There’s No Place like home for us townies

LANE NAMES: Pictured in the newly named Vic Lane are, from left, Jed Clayton, Howard Scarffe, Tracy Clayton and Wendy Carter.

LANE NAMES: Pictured in the newly named Vic Lane are, from left, Jed Clayton, Howard Scarffe, Tracy Clayton and Wendy Carter.

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THERE’S no place like Castletown and now there is ‘No Place’ in the town.

A new sign naming a ‘gap’ between the Co-operative store and The Parade as ‘No Place’ has been erected and more new signs will follow in the town.

Castletown Heritage's Howard Scarffe at No Place

Castletown Heritage's Howard Scarffe at No Place

The initiative to put street signs in areas of the town previously not identified emerged two years ago, said Richard Ronan (who was then a commissioner). ‘It was a collective idea which I took on board. It has been a topic of conversation over the years, a lot of names in Castletown were debated – we’d say: “What is it called?” We decided we should do something about it.’

He and fellow commissioner Kevin Weir did a presentation to Castletown Heritage on the idea. He said: ‘We decided to find out exactly what places were called. Castletown Heritage (CH) led that. They came back with a few names, we agreed.’

CH’s chairman Howard Scarffe explained they drew on the memories of several older members of the CH committee. He said: ‘We sat round the table and people came up with places. Richard shone a light on it for us. It seemed a good community thing to do.’

The first signs are for No Place, as ‘it does not go anywhere,’ said Richard. The steps at Bank Street are called – predictably – ‘The Steps’ and a new lane created by a development where the Victoria pub used to stand, in Malew Street, is called ‘Vic Lane’. A sign for ‘Market Square’ will go up soon.

At a cost of £150 a sign (they are made of aluminium by Laxey Blacksmiths, as no town tradesman could make them) they are funded by various organisations: so far CH, Shoprite and Castletown Ale Drinkers’ Society (Vic Lane). With 13 places identified in just one night during the initial discussion with CH, there are plenty of opportunities for sponsorship, said Mr Ronan.

Asked why places should be named, Mr Ronan said: ‘It’s about creating identity. Castletown sometimes is cha-racterless in areas, though we have some lovely areas. If names have been lost in time it’s up to people now to name them.

‘Castletown has gone through a seismic shift with Callow’s Yard (the town centre development) – it brought the town to its heels. I wanted the town to have more involvement again. It has had a difficult time and I thought we should do something to help. I do not think these places ever had names and they should have, and we wanted to create a better environment for the tourists. It just needs to be done.’

To sponsor or suggest a sign name, contact Howard by calling 823443.

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