To apostrophe or not to apostrophe

This article originally appeared in The Lee Newsletter in February 2021

A recent discussion within the editorial team has raised an interesting question about the lane currently occupied by HS2. I think we can all agree that its official name has never been Strawberry Lane, but is it Kings Lane or King’s Lane.

There are no street signs to help us, so I had a look around the internet:

  • Google Maps and the OS both have the apostrophe
  • Chiltern planning application history and various other sites do not
  • Royal Mail doesn’t include a street name as part of the address for any of the houses at the Hunts (or Hunt’s) Green end, but shows Kings Lane (without) for Strawberry Hill Farm
  • The Buckinghamshire Rights of Way map has King’s Lane (with)

In summary, maps seem to include the apostrophe but sites and documents that reference the lane do not. My hunch is that the apostrophe is correct but has been lost over time, not least because it causes problems in software. (I have a vested interest here, having relatively recently conceded that my home is Blacksmith Cottage and not Blacksmith’s Cottage as a way of circumventing too many failed automated checks.) As the newsletter is not a map I feel we should stick with no apostrophe, but am sure that others may have a different view.

As to whether the lane runs between Hunts Green or Hunt’s Green and Kings Ash or King’s Ash, well that’s another discussion entirely.