Chronicles: Local names for Ventnor places – Part 1

On 6th January 1984 The Isle of Wight Mercury published this list of namesused locally for places in Ventnor. These were contributed by local residents but some contain rather dubious speculation on their origins. If you know better, please let us know.  It is also interesting to see how things have changed between 1984 and now – no canoe lake now, for example!

Annie Bucket’s: Area just above Lowtherville Post Office where there is land movement.  Named after the lady who used to live there.

Ash Pole: Area of land west of Chickenpit, above Alma Road (now Belgrave Road and site of the Royal Hotel and its gardens, Bath  Road, etc.)

Back Lane: Pound Lane, a “back” and possibly short cut.

Balaam’s Passage: The narrow passage leading from the top of Jacob’s Ladder to the Pitts, Bonchurch.

The Battery: Stretch of land overlooking the present canoe lake.  Perhaps the site of early guns, bearing over the Channel.  Later Ventnor Vicarage and now the Winter Gardens.

Bedstead Park: The area around St. Catherine’s View and Place where the allotments were fenced off by old brass and iron bedsteads.

Berry Bank: Steep hill at the eastern end of Mitchell Avenue, joining Spring Hill.

Bob Whites: Field off Down Lane, Upper Ventnor, formerly used by Ventnor Athletic Football Club, then for RAF houses.

Bogey Lane: Another name for Macrocarpa Road.

Chicken Pit: Esplanade Road, so called because chickens and “various” animals grazed there before housing development.

The Chimney: Steps at Bonchurch

Combe Bottom: Gulch of Land between two main parts of St. Boniface Downs.  Once a rifle range.

Cooks: Field, now Downlands Crescent.

The Cut: Early dated short cut from the lower end to the upper end of  Newport Road (lower part is into what is now Ocean View Road.)

Dark Lane: Macrocarpa Road, thickly tree’d, leading from Mitchell Avenue to Southgrove Road

Davy Jones Locker: A walled area of garden south of the former Dudley Road tennis courts. Now open land, part of the Eastern Cliffs.

Donkey Bank: The sharp bend at the extreme eastern end of Madeira Road.

Doves: Field (now site of plastics factory) Upper Ventnor.

Doves Farm: Now site of Lowtherville Service Station.

Gallows Cliff: Now Gills Cliff Road

Gas House Hill: Wheelers Bay Road. Ventnor Gasworks was originally at the foot of the hill, where the holiday chalets are now (see photograph below).

Giants’ Kitchen: A hollow in the Landslip, hemmed in by enormous rocks on all sides.

Goldcup and Silvercup: Ponds on the Downs above Cemetery

High Port: Land around Wheelers Bay. Also Highport Cliffs, above, where before coastal erosion there was enough space to play football, cricket, etc.

Jacob’s Ladder: The flight of 101 steps up from Bonchurch Village Road, about 200 yards, east of the Fountain.  This name also has been given to the upper portion of St. Albans Steps.

Next week: Local names for Ventnor places – Part  2.

Richard Downing, Ventnor and District Local History Society.  Photo of Gas House Hill at Wheeler’s Bay by Steve Taylor.This list was first published in the Mercury;  the article here first appeared in the South Wight Chronicle in 2016.