but others for St. Giles's, a very ancient name. Silver St. is called Duck End, Earning St. is Arning St. (its correct historical name), Chadley Lane is Church Place and East Chadley Lane is Church Lane. (Have you got all that clear ? - Editor)

In the 1830 Directory, Causeway and Court Hall are still part of Post St. and London St. still comprises the present London Road. but East St. vanishes temporarily and all properties there are in Cambridge St. which, as before, stretches past the White Hart. Chadley Lane is now West Chadley Lane and East Chadley Lane is Church Lane. St. Ann's Lane makes a brief appearance as Royal Oak Lane.

By 1847, names are beginning to settle down to something like their present style. The modern names and extent of Post St., Causeway and Court Hall come in and remain. Pinfold Lane is varied by being called Peach Close at its far end (where it broadens out near Chapel House), but by 1864 it is part of Pinfold Lane once more. Cambridge St. reverts to being East St., which still extends past the White Hart, and the modern titles of Cambridge St. and Cambridge Rd. do not finally become established until about 1905. Silver St. continues to be Duck End until about the same date. The name School Hill makes a fleeting appearance in 1847 but is rare until much later.

London Rd. is used for the Census of 1851, but has to struggle for existence as against London St. until about 1875 when the modern usage settles down. In 1851, also, Chadley Lane is given as West Church Place and East Chadley Lane as Chadley Place. The little lane leading from Post St. to the churchyard is described as Church Lane and Church Place, also, at different times.

No doubt, people used names they had become accustomed to for streets. What is certain, too, is that the Allen family, who had charge of the Post Office for about 50 years down to 1898, would have had no difficulty in delivering letters correctly, whatever street names they carried.

Alone of all our streets, West St. has remained quite unaltered since medieval times.


 John Hadley