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When recently reading Dickens's description of Dr. Manette's residence in "A Tale of Two Cities" , I found in the notes to my edition (B&N Classics) the following: "A replica (of 'The Golden Arm') hangs above a residence in what is now Manette Street in Soho". (See also: Part of additional adjacent buildings that they also acquired in Manette Street was the site of the Old Goldbeater's House. )

So it appears that the name of that particular street in London was changed to Manette Street to commemorate Dickens's memorable Manette family of that novel. This struck me as quite unusual: Naming streets and buildings to memorialize people who actually lived is of course commonplace, but I don't recall ever hearing of a street being named after a fictitious character from a novel as an attestation that said location was the place where something fictional occurred.

Was/is this practice commonplace in England or Europe, or is London's Manette Street something exceptional: A great testimony to how beloved and believable Dickens's writings and characters were to the British.

Edit (and change of question title) in reference to the answers:

Several have mentioned clever, catchy naming schemes of places referring to fictional characters, but have no real connection to the fictional characters. The uniqueness of Manette Street is that it's designating a real place on the map as the site of the residence of fictional characters. i.e. - By calling it "Manette Street" they were essentially saying "This is where it happened", although the story is fiction.

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city I live in has an entire suburb where the streets are named after cartoon characters. So it's certainly not unique. –  jwenting Aug 20 '13 at 5:02
    
@jwenting - so what is it like to live in Disneyland? Seriously - that is interesting but I surmise that it's a tract that was developed in the USA all at once and they just decided on a naming scheme that was catchy - a bit different I think. Where I grew up there was such a neighborhood - guy named all the streets after people in his family - "Janet Street", "Alice Street", "Robert Street", etc. Where I live now there is an area where all the streets are named after fruits and vegetables for the same reason: developed as one tract and the developer came up with a catchy naming scheme. –  Vector Aug 20 '13 at 5:19
    
Not the US, nor the area of the city I live in :) But many cities here have a practice of using themed naming conventions for residential areas. So you can have an entire suburb with streets named after flowers, another named after composers, yet another named after cartoon characters or television celebrities. –  jwenting Aug 20 '13 at 5:25
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@MarkC.Wallace - "No - it is not common. I have lived in London my entire life and never seen another example of such a thing; Yes-it was fairly widespread. I live in London and I can name 20 streets with similar names". Any answer can be opinion based, but can also be factually and statistically based. With your criteria, I believe I could find justification to close every question on this entire site.I believe that LouisRhys voted to close because it's not a history question-although I don't agree with him, I understand his POV. But you are opening the door for closure of all questions. –  Vector Aug 20 '13 at 16:06
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Mas a Tierra in the South Pacific was the place where Alexander Selkirk, inspiration for the fictional character Robinson Crusoe, was marooned in 1704. Fittingly, in 1966 Chile changed the name to Robinson Crusoe Island. –  Jørgen Aug 20 '13 at 17:43

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

There are a number of streets in the UK, and I'm sure that there are in other countries too, that are named after literary characters. For example the town of South Woodham Ferrers, in Essex has a number of streets named after characters from Lord of the Rings. E.g.

Arwen Grove

Elronds Rest

Galadriel Spring

Gandalf's Ride

Meriadoc Drive

Thorin's Gate

Treebeard Copse

And characters from several other books do occasionally become street names - I believe that there are a number of D'Arcy Streets/Drives etc.

That said though, I would not say that this is, or was, an especially common practice. Most councils publish, via their websites, a street-naming guide or policy that outlines the process of naming and renaming streets. As an example, Wiltshire Council's street naming policy can be found here, with the guidrlines for street naming on page 9. This policy does not mention street names based on literary characters - so it is not prohibited but if it were a common practice I believe it would be mentioned.

Edits:

I've done some further research on the subject matter and it does appear that the practice is pretty rare. I've only found a couple of other examples of streets being named after a character.

The closest is named after another of Charles Dickens' characters, Philip Pirrip. This example is Pirrip Close, Gravesend. Pip was supposed to have lived in the marsh area of Kent, some 20 miles from the sea. The street in Gravesend is in Kent and is around 13 miles from the sea as the crow flies.

The other example I could find was Little Dorrit Park and Little Dorrit Court. Little Dorrit is a character (Amy) in the book/series of the same name, once again written by Charles Dickens. The court and the park and both situated near where Marshalsea Debtors Prison was situated.

Other than that I struggled to find examples - one area I looked at closely was Bath, a town where Jane Austen lived for a period and where two of the books she wrote took place - however I could find no examples where any of her characters were memorialised as a street name.

So I think answer to the question that that it's something that's done infrequently, only in cases when the fictional character and/or writer is exceptionally well known. Dickens was one of most popular writers in history relative to his time, and his stories and characters are well known and beloved the world over - he is the exception, not the rule.

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Interesting, but: See my comments above to jwenting about a clever, catchy naming scheme of places that have no real connection to the fictional characters. Your example fits into the same category. As for your other references - you tell me. The uniqueness of Manette Street is that it's designating a real place on the map as the site of the residence of fictional characters - because Dickens used real-life references in his books. Virtually all of his great novels are 'historical' in some sense. –  Vector Aug 20 '13 at 7:41
    
i.e. - By calling it "Manette Street" they were essentially saying "This is where it happened", although the story is fiction. But I don't think anyone is claiming that Meriadoc Drive was the residence of Meriadoc Brandybuck, etc. LOL –  Vector Aug 20 '13 at 8:07
    
lol, I wish that were the case. The final paragraph should go some way to answering your question though. I'll try and amend it if I have time later. It's quite common for hotels etc. to be named after famous literary places and characters - Jane Austen's novels alone have lead to many such names. –  Kobunite Aug 20 '13 at 8:38
    
TY, I'll see what I can do. –  Kobunite Aug 20 '13 at 8:51
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For the record, I am more than happy with the edit made by Vector - I'm not entirely sure how I forgot to actually make a conclusion. :-/ –  Kobunite Aug 20 '13 at 20:01

In Poland, where I live, there are also many streets that are named after fictional characters. Usually, this practice dates for about 30 years.

The Winnie-the-Pooh St. in Warsaw (Ulica Kubusia Puchatka) dates 1950s. I can't find the source now, but I read that it was the first street in Poland to be named after a fictional character.

There are now lots streets in Warsaw, in new districts, that are named after non existing or legendary persons. For example, in this region there are some streets after Henryk Sienkiewicz's characters: Jana Skrzetuskiego, Kmicica and Michała Wołodyjowskiego. Wernyhora is also not certainly authentic person.

However, I've never found a street that was named after fictional eg. region, river etc.

UPDATE

There is a famous, semi-grotesque tv series, dated in 1980s., in fact anti-communist, but made with trick, so censorship allowed it, which is called "Alternatywy 4". This is some kind of wordplay, because the action takes place in residential building placed on the Alternative Street in Warsaw, building number 4. The address was fictional, but in 2006 the real building with the address Alternatywy 4 was erected in Warsaw (Google Maps). The building is modern-style, and does not however look similar in any way to the "original" one from the TV series.

Probably some bars or cafes are named after places from fiction, where they were to exist, but I don't know any example of such practice for streets (but it does not mean there aren't any).

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See edit to question. –  Vector Aug 20 '13 at 8:50
    
See update to answer. –  Voitcus Aug 20 '13 at 11:53
    
Your example is interesting and perhaps is somewhate analogous - but it's only one. "Probably some bars or cafes are named after places from fiction," 'Probably' is not an answer, nor is "named after places from fiction" sufficient for the question. –  Vector Aug 20 '13 at 16:10
    
@Vector I know, the text about cafes was commentary, to help you perform some other research, I can't help more, but consider the text about building as an answer (even if it's very short and only one example). –  Voitcus Aug 20 '13 at 16:56
    
I'd like to, but I can't take one example from Warsaw in modern times as an answer to the question as stated - I edited the title to be more specific. I did give you an upvote. (I give an upvote to anybody who makes a reasonable attempt to answer a question - doesn't cost anything. :-) ) –  Vector Aug 20 '13 at 17:25

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