Competitions nos. 134A and 134B: results

Norman Collins sets these. There is a reversal for once: the first prize in the A competition is a guinea, in the B competition, two guineas. The A competition observes that the London County Council has suggested renaming Pilgrim’s Lane, Hampstead ‘Worsley Road’. Six London streets are given – so this is a bit parochial – for renaming in a similarly ‘destructive way’, but with ‘local applicability’:

King’s Bench Walk, Park Lane, Kensington Gore, Petty France, La Belle Sauvage, and Cheyne Walk.

(As a matter of fact, the change to Worsley Road went through, but, thanks to a campaign by Michael Foot, it was reverted to Pilgrim’s Lane in 1969. There’s a good little blogpost about it here.)

Foot at home

Michael Foot and his wife Jill Craigie in Worsley Road, I mean Pilgrim’s Lane.

A whole host of also-rans (submitters not named) are listed, among them

King’s Bench Walk: ‘Fee-Snatcher’s Fairway’, ‘Wigan Walk’ (I sort of get this – the wig bit – but am I missing something?), ‘Lost Causeway’, ‘Nisi Lane’

Park Lane: ‘No Parkington Street’ (this one is credited, to Gerald Summers, very possibly the designer you can read about here); ‘Barnato Passage’ (Woolf ‘Babe’ Barnato was a highly successful and very rich entrepreneur, and also a racing driver who won Le Mans three times, in 1928, 1929 and 1930, and who drove Bentleys – he lived in Mayfair, so perhaps this is the significance; in the same three years he won Le Mans, he was Surrey cricket club’s wicket-keeper); and the suspiciously anti-semitic ‘New Jewry’.

Kensington Gore: ‘Ruddymead’ (Summers again), Lansbury Sweep (help again: George Lansbury was the leader of the rump opposition Labour Party in 1932, but I’m not clear why he’s associated with Kensington Gore – he lived in Bow Road), Harrods’ Approach,

Petty France: Passport Place.

La Belle Sauvage: Cassell Court (because that’s where the publishers Cassell were based)

Cheyne Walk: ‘Sage Street’ (lots of clever people), ‘Phone-box Parade’

The winners are Quint (Sidgwick’s unprinted loser) and Guy Innes



The B competition wanted 12 lines of poetry in the manner of Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) (Charles’ grandfather) to celebrate the discovery of a serum that cured measles. It may be that a cure for measles had been announced in 1932, but the 1950s were when a cure was found. Erasmus Darwin cited measles as evidence of a cruelty in the natural world, and was the first to coin the phrase ‘natural selection’ – not his grandson. He was interested in the nature of illness; he was also a not very distinguished poet. The winners are Yury and Lester Ralph.



Erasmus Darwin

Erasmus Darwin


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