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.



One response

8 04 2009
The Guireans

“Frances” Street (spelt Francis Street) should actually be spelt Franco’s Street. It is a well known fact that it was named after the late Spanish dictator either:

a) In the late 30s, by members of the ultrarightist Niseach Socialist faction in Stornoway Town Council who wanted to commemorate the Generalissimo’s victory in the Spanish civil war. During the short-lived Macs Public Bar putsch, in which demagogic Barvasarian orator Alasdairdolf Sheepelgruber and his browngeansaidh stormtroopers seized control of the Council, such occurrences were commonplace.

b) In the 1960s, by the town’s seafood processing magnates, attempting to appease Franco so he would lift the Guardia Civil blockade on Goat Island and allow them to get back and fore to the prawn factory (See “Why Is Goat Island Reputed To Be Spanish Territory”, December 2008).


c) Not at all.

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