Street Names of Stornoway (Part One of Several)

20 02 2009

Cromwell Street: Named after Oliver Cromwell. Before he became Lord Protector of Britain, the Roundhead leader used to run a small bed and breakfast on what is now known as Cromwell Street. The B&B was located roughly where the Library is nowadays. Oliver was famed for cooking kippers for breakfast, but was often accused of preparing them in a   cavalier fashion.

Lewis Street: Not in actual fact named after the Isle of Lewis. This street was named in honour of King Louis XIV of France. King Louie was a regular visitor to Stornoway prior to having his head cut off, as he was a keen peat-cutter. Each May Bank Holiday, a French Man-of-War would appear in Stornoway Harbour and the King and his courtiers would row ashore, armed with taliskers, spades and peat creels. The French royal party would then make their way to Point and spend the day turfing. King Louis would return several times during the summer to do the cutting, lifting and finally taking home the peats in a French merchant vessel. The peat was used to heat the Palace of Versailles. The King was pleased by its unique aroma. The King’s wife, Marie Antoinette was famously heard to say ‘Let them heat peat’, on hearing that peasants couldn’t afford their fuel bills. King Louis stopped coming to Stornoway after he had his head cut off.

Frances Street: This street was not named after someone called ‘Frances’, as originally assumed, but was actually called ‘France’s Street’, after the large number of French peat cutters seen walking up it to get to Point. In later years, many Frenchmen could be seen walking up and down France’s Street with peat draped over the handlebars of their bikes.