Over the past eighteen months a city-wide research project has been on-going on the origins of the street names of Sunderland and a publication is anticipated on completion of this work.  No doubt most Wearsiders will be aware of some street name origins, many of which are obvious, but there are, however, many which are shrouded in history.

Some streets are named after the city's famous sons, some have links to notable families and others to the old industries. What is certain is that there was a reason for all the street names. Someone, at some time, has sat down and given their time and thoughts to the naming of each street - if only these individuals were still around to give their explanations.

One of Wearside's most famous sons, Sir Henry Havelock, the hero of the Relief of Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny, is recalled with no fewer than three streets currently carrying his name, Havelock Terrace, Havelock Street, General Havelock Road and Havelock Court. Havelock School was built close to the old Ford Hall, Sir Henry's birthplace and Lucknow Street was built in the east end of the city. Hudson Road was named after George Hudson, the M.P. for Sunderland from 1857 to 1859 and the man who financed the building of Sunderland's South Dock.  At Millfield, the John Candlish Road was named after the man who was the town M.P. from 1866-74. Notable familes such as Maude and Williamson are also recalled in streets on both sides of the Wear.

One of Sunderland's nineteenth century magistrates, William Ettrick, is remembered through Ettrick Grove. He used to preside over the courts held in the George Inn in High Street.

Pann Lane, which is still in existence, received its name from the salt-making industry which existed centuries ago on the banks of the Wear whilst Salter's Lane recalls that salt was carried by pack-horse along a road that linked Ford, Grindon, Seaham and Hartlepool, from where it was exported.

Crowtree Road takes its name from the murder of crows which nested in the trees there whilst Hendon is derived from the old English hind-denu meaning hind's dene or valley.

'Garth' is interesting in that it originally meant ground used as a yard, paddock or garden. the word was derived from the old Norwegian gard  to the English garth - hence Assembly Garth and Numbers Garth. In the 1930s Burleigh, St. Patrick's and Wear Garth were built in the east end of the town.

Centuries ago the Lord of Dalden once owned a summer residence in the area we know today as Pallion. It was desribed as 'Le Pavylion' in the early fourteenth century but by 1408 the name had been changed to 'Pavillion'. It seems that with the passing of time the name was eventually changed to 'Pallion'. Uncertainy exists over the origins of the name 'Pennywell' with one conjecture being  that  the word 'well' is derived from the Old English wielle meaning spring. The word 'Penny' was mentioned in Bishop Hatfield's Survey where it stated ' five tenements were let at a penny farme' (or rack rent). The area of present day Pennywell was, at that time, in the Manor of the Bishop and no doubt was one of the five penny farms referred to. Hence: 'the spring on a 'penny' farm. - Pennywell.  The 'spring' in Springwell comes from the Middle English word meaning a copse, clump or trees or spinney - hence 'the spring among the trees'.

Little imagination was used in the naming of the streets of the post-war Council estates of Sunderland. They were simply given names (with a few exceptions) that begin with the same initial letter - e.g. T. in Thorney Close, P in Plains Farm, H in Hill View, R in Red House, F in Ford Estate. Town End Farm street names begin with a B as T had already been used in Thorney Close whilst Farringdon streets being with an A as F had already been used in Ford Estate.  Now just who thought of that? Well one of our members has informed us that in the 1950s the Town's Planning Department was situated in Stockton Road and employees there at that time were asked to come up with appropriate names for the many new streets being erected on the new housing estates of the town.