David Kuczora: Queensway naming - true legend or urban myth?

By David Kuczora on May 23, 13 11:43 AM in Transport

Neil Elkes reports in today's Post on the borrowing freeze which has scuppered the redevelopment of the Queensway tunnels, ending with a tunnel fact file.

My boss Clive was quick to chime in with an apparently omitted fact about the naming. Myth has it that when Queen Elizabeth II was invited to open the Queensway tunnel - one of the most advanced tunnelling projects in the city ever - that instead of giving her name to just one she declared "I name this ring road the Queensway."

Rather than correct our monarch, the city decided to instead append "Queensway" to every road on the route. This, apparently, explains some more bizarre road names such as James Watt Queensway, St Martins Queensway and Moor Street Queensway - I mean, Moor Street was a street; it didn't need to be Queensway too.

But is there any truth in this urban legend? I asked Brummagem historian Carl Chinn, who confirmed he'd heard the story repeated over the years but has never seen it substantiated. He reckons the definitive answer might lie in Birmingham City Council's Archives and Heritage, which will reopen in the new Library of Birmingham in September.

The perfect excuse for me to visit on opening day.

David Kuczora is principal consultant at Clive Reeves PR in Birmingham and regional chairman of PRCA FrontLine.

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