A sign of the times.

One word or two?

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)

Heading home from Orsett recently, a road sign suddenly caught my eye because it read ‘Laindon Hills’.   “I don’t believe it”, I exclaimed in true Victor Meldew style, “that’s not right, it should read 'Langdon Hills', whatever had the sign writer been thinking!”  On closer examination the road sign appeared to be very old, with a crest on top of the post showing ‘Orsett’, very similar to that which had once stood in front of the Fortune of War in Laindon. (See article Laindon Sign Post by Ken Porter).  I just had to take a photograph.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'A sign of the times.' page

Nina Humphrey

A short distance further on we noticed a second equally very old sign post.  One section had obviously been replaced with a new board.  Perhaps the original sign had been ravaged by time or maybe damaged by a passing vehicle.  We will never know whether the original had also been misspelt, but the replacement is correctly spelt “Langdon Hills”.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'A sign of the times.' page

Nina Humphrey

With signposts still on my mind, we left the Five Bells roundabout and turned into Nethermayne, where I noticed the sign “NETHERMAYNE.”

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'A sign of the times.' page

Nina Humphrey

After passing by the Hospital and approaching Roundacre roundabout I noticed two more road signs, both spelt with two words, “NETHER MAYNE”.
Photo: Illustrative image for the 'A sign of the times.' page

Nina Humphrey

I wonder if the sign writer had also been responsible for the two wrongly spelt signs in Basildon that remained in place for about 30 years i.e. Barnstaple instead of Barstable and Chelvedon instead of Chalvedon.  Both signs were eventually replaced with the correct spellings.

These days there is an Armada Close in Lee Chapel North, perhaps making amends for the previously wrongly spelt Almada Avenue which should have been Armada Avenue.

Nicoll Road was once changed to Nichol Road, but is now back as Nicholl.

A misspelt name can change the course of history.  My husband’s grandmother’s family came from Scotland where their name was McCohen.  After moving to England it somehow got changed to McGowan and that’s how it remained.

This page was added by Nina Humphrey(née Burton) on 04/08/2014.
Comments about this page (Add a comment about this page)

Nichol Road was the spelling when we lived there from 1957- 1963. We always thought it was related to the much longer St Nicholas Lane which was the next parallel road going towards the railway station. I don't know who chose to rename it again - possibly the Chelveden person. It's always lovely to drive past and see Number 1 Nichol Road standing there, a great comfort and reminder of my school days.

By Richard Haines
On 27/03/2016

I lived in Langdon Hills in 1947.  I went to school there and I always called it by that name. It was a very lovely place to live and I loved it.

By Sandra Scott
On 21/03/2016

When I was growing up in Laindon, everybody local to me said 'Laindon Hills' but that might have just been laziness. We also called the woods past the water tower Coomb Woods.

By Sue Tripp (Nee Moore)
On 29/01/2015

I forgot to mention that Langdon Hills is mentioned in The Doomsday Book as  'Langenduna'. When at Langdon Hills Primary in the early fifties, I was told it means 'long hills'.

The Doomsday Book is on-line and says Langdon Hills is above Basildon.

I'm not sure we can go any further back than The Doomsday Book.  Ellen

By Ellen English Nee Burr
On 05/08/2014

Hi Rob,  I have a print that I got from Essex Records Office 1678 and it is written as Langdon Hills.  Regards Ellen.

By Ellen English Nee Burr
On 05/08/2014

Interesting indeed my friends ......however my Victorian print by William Bartlett  circa 1830 of the area under discussion clearly states it as....  Laindon Hill near Horndon Essex. You live and learn.

By Rob Wood
On 04/08/2014

If it were possible to do the research, I am sure we would discover that 90% of sign painters, registrars etc., would have come from 10% of the worst spellers in school.

By Alan Davies
On 04/08/2014

Hi Ellen.  Yes it’s fascinating isn’t it?  However I believe we covered this subject once before i.e. that in the past, various Registrars misspelt the place name when completing Birth, Marriage and Death certificates in the same way that some people still pronounce it wrongly as ‘Laindon Hills’.  I expect that was also the case with the sign writer.

It has always been Langdon Hills (meaning Long Hill - Lang meaning long, a 'Don' being a hill).   Its exact translation is “Long Hill Hills”.

The word Laindon is derived from something completely different.  I expect there will always be a few human errors made by those producing certificates, road signs, prints etc. Best wishes. 

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 04/08/2014

Hi Nina,

Yes, very interesting about signs for Langdon Hills/Laindon Hills.

Having done my family tree and quite a few born/married/died there I checked on the B.M.D. certs

My Birth is Langdon Hills

My Marriage is Langdon Hills

My Fathers Birth is Langdon Hills Orsett

My parents Marriage Langdon Hills Orsett

My Grandfather Edwin Burrs Birth is Laindon Hills 1883 Orsett

My Grandparent Burrs Marriage is Laindon Hills 1902 Orsett

Edwins death 1938 is Langdon Hills

Grt Grandfather George Burr and Louisa Partridge Marriage 1879 Laindon Hills

Georges death 1936 Langdon Hills

Louisa's death 1929 Langdon Hills died in Tilbury Hosp but reg address as Langdon Hills

Very Confusing

Regards Ellen

By Ellen English Nee Burr
On 04/08/2014
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