Tag Archives: Feltham

Staines-on-Thames? More like Staines-under-Pants !

So they HAVE changed the name of  STAINES to Staines-on-Thames

Why?  A  conceit, I suppose.  Most likely because Staines doesn’t sound very nice, well does it?   It is like Neasden and Scunthorpe in that it has added much merriment and joviality to many a poor comedian’s script over the years.

Welcome to ScunthorpeBut the ‘on-thames’ suffix doesn’t really make sense.

Kingston,  Surrey has the ‘on-thames’ suffix to differentiate it from Hull or the capital of Jamaica.   Walton has the ‘on-thames’ to distinguish it from the Naze or a county in sunny Florida.  Sunbury has it just to elevate it from its Feltham-fringed neighbour. But Staines is the “One and Only.. ”  (as local resident Chesney Hawkes once sang) and so it doesn’t need any more frills.  Other “One and Only’s”  like  Caversham or Oxford don’t have to call themselves ‘On Thames’ to have a snobby sense of well-to-do-ness about them.  But Henley does.

I have always thought that ‘Laleham St Annes’ has a nice ring to it – and would be a name welcome to most riverside estate agents. And with that name is still possible to keep the ‘Staines’ bit (albeit corrupted into St Annes.)

And why does it have to be connected to the River Thames anyway?  The ancient market town has a moor (two actually) so why not go the whole nine yards and rename the town altogether as ‘The Great Dark Moor’ or ‘Little Black Moor’.  That would look great in the estate agent windows – and on the coat-of-arms  – and certainly would give the place a certain whiff of ‘Lord of the Rings’  type mystery.

Or why not allude to the enormous amount of lakes and reservoirs in the district … if it is good enough for our close neighbour Virginia and remote Cumbrian cousin Coniston– why not call it  Staines Water?   Although that sounds like it is one of those regional fat-cat water companies.

© Neil Mach
© Neil Mach

We could take a leaf out of the old Soviet book – they liked to name their industrial towns after the things they made. Like ‘Tractor Town’ or ‘Electric Town’.  We could call our lovely town ‘Lino Town’.  Yes, I know the lino industry is all gone now, but it was one of our great claims to fame and provided Staines with a valuable international reputation.

Or Lagonda Town?  That was (after all) a  ‘made up’ word anyway. And it sounds like a luxurious brand. You have to admit – it is pretty ‘tourist friendly’.

We were once famous for our mills too, we had water mills, powder mills, mustard mills… what about Great Mills ? No, on second thoughts that makes us sound like a huge shopping mall.

What about delving further back into history and using the names left by the ancient people who lived here by the river?   They used the meads (meadows) to farm and their greatest celebration was at Lammas (Loaf Mass) when they had safely gathered in the harvest.  So why not Lammas Meads?  Now that has a nice ring to it.  Although it sounds a bit like a concrete seventies comprehensive school. And there is already a Staines Lammas football team.

© Neil Mach
© Neil Mach

It is said that the Elders of this area once used to meet under a Thorn tree (also sometimes an Ash Tree) to decide upon important local matters- thus Spelthorne or the ‘Speilthorne’  – the ‘talking tree’…. so why not use this name?  Now the name is used just for a boring local government district but once it was a truly great name, mentioned in the Domesday Book – the whole area that we now know as Staines was called the Spelthorne Hundred.  Now that’s a good name isn’t it?

Or why not copy the Bailiwick of Guernsey and name our town after our church – St Peter?  Hythe was once a thriving little port so why not St Peters Port?  Or Hythe Port.  Or St Marys?  Like the Isles of Scilly?

When the Romans arrived here back in 43 A.D and created the first crossing point over the river, they had a respect for the sacred name of the river – they knew it as Thamases – they just added Isis to the end of it to make it more sound more, well,  ‘Roman’.  But they did not want to upset the gentle old river god (Father Thames) by renaming his river any more than they had to.  Maybe we could be just as respectful as the Romans and call our town Thames Isis?  Now that would be a nice place to live and prosper in wouldn’t it?  And there would be no more little digs from comedians about our silly name.

I suppose, if we couldn’t beat them (the comedians) then we could join them by calling our home town ‘Staines Massive’.  Nowadays, the irony of Sacha Baron Cohen’s clever use of Staines for placing his character Ali G is lost on most people you meet.  They actually believe we live in some kind of  ‘hood’ (conjuring up images of the Lower West Side) where street-gangs like the Jets and the Sharks hang-out…  rather than where we actually reside-  a fairly boring and conservative geriatric bungalow-town sandwiched uninspiringly between the M25 and Heathrow.

Do you know what the Romans called the place when they discovered it?
Ad Pontes – meaning at the bridges.  Now that’s as good  a name as any for a town isn’t it?

© Neil_Mach
1st November 2010
[Updated once the local authority changed the name.]

For Music, Arts and Going Out in Staines – check out ADPONTES-STAINES

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News From the Bridges – Nov 8th 2009

News From the Bridges – November 7th 2009

TrueBeat are looking for a new drummer!

Yes Truebeat are parting company with their old drummer (on good terms) because of commitment issues so the new guy must be dedicated and willing to go the whole hog. A car and the ability to do backing vocals are also very useful but not essential! Anyway, have a listen to  ‘em and see what you think; if you want an audition, get in touch at info@truebeat.co.uk. Catch these skasters in STAINES on Nov 26 2009  at The Hobgoblin   [www.myspace.com/truebeatuk]

WAXHOUSE are going into the STAKEOUT STUDIOS Hampton next week to start recording an EP with Chris Coulter … we wish them a pile of luck  [www.myspace.com/waxhouseband]

Melodramatic Surrey rockers ARCANE ROOTS have a new website they want you to visit : www.arcaneroots.com …. it is coming to life a bit more too with some live tracks and some demos up as well as a discography … but they would like to see more fans coming in tho! Click on, send ‘em messages, tell ‘em what you want and who you are!

Feltham eccentric yet sensible indie rockers “The Eccentric Sensibles
[www.myspace.com/eccentricsensible]  will be  in the Studio next week to collaborate with artist Lori Sims (acoustic), on a blinding new song entitled  “Player” . . .

Indie poppers AUDIO VIDEO DISCO [www.myspace.com/audiovideodiscouk] will be playing The Fighting Cocks Kingston-Upon-Thames Dec 5 2009  at 8:00P

Guildford’s Fab Four GETSETRADIO is coming to STAINES for all you lucky people – catch ‘em on Nov 15 2009  at 8:00P at OUR FAVOURITE STAINES venue The Hobgoblin w/ 8th Time Luckie [www.GETSETRADIO.com]

Twickenham punksters ANONYMOUS TIP (who will be playing STAINES Nov 26 2009  at 8:00P The Hobgoblin W/ True Beat) have been getting some seriously strong support from radio and hot reviews from tastemakers Subba Cultcha and Music Week

WITHOUT THOUGHT are lined up for two sparkling Christmas Shows… the first is Dec 19 2009      8:00P at Guildford – The Boileroom **Christmas Party** w/ Polar + JB Conspiracy and the VERY NEXT DAY the band plays STAINES Dec 20 2009  8:00P at The Hobgoblin (w/ Purge & Polar) [www.myspace.com/withoutthought ]

After a gob-routing shockingly successful show at the BUCKLE UP Rock Goblin, STAINES hometown’s favourite pop act MISS PINK SHOES is back in TOWN playing THE HOB Dec 3 2009  7:00P so if you missed ‘em in November come back and support this LOCAL ACT this  December.[www.myspace.com/misspinkshoesofficial]

Ad Pontes Staines- music arts & going out IN STAINES




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