'Gateways' sign at the front of an English house

It’s all in the name

When I worked as a journalist in south-western New South Wales one of my favourite things to do while driving long, straight roads for hours at a time was to look out for the names of farms. The name seemed to the give the property a personality and I liked the concept of the land almost becoming a member of the family.

Santa Clause mannequin sitting beside a property name sign in western New South Wales, Australia

A festive property sign west of Hay, NSW, Australia.

What I’ve found in England and particularly Malvern, is that names aren’t just reserved for farms.  Many suburban houses have names, often dating back centuries.  Houses are sometimes named after the family that originally lived in the home or the surrounding landscape.  I also love that mail is addressed to the house name. It isn’t 16 Smith Street, rather ‘Valley View Cottage’, 16 Smith Street.  Perhaps it’s the daydreamer in me, but I just think that’s utterly delightful.

There are so many different types of name plaques too: painted ceramic slabs adorning house fronts, wrought iron signs on gates, wooden plaques, sandstone etchings or sometimes the name’s just simply painted on the side of the house.

I’ve always wanted to live in a house that has a name. The house Adam and I are living in does – so it’s a bit of a dream come true! Our downstairs neighbours even have a beautifully painted watercolour of the original house before it was split into three separate apartments.

I’ve been lucky enough to do a bit of travel, but I must admit I’ve never really noticed en masse houses with names anywhere except the U.K. Does your house have a name? What is it, and do you know the story behind it?!

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