I take issue with the Apostrophe Protection Society (“Bid to change Princes Street name”, 12 June). Like its members, I too am keen not only to retain apostrophes but also to see them used correctly, but I think they have got it wrong here.
As Professor Linda Dryden has pointed out, an apostrophe either replaces missing letters or, as in this case, implies ownership. Princes Street doesn’t belong to two princes; it is merely named after them, which makes its current name entirely proper and grammatical.
I see from the first page of the index to my London A to Z (bought in 1963) that, in a comparable word usage, there is an Abbot Street and an Abbots Drive (also Gardens, Lane, Park, Place, Road and Way).
However, although there is no street with Abbots’ in its name, there are an Abbot’s Green and an Abbot’s Road; presumably both of these do, or at one time did, belong to an abbot.