HOW STREET NAMES HAVE CHANGED by Freddie Cooper

Action Forum, July 2004

The names of various roads in Rainham have changed over the years, some by accident and some by design. Starting at the eastern extremity, in 1867 the present Seymour Lane was Wakeley Lane and by 1901 it had become Moor Street Lane. There is obviously a close association with the Wakeley family who until very recently lived at the house on the corner of the Lane, which incidentally is the only property which has retained the ancient mounting steps by the front gate.

Coming a few hundred yards to the west, Meresborough Road was previously Almshouse Lane, said to have been associated with the alms-houses at the top of Otterham Quay Lane. Mierscourt Road has also had many changes; being Bush Lane then Chapel Lane after the congregational church was first built at the northern end, and then Meres Court Road which was changed for some mind-boggling reason to Mierscourt. At one time I had to draw attention in the press to the spelling at the bottom which was 'Miers' with another nameplate further up as Meres', the latter being more correct as obviously both this road and Meresborough were originally named after the de Mere family who had estates in the area. In some maps Mierscourt is combined, in others it is two separate words.

Maidstone Road was Bredhurst Lane at one time, and in 1929 when Rainham was absorbed into the borough of Gillingham, all roads in Rainham which had a similar name to those within the Gillingham area were altered to avoid misunderstanding. Thus Hamilton Avenue became Salisbury Avenue, Oxford Road became Durham Road, and Shakespeare Road became Hothfield Road. Milton Road is now Webster Road (presumably after Dr Webster) and Station Road was White Horse Lane before the railway came in 1858.

The only name now duplicated is the High Street which has been somewhat complicated by the Post Office now trying to persuade people to leave Rainham out of their address. This means that places in High Street Rainham are stated as High Street Gillingham. Whilst the Post Office may sort by coding, it can be very misleading to other people.

  • Maidstone Road was Bredhurst Lane
  • Meresborough Road was previously Almshouse Lane
  • Seymour Lane was Wakeley Lane/Moor Street Lane
  • Mierscourt Road has also had many changes; being Bush Lane then Chapel Lane
  • Salisbury Avenue was Hamilton Avenue
  • Asquith Road was Oxford Road ( What road became Durham Road?)
  • Hothfield Road was Shakespeare Road 
  • Webster Road was Milton Road 
  • Station Road was White Horse Lane
  • Broadwalk became High Street

 

Broadwalk Rainham - now High Street

Comments   

-1 #6 Pamela Smith 2016-08-21 20:15
My grandmother was born in 34 Milton road, Rainham and the family lived there for many years. Often wondered where it was but looks now road name was changed. Be pleased to hear any further comments/details.
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+1 #5 Andy 2016-04-02 19:09
After seeing the comments above I went along Webster Road today and can confirm the sign is still there. I'll get it loaded on the site shortly
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0 #4 Denise 2016-04-02 19:08
Broad walk has now been changed from high street rainham to moor street rainham.
Orchard street is still the same.
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0 #3 robyn 2016-03-30 22:39
I have an ancestor who lived in Street Orchard in 1871 and Broad Walk in 1881. Are these the same roads?
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+1 #2 Denise hazelden 2016-01-19 10:24
To who it may consern,
the mountain sisters are still living at milton househouse, the name plate is still on the gate,I am the gardener of milton house and I remember you coming to milton house to take some photos of the house so you could keep the memories of where your mum lived.
Looking forward to your reply
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0 #1 Frank Graham 2013-09-05 18:15
It is with huge sadness I see that my mum's childhood home, Milton House (in Webster Rd) has now had its nameplate removed. Presumably the property has been sold; the two dear spinster sisters who lived there from about 1932 on have to have passed away by now; they were so kind to me when I visited from South Africa in 1982, 1983 and 1994. I wish I'd kept up with them.

That nameplate has to have been the last link with the original name Milton Road. I never lived there but I loved that house because of past associations. The Mountain sisters told me that when they were no more, it was going to be turned into an old age "home". God, the new owners / trustees could at least have retained the name.
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