Modern House Numbering in Meldreth
It is often believed that house numbering started with the introduction of the Postage Act of 1765, but it is not mentioned specifically in this legislation. It is more likely that a practical requirement of the introduction of a formal national postal system was the catalyst for the development of a numbering system. The first recorded numbering of a street in England was in London in 1708.
Generally the situation in the country was chaotic and regulation did not take place until 1855 with the passing of the Metropolitan Management Act when the power to control and regulate the naming and numbering of streets and houses was given to the new Board of Works. The Board started work in 1857 on the simplification of street names and numbering by working through a hit list of the most confusing streets given to the Board by the Post Office.
Street Numbers in Meldreth
In rural areas there was generally less need for house numbers. Meldreth Primary School’s Admission Register for 1951 lists only a house name (no number) for several pupils and Meldreth Local History Group member, Ann Handscome, recalls that in the early 1950s many houses in Meldreth still used names rather than numbers. For instance 69 High Street was Madeira (related to someone who lived in Madeira Road, Palmers Green in London, who was a friend of the original bungalow builders). Previously she had lived at Lulworth, which is now 83 High Street. This was so named because the owners had honeymooned in Lulworth in Devon!
Street numbering was consecutive until the early/mid nineteenth century. Now odd and even on opposite sides of a road is more common, although consecutive still occurs in some modern closes and cul de sacs e.g. Oakrits in Meldreth.
These days, the odd numbers will typically be on the left-hand side as seen from the centre of the village with the lowest numbers at the end of the street closest to the village centre.
In Meldreth the following numbering patterns apply:
- High Street is numbered with the odd numbers to the north starting from Whitecroft Road to North End.
- In North End the odd numbers re-start on the north towards Shepreth.
- Whitecroft Road is numbered with the odd numbers on the west going out of the village.
- In Chiswick End the odd numbers are on the south side.
- Station Road is numbered with the odd numbers on the north going out of the village towards Melbourn.
- Meldreth Road in Shepreth, linking Shepreth to North End in Meldreth, is numbered with the odd numbers starting on the south side in the centre of Shepreth.