KEITH - the Moray town were the streets have no name - was finally dragged in the 21st Century today.
For more than century the 54 tiny lanes which lead off Mid Street, Moss Street and Land Street - three of the distillery town’s main thoroughfares - have been nameless or been unofficially called after nearby shops and pubs .
But the council has now stepped in to give each of the unidentified lanes an official title following concerns raised by the emergency services about the ability of people to identify their location accurately enough to emergency service call centres.
A total of 108 name plates are being put up by Moray Council workmen over the next few days. The new names - some in Doric - mainly reflect the burgh’s history and distilling and weaving heritage and have been picked by local councillors following discussions with the local community council and heritage group.
The new names include : Sodgers Lane, Fairmers Lane, Smiddie Lane, Weavers Lane, Bankers Lane, Distillers Lane and Coopers Lane.
Moray Council convener Councillor Stewart Cree, who lives in Keith, said: “The requirement to have adopted names for the many lanes running between Moss Street and Land Street was highlighted some years ago by the emergency services who had experienced some difficulty in responding to calls from houses and other premises situated on these lanes.
“Following considerable discussion and consultation a decision was taken to name the lanes in a way that reflects the history and character of Keith and, in particular, the professions and occupations that have been prevalent in the area.
“In this way the names represent all of the community rather than recognising any individual and I am delighted that this is now being implemented. I hope that those who now visit Keith will gain some insight into our heritage simply from the names on the lanes and that generations of weavers, sodgers and fairmers will be recognised for their unique contribution to our community.”
Fellow Keith councillor Gary Coull explained:”The lanes in Keith have been known by various names over the years dependant on what shop is on the end of them, or the shopkeeper who owned the shop on the end of them. It was felt by the emergency that we needed to standardise the names and give them official names so everybody knew exactly which name was given to each name.”
Councillors had decided that, rather than name the lanes after individuals, the new identities for the lanes should reflect the town’s history and heritage.
He said: “The naming of the lanes in Keith has given us an opportunity to recognise the heritage of jobs within the town and surrounding area. While we could never recognise every job important to the area we have tried to capture a feel of the industries that were, and continue to be, important to Keith.
“We have also tried to reflect the Doric language in some of the names – a language which continues to be used in the area. While people will have their own names for some lanes depending on the shop that was at the end of it, hopefully this will give some consistency through the coming years and allow future generations to remember the hugely important heritage and industries of Keith.”
He continued: “We have names such as Distillers Lane, Weavers Lane and Spinners Lane, recognising the distillery impact and the woollen mill impact that we’ve had here in Keith and trying to encapsulate the heritage that we’ve got here.”
Councillor Coull added: “I’m not sure why they have never had official names before. They have changed along with local circumstances. We had a pub at the top of the street which one lane was known after. The pub has now gone and it’s now named after the youth cafe that’s down the lane.It just changes with the various generations that come along.”
The council has estimated the cost of erecting the 108 signs at £11,500.
What’s in a name?
The street names are: Bankers Lane, Bankers Lane West, Bankers Lane East Broad Lane, Broad Lane West Pipers Lane, Pipers Lane West, Pipers Lane East Ploo Lane, Ploo Lane West, Ploo Lane East Coopers Lane, Coopers Lane West Distillers Lane, Distillers Lane West, Distillers Lane East Fairmers Lane, Fairmers Lane West, Fairmers Lane East Festival Lane, Festival Lane West, Festival Lane East Findlater Lane, Findlater Lane West, Findlater Lane East Institute Lane, Institute Lane West, Institute Lane East Langstane Lane, Langstane Lane West, Langstane Lane East Legion Lane, Legion Lane West, Legion Lane East Provosts Lane, Provosts Lane West, Provosts Lane East Railway Lane, Railway Lane West Simmereve Lane, Simmereve Lane West, Simmereve Lane East Smiddie Lane, Smiddie Lane West, Smiddie Lane East Spinners Lane, Spinners Lane West, Spinners Late East Sodgers Lane, Sodgers Lane West, Sodgers Lane East Weavers Lane, Weavers Lane West, Weavers Lane East.