Before 1800 Leamington Priors was a village of about 200 people to the south of the River Leam. The land to the north-east of the river was called Newbold Comyn and was owned by the Willes family; to the north-west the land was mostly owned by the Greatheed family of Warwick. Lillington was a separate village further to the north-east.
The streets in Leamington Priors at that time had self-explanatory names such as Church Street, High Street (also sometimes the Turnpike), Bath Lane, Mill Street, Orchard Street, Watery Lane and Tachbrook Road. There were one or two less obvious names such as Packington Place; this almost certainly refers to Packington Hall, near Meriden, which was the home of the Earl of Aylesford, the Lord of the Manor for Leamington Priors. George Street was named for the King at the time of building. Wise Street was named for the Wise family who owned land to the south of the river and who lived at the Manor House.
The village expanded into a town north of the river from around 1808, the new main street, north of the river from Bath Street, was basically named as the Parade, which was widely used elsewhere as the name for a main street, with separate sections having words such as Upper, Lower, Royal and Union added. These are fairly standard except that the origin of the word Union is unexplained; it could relate to joining the two parts of the town. The northern part of what is now the Parade, from Warwick Street, was named as Lansdowne Place to the east and York Terrace to the west. The latter relates to a name used by the Royal Family for the second in line for the throne and Lansdowne comes from the Marquess of Lansdowne who was a leading politician at the time. The name Lansdowne was widely used in the town.
Other names of nationally notable people such as Clarendon were also used along with early visitors to the Spa such as the Dukes of Bedford and Gordon. A more local name which was widely used was Beauchamp which is related to the Earls of Warwick.
This set the pattern for naming streets after local and distant places, people who were locally or nationally well-known and so forth.
In later years the previous use of land was recognised; for example, the names related to horse-racing around Valley Road were linked to the use of Stud Farm for breeding horses by Sydney McGregor. Names were also related to the earlier owner of the land such as the Scottish names in the area of Highland Road recognising owner Eddie McGregor.
Many names are related to places in the UK such as the many names related to Pembrokeshire on the Sydenham estate.
It is notable that a surprising number of streets have been renamed during their long existence, some of them more than once. For example, Regent Street has variously been named Cross Street and Wellington Street, and Clarendon Avenue, perhaps strangely, given its location,was earlier named South Parade.
THE LIST. We have compiled a List of over 1,000 street names. We hope that our List will explain the origin of many of the street names and provide further information about them.