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
Photo below of Broadwalk Rainham - now High Street
Sign on Webster Road giving indication of the original name of the road, Milton Road