From Shacklock to Shamrock :
A look at house names in Sneinton

By Stephen Best





Sneinton Mill Bungalow 1922

27-33 Penarth Villas 1902

59 Finsbury House 1906


35-41 Shacklock Villas 1902

61 Hazelmere



63 Oakhurst



65 Woodlands

9 Harrington House (on


125-(127) Oban Villas



159-161 Oak Villas

15 Trentham Lodge (on

9-11 Castle View 1890

70-72 Rouen Villas


27-29 Newark Villas

74-(76) Milan Villas



116A-(118) Caxton Villas




11-25 Coronation Buildings




9-15 Regent Buildings 1959


45 Clarion House (on glass fanlight)


3-7 Hornbuckle Villas AD 1900

49-51 Chatsworth Villas


11A-13A Cooper Villas

53-55 Hawarden Villas



57-59 Glaisdale Villas

104-(106) Flint Villas 1896


61-63 Pelham Villas



65-67 Eskdale Villas





64 Largs House 1901





68 Holborn House 1909


2-4 Durham Villas

70 Winefride Villa



72-74 Sedgley Villas







Hydra Villas 1908

45-47 Shamrock Villas

1 Oakleigh

19 Raven Cliffe


Ena House

4-6 May Villas

3 Hazel Dene

21 Arn Cliffe


Crocus Villas

8-10 Ena Villas

5 Quarry Dene

23 Holme Lea


Sycamore Villas

12-14 Ivy Villas

7 Sleights Holme

25 Thorn Lea


Daisy Villas

16-18 Fern Villas

9 Dane Holme

27 Glen Ellen


Lily Villas

20-22 Cedar Villas

11 Ash Leigh

29 Glen Dene


Pansy Villas

24-26 Laurel Villas

13 West Leigh

31 Glen Holme


Rose Villas

28-30 Palm Villas

15 Rock Side

33 Glen Esk


Poppy Villas

32-34 Myrtle Villas

17 Alder Side

35 Rock Leigh


Lilac Villas

36-38 Beech Villas




Violet Villas

40-42 Woodbine Villas



In a few cases it is not clear just how many houses were covered by a single name, and brackets are used to indicate that a guess has been made.

FRONT ELEVATION OF 59 SNEINTON DALE, from building plans submitted in 1906. Points to note are the intended name of the house, and the architect’s spelling.FRONT ELEVATION OF 59 SNEINTON DALE, from building plans submitted in 1906. Points to note are the intended name of the house, and the architect’s spelling.

FEW THINGS tell us more about the tone of a new community than its house names. We are all familiar with those wooden boards which proclaim the residents to be 'Jackanada', or describe a householder's struggle to buy 'Costa Lotta'. Interesting though they are, names like these are chosen by individual occupants and can easily be replaced when a house changes hands. Far more enduring are those names which are incised on the fabric of the house, usually on a stone panel or an arch above the porch. Chosen by the original builder or developer, they can commemorate a local family, celebrate a fashionable holiday resort, or express a vision of gracious suburban life with open country close at hand. Such names are poorly documented, so I thought that it would be interesting to record all the 'integral' house names still existing in Sneinton in 1985. This enterprise involved a good deal of walking, and I think that I saw every house in Sneinton during the course of my explorations: the real joy of discovering unspoiled Edwardian tiles in front porches was offset by the suspicious glances of vigilant house­holders at the furtive figure standing outside their homes, notebook in hand. I would like to believe that I have listed for posterity every surviving house name in the area, but in my own defence I ought to point out that I have obeyed all 'keep out' and 'Private' notices that I encountered. Nor have I tried conclusions with the several fierce dogs which guard some Sneinton properties. I should be glad to hear from anyone who can add to the names listed here.

It can be seen that only Sneinton Hermitage and Ena Avenue were treated to anything approaching an extensive programme of house naming locally. Sneinton Dale and Colwick Road each received a half hearted attempt at thinking up names more or less on a theme, while Sneinton's other house names were bestowed in odd ones and twos. Before looking at some of these houses and the stories that lie behind them, a few 'near misses' may be mentioned, it was evidently intended that 32—34 Baden Powell Road should be named, as a blank stone still awaits engraving, and quite an ambitious scheme of names must have been anticipated in Kingsley Road, where numbers 1-23 and 2-16 all bear unused name plaques. While there are no named houses in Perlethorpe Avenue, the name of the street itself appears upon a stone panel on two of the houses, together with the inscription 'WW1902', which refers to W.A. Wagstaff of Dale Street, for whom Perlethorpe Avenue was built. Two of the oldest named houses in Sneinton seem to be exceptions to the rule that the builder or developer selects the name. No. 9 Castle Street was built some time after 1861, but is likely to have received its name, Harrington House, from Edward Harrington Thurman, maltster and licensed victualler, who was living there by 1888. A few doors away, No. 15, now Trentham Lodge, was earlier called Holly House, but had its present name by 1889, when Joseph Wilson, tailor and lace manufacturer, was in residence. Both these houses bear their names carved on the gate piers. Nearby, in Sneinton Hollows, two Sneinton families are recalled by Hornbuckle Villas and Cooper Villas. Hornbuckles had been in the area for several hundred years, and Mrs. Emmeline Hornbuckle kept the Lord Nelson in the 1890s. John Cooper, a retired farmer, lived for many years at 13 Sneinton Hollows, next to where the houses bearing his name were built. 9-11 Lees Hill Street furnish a sad example of the vanity of human aspirations: Castle View they may have been for a few years, but by the end of the nineteenth century 'the houses in between' had blotted out their claim to have a prospect of Nottingham Castle. It would be pleasant to learn that the upstairs windows still command at least a partial view of the Castle. It is of course possible that Sneinton Castle in Castle Street was once clearly visible from the rear of Castle View, but I think that the namer of the house had Nottingham Castle in mind.

The named houses on Colwick Road were built soon after 1900, and nos. 49-67 suggest an attempt at creating an aura of genteel country living. Chatsworth House and Hawarden Castle were respectively the homes of the Duke of Devonshire and William Ewart Gladstone, while Glaisdale and Eskdale are beauty spots in North Yorkshire. 45 Colwick Road is Sneinton's only example of a house bearing its name on the glass fanlight above the front door. One wonders whether an early resident was a supporter of the weekly periodical 'The Clarion', which around the turn of the century was one of the most important promoters of Socialism in Great Britain.

BUILDING PLANS drawn in January 1905 for Nos. 1-29 Sneinton Hermitage.BUILDING PLANS drawn in January 1905 for Nos. 1-29 Sneinton Hermitage.

The fine range of tall houses with timbered gables on the north side of Sneinton Hermitage were designed by W. & R. & F. Booker of Albion Chambers, King Street, Nottingham. They submitted in January 1905 plans for fifteen of these houses, to be built by Jonathan Gibbons Short of Newark Street. Short had been living on St. Stephen’s Road in 1898 but by 1900 had moved to Roden Street, off Robin Hood Street. The names chosen for the Sneinton Hermitage houses indicate a distinctly up-market view of this housing development. All have romantic names with a countryside theme; some, like Oak Leigh, Rock Side and Holme Lea, are a townsman's vague notion of what a rural name ought to be, while Glen Esk, Arn Cliffe and Sleights Holme continue the North Riding flavour of the Colwick Road houses. Mr. Short must have been well satisfied with the Sneinton Hermitage properties, since by the end of 1905 he had made his home at No. 33, Glen Esk.

The other example in Sneinton of a fair number of named houses is the lower end of Ena Avenue. These, too, were designed by Bookers, in this case for P. E. Bates of Durham Avenue, Sneinton Dale. Peter Elliott Bates must have been a busy man. Prior to the turn of the century he had a bakery and confectionery business at 102 Sneinton Road, but by 1904 he was landlord of the Old Wrestlers, Sneinton Hollows, and a resident of another of Sneinton's named dwellings, Durham Villas, 2 Durham Avenue. The names for the Ena Avenue houses were almost all flowers and trees, and they are quite charming. It is a sad comment on the misuse of the English language that the name chosen for nos. 25 and 27, which must have seemed quite in keeping in 1908, is nowadays likely to give rise to more sniggering than admiration. The bay windows of these houses, though slightly different from those on the building plans, are beautifully proportioned and serve to show how ill-considered are the alterations recently made to one or two of them. P. E. Bates's association with the Bookers and with Sneinton house names was to be revived shortly after the First World War when the firm of Booker and Shepherd designed for him the house on Belvoir Hill whose carved name stone precisely gives its age and location, Sneinton Mill Bungalow 1922.

Peter Elliott Bates was not the only licensed victualler to have houses erected in Sneinton. Two years before Ena Avenue was developed, William Murfin of Victoria Avenue, Sneinton Dale, had several properties designed for him by William Everard, joiner and builder of Burton Street (now Burnham Street), Sherwood. Mr. Murfin had been landlord of the Earl Howe on Carlton Road since the 1870s, and four named houses were built on Sneinton Dale on his behalf. Plans for all of these were submitted during 1906. Between Finsbury Avenue and Loughborough Avenue were constructed three houses with the pleasantly countrified names of Hazelmere, Oakhurst and Woodlands, while on the opposite corner of Finsbury Avenue Mr. Murfin had his own house built. The elevation of this house included with the plans shows that the house was originally intended to be named Trent View. By the time it was completed, though, it had received the name it bears today, Finsbury House. The plans also show the handsome balustrade which used to surmount the corner bay window. It is to be hoped, incidentally, that Mr. Everard was a better architect than he was a speller, if these plans are anything to go by.

Westwood Road is not, perhaps, a thoroughfare in which one would expect to find a house with a name. No. 64, though, bears the inscription Largs House 1901 on a stone shield. This is a splendid house, slightly different from the neighbours, with an extra window in its frontage. A careful look at the house reveals that it was not in fact built as part of a terrace. One senses that Largs House was something out of the ordinary, and indeed the plans were submitted by our old acquaintances W. & R. & F. Booker in May 1901 for Mr. A. Hunter of Robin Hood Street, the builder to be Mr. Hunter himself. Builders seldom put up indifferent houses for them­selves, and Alexander Hunter of Dickinson & Hunter, stonemasons of Little John Street, was no exception. The house was at first No. 50 Westwood Road, but within a short time had been renumbered to 64. It was built with a pointed arch over the front door, rather than the lintel shown in the building plans. Alexander Hunter does not appear in local directories until the turn of the century, but William Hunter of Dickinson & Hunter had been resident in Nottingham for many years before then. The 1881 census reveals that William was born in Scotland, and one wonders whether the original occupant of Largs House might have come from that Ayrshire seaside resort. Another echo of Alexander Hunter's stay in Westwood Road remains to this day in an advertisement painted on the side wall of no. 64 Westwood Road. Now hidden down an entry, but doubtless visible to all before the neighbouring houses were built, is the dim legend 'A. Hunter, General Mason'.

Equally fascinating stories, no doubt, lurk behind other Sneinton house names. Had the builder of Milan Villas and Rouen Villas on Sneinton Dale enjoyed a continental holiday? Who were Flint and Shacklock, and who was the lady immortalised in the name of no. 70 Sedgley Avenue? One little bit of detective work has even been necessary in the deciphering of the name of 125-127 Sneinton Dale. Half of the name plaque is obscured by a later shop front, and only the letters 'Ob... Vil...' are visible. I can think of nothing that would fit, given the layout of the unobscured letters, except Oban Villas.

If some unexpected house names occur in Sneinton, then equally there are some unusual omissions. Nowhere can one find a house named after a member of the British Royal Family, or commemorating the South African War, which was so fresh in the national memory while much of Sneinton was being developed. It is a matter of personal regret to me that one of the most intriguing local house names is on Albert Avenue off Carlton Hill, and therefore out of our area. It is, however, too good a story to miss. The house in question bears the name Adam Bede, and I had long imagined that its builder must have cherished an admiration for the works of George Eliot. Then one day I met someone who lived there, and learned that the house had been built out of the winnings of a man who had backed a horse named Adam Bede. It just goes to show that with house names it is a mistake to jump to conclusions.

THIS ARTICLE is dedicated to the occupants of all the houses mentioned and, in particular, to the residents of Finsbury House. I am grateful to the Nottinghamshire Record Office for making available to me the relevant building plans and for allowing their reproduction here.