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.
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”.
With signposts still on my mind, we left the Five Bells roundabout and turned into Nethermayne, where I noticed the sign “NETHERMAYNE.” After passing by the Hospital and approaching Roundacre roundabout I noticed two more road signs, both spelt with two words, “NETHER MAYNE”.
Another example along Nethermayne is a sign that says Lee Woottons Lane and another further along that says Lee Woottens Lane.
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.