UNITED KINGDOM : BEDFORDSHIRE
A Montpelier House existed here in WW2, when it was taken over for defence purposes. It’s possible that this building is the origin of the later street name Montpelier Mews, off High Street South, Dunstable. Postcode LU6 3SH. The Coach House there is home to a number of businesses, and flats built there in 2006 by Hearne Holmes were officially numbered 1 to 7 Montpelier Mews in 2008 (South Bedfordshire District Council website). Follow this for a picture of the street sign, with added pigeons. (Thanks to Mike Taylor for this lead.)
UNITED KINGDOM : BERKSHIRE
Montpelier Drive, part of "Caversham Park Village", a 1960s development. No prior local connections: the names on this estate are allotted in several alphabetical sequences, Montpelier Drive lying between Lomond Avenue and Newton Avenue.
A Montpellier Cottage is listed in this village in the 1901 Census.
No 165 Kings Road in Reading is known as Montpelier House. Date uncertain. It appears to be home to at least one business. Postcode RG1 2EX.
UNITED KINGDOM : BRISTOL
An area about 1 mile north of Bristol city centre, bounded to the west by the A38 Cheltenham Road, to the south by Ashley Road, and to the east by Sussex Place/Ashley Hill.
The earliest written evidence for the naming of Bristol's Montpelier is in Matthews' guidebook of 1793 which states: 'a beautiful view of Bristol and the country can be obtained from Montpelier'. It also recommends the spacious open-air swimming baths and adjoining pleasure gardens as the main attraction of the place. It seems likely that the combination of its elevated position and terraced slopes with its reputation as a health and pleasure resort led to it being identified with the French spa town.
The exact date at which the name was given is uncertain. It was obviously earlier than 1793 and may date from the official opening of the Grand Pleasure Baths in 1764; the assertion that the name arose because some of the houses were built by French POWs during the Napoleonic Wars appears baseless. In the early 19th Century, Montpelier was mainly rural with individual farmhouses and villas scattered along the steep hillside. Most still survive. The 1828 map shows, as well as an area name 'Montpelier', several specific named features: Montpelier Cottage, Montpelier House, Lower Montpelier, and (possibly oldest) Montpelier Farm, briefly headquarters to Fairfax and Cromwell in September 1645 (its name at that time is not clear). After the Napoleonic Wars, the real development of the area began and by 1828 the Georgian core was complete. During the Victorian period, housing density increased rapidly as the gaps were filled. Many thanks to Beverly Tattersfield for a much improved account. Bristolians call the area "Mont-PELL-ear" although some non-locals use a half-French pronunciation "Mont-PELL-ee-ay". (and thankyou Rupert Taylor for this).
For local information, try this link. And for details of Mary Wright's handsomely-illustrated 2004 book on the area (seemingly the first book solely devoted to any of the British Montpel(l)iers), click here.
Clifton"A Brief Historical Sketch of Clifton, and Strangers' Guide to that Truly Delightful and Fashionable Place of Public Resort...the Montpelier of England..." - title of guidebook by John Morgan, published in Bristol by H. & A. Hill, 1850.
UNITED KINGDOM : CHESHIRE
Montpelier Avenue WA7 4QY, of about 1957 (ie predating the 1960s Runcorn New Town development). Its usage may reflect Runcorn's 19th-century reputation as a health resort - a fame eclipsed by the arrival of the Manchester Ship Canal. The town was briefly famous as the English or Manchester Montpelier, its salubrious air "well suited for invalids of a strumous habit" (yes, I had to look it up, and I think you should too).
UNITED KINGDOM : CORNWALL
Centre for Cornish mining. Montpellier House (No. 9 Trevu Road, TR14 7AE) is a Grade II listed house of the early to mid-19th century. English Heritage notes the following details: stucco facade, painted rubble sides and rear, slate roof. Shallow double-depth plan. Two storeys and 3 bays, symmetrical; plinth; central doorway with plain surround, recessed panelled door and shallow overlight; unhorned sashed windows with exposed boxes on both floors, 20-paned at ground floor and 16-paned above; shallow-pitched hipped roof with projecting eaves, side wall chimneys. Interior: modest staircase with stick balusters; panelled deal doors.
Seaport and market town. Lewis's 1831 Topographical Dictionary notes that "The fine situation of the town, its salubrious atmosphere, and the picturesque beauties of the vicinity, through which the walks and rides are particularly pleasant, have rendered it a place of resort for valetudinarians, and gained for it the well-deserved epithet of the Montpellier of England."
UNITED KINGDOM : DERBYSHIRE
Montpelier Road, Ambergate area; date not known.
Streetname Montpelier Place, no date; enquiry in hand
Ref in 1864 directory to Montpellier House, establishment for young ladies run by Miss Mary Frances Goddard.
Cul-de-sac named Montpelier in a village; postcode DE22 5JW. Date undetermined.
Streetname Montpelier Road, Ambergate. Date undetermined.
UNITED KINGDOM : DEVON
Morris's Gazetteer & Directory, 1870, lists Mrs. Matilda White and James Coleman, ladies' boarding school, Montpellier house. Doubtless same as Montpellier School for Girls (headmistress: Miss White), listed in 1907 guide published by British Medical Association.
Montpellier, now demolished, was a large house, probably of Regency origins, near St David’s Hill in Exeter. Its site was built over in the late 20th century, and now forms part of the grounds of Exeter College. The house is first recorded in the Exeter Itinerary and General Directory of 1828, when “Montpellier-cottage, David’s Hill” is listed as the residence of B. T. Radford. The address becomes “Montpelier-cottage” by 1833, when Radford subscribed to the 2nd edition of Lewis’s Topographical Dictionary. By 1850 (Devonshire Directory and Gazetteer) Radford’s residence was given simply as "Montpelier" – perhaps enlarged from the original cottage? Benjamin Tucker Radford (1780-1862) was a surgeon, originally from Chulmleigh.
Research by Dick Passmore (Fardel House & Montpellier: the story of two vanished houses; 2003) shows that by the time of the large-scale ordnance survey map of 1876, Montpellier was a substantial property set in extensive wooded grounds, Since at least 1870, it had been in the hands of the Norman family, brewers of Exeter. It remained with this family until 1942, when the property was requisitioned as a local office for the Inland Revenue, initially handling claims for war damage after the city was bombed. The only visible remains of the house today are two stone gateposts next to Fardel House Lodge, St David’s Hill. The capstone on one is clearly inscribed Montpellier - photo kindly supplied by Dick Passmore.
Montpelier Court (EX4 4DP), a modern retirement complex nearby on the other side of Hele Road, preserves the name.
First recorded reference to the name in the town is on 22 Dec 1859, when the Exeter Flying Post, reporting on the death of a child in mysterious circumstances, noted "It appears that on the 3rd March last year a German lady arrived in this town and took Montpellier Cottage" -- this is believed to have been at Littleham (near Exmouth). Montpellier Road, postcode EX8 1JP, is a residential street just south of the town centre, on rising ground. Its houses (a mix of Victorian villas and terraces) mostly appear to date from the 1860s-70s. The first firm reference to the street is a photograph of it with the words 'built 1860' on the back, held in the Exmouth library's local collection (thanks to Lynette Madelin, reference librarian, for this)
Unless an earlier date for this property can be established, it seems unlikely there is any connection with Nelson's widow, Viscountess Nelson - originally from Montpellier, Nevis - who resided in Littleham, Exmouth for a number of years and was buried there in 1831.
This coastal town developed as a resort in the early 1800s, and was claimed at one point to be 'the Brighton of North Devon'.
Its Montpel(l)ier Terrace (above), of about 20 Georgian houses generally in a good state of repair (some listed), was in existence by about 1827 (it is mentioned in an account of 1828), which may perhaps predate Brighton usage. The terrace is on higher ground to the east of the old town centre, with a 'romantic, grand and lovely' view of the Bristol Channel coast; nearby names of a similar vintage include Belvedere, Mount Pleasant, and Prospect Place.
Leading up the steep slope towards it is Montpellier Road (above), mostly later Victorian stock (postcode EX34 ...). Off the lower end of Montpellier Road is the short Montpellier Mews, EX34 ...
This Georgian doorway is midway along the terrace, overlooking the channel. Several houses retain similar ornate detailing at the top of the columns.
Current streetname Montpelier Road, no date of origin. Clearly linked to Montpelier House, a Georgian residence with naval connections, built in the late 18th century just up the hill from Belair. In Morris &chel Co.'s Directory of Devonshire 1870 it states that Captain Sir Edward Pellew, Bart, the 'hero of Algiers' had occupied Montpelier from 1807 to 1811. It seems that he transferred Montpelier House to his elder son Captain Pownell Pellew RN, as the Directory of 1812 shows him occupying the property. However, it later changed hands by 1818, when it is noted as the birthplace of Richard John King, antiquary (DNB) (listed as being sited in the tithing of Pennycross). In 1830 the Brindley Directory lists Montpelier, 2 miles from Devonport on the
Tavistock road, as the residence of Robert Rundle, Esq. The house appeared on all maps in the 19th century but does not appear on a 1907 map when it had been pulled down to make way for Westeria Terrace and Hawthorn Grove, built on the site. It has subsequently given its name to Montpelier Road/Terrace and the Primary School. See also the school website of the Montpelier Junior School of Beaconfield Road, Beacon Park, Plymouth, PL2 3LJ
Powderham, near Exmouth
Powderham Castle, seat of the Courtenay family, has very extensive grounds 'comprising an ample Park, well stored with deer, delightful shrubberies and plantations of exotics, diversified with lawns and pleasure grounds, through a circumference of nearly ten miles. On the summit of an eminence in the park is a tower called the Belvidere, built in 1773 (upon the model of that at Shrubs-hill, Windsor, erected by William, Duke of Cumberland). This tasteful ornament to the surrounding country commands the most delightful and extended views of a part of the kingdom deservedly styled the Montpelier of England' - J P Neale, Views of The Seats, Mansions, Castles etc of Noblemen & Gentlemen in the Western Counties of England, 1847.
Reference to a Montpelier Cottage here (no further detail; 19th century?).
Streetname Montpellier Road, dating from soon after 1820. Additionally, Montpellier Terrace and Montpellier Villas, now part of Braddons Hill Road West, were both under construction by 1821. All are in a slightly elevated position above the harbour. St. John's Chapel of Ease, at Montpellier place [streetname does not apparently survive], in the centre of Torquay, was built in 1822, by Sir L V Palk, Bart. White's Devonshire Directory of 1850 cites Torquay as the Queen of Watering Places, and the Montpellier of England, as it is frequently called, is a handsome market town, seaport, and bathing place, delightfully situated on the strand and the picturesque acclivities of the shore of the northern recess of Torbay. Measom's 1861 Great Western Railway guide has a similar sentiment: For the mildness of its atmosphere, Torquay is popularly called the Montpelier of England.
UNITED KINGDOM : ESSEX
Streetname Montpelier Close, on a housing estate of the mid-to-late 1980s, on site formerly known as Plotlands. Neighbouring streets have similar arbitrary "impressive" names, such as Marlborough, Porchester and Walsingham.
Montpellier Gardens, postcode RM6 4EJ; in the Chadwell Heath area of Romford.
Montpelier's Farm This has its origins in the 12th century, and is named after a settler of the Norman period, being connected with the family of Bertram de Montpellers (c. mid-13th century) and John de Montepessilano (1297) or Mumpelers (1310). In deeds between 1488 and 1599, the name of this farm is seen variously as Mompelers, Mompillers, and Mount Pyllers [P H Reaney, Place-names of Essex].
This site shares with the Quebec Montpellier the distinction of being the only examples named after individuals, rather than the city itself - though of course ultimately the origin is identical.
UNITED KINGDOM : GLOUCESTERSHIRE
Bream, near Lydney
Street-names Montpellier Close and Road, The roads evolved out of forest tracks in the 1940s, and the names evidently derived from the earlier Montpellier Cottages, two houses situated in nearby Forest Road. From their appearance, these houses are of late Victorian date, and are shown on the large-scale ordnance survey map, drawn in 1878-9; they are on the side of a hill, with a good outlook across a valley.
The name Montpellier is first recorded in this spa town in 1809, in association with a new speculative residential/recreational development begun the previous year by one Henry Thompson, one of the major players of the boom years of Cheltenham's fame as a place to take the waters. The venture soon became the focus of a fashionable residential area. It was very likely Thompson who chose the name Montpelier, to reinforce the health-giving properties claimed for the water in the wells and baths he operated. The area's slightly elevated position in relation to the rest of the town may have added to the perceived appositeness of the name.
At this time, Cheltenham's fame was at its peak, and the rapid appearance of Montpel(l)ier names in many other English towns in the 1800s was probably due much more to the Cheltenham example than earlier English usage or directly to the French original. Certainly Cheltenham has by far the greatest concentration of Montpellier street-names of any British town.
A local tradition in Cheltenham links the choice of Montpellier to the enforced stay there of a number of English prisoners of war in the Napoleonic era, but no corroboration has been found for this being the immediate cause of the choice of name. Since 1809, Montpellier has been used for over two dozen streets, terraces, or other features, as follows. Not all of them are current names.
For further detail on these streets, consult the on-line Historical Gazetteer of Cheltenham.
Montpellier Apartments (1995)
Montpellier Arcade (1831)
Montpellier Avenue (1831)
Montpellier Baths (built 1806, though not named thus straightaway)
Montpellier Brewery (1834)
Montpellier Courtyard (1985)
Montpellier Drive (c1820)
Montpellier Exchange (1843)
Montpellier Gardens (1830)
Montpellier Grounds (1809)
Montpellier Grove (1834)
Montpellier Lodge (c1830)
Montpellier Museum (mid 1820s)
Montpellier Parade (1812)
Montpellier Place (1819)
Montpellier Promenade (1847)
Montpellier Retreat (1824)
Montpellier Spa (1809)
Montpellier Spa Buildings (1825)
Montpellier Spa Place (1844)
Montpellier Spa Road (1820s)
Montpellier Square (1827)
Montpellier Street (1844)
Montpellier Terrace (1823) (It was moving to a flat here in 1971 that originally started this enquiry rolling - JH.) Antarctic explorer Edward Wilson was born at No. 91.
Montpellier Villas (1844)
Montpellier Walk (laid out 1809; shops built 1843)
Grove Farm, Cherington, was in the early 19th century also known as Montpelier (Victoria County History of Glos, vol XI)
An early 19th-century visitor found the air of this small Severn-side village distinctly beneficial, as recorded in an unpublished letter from Mary Yorke to Lady Lucas on 29 March 1814 (Bedfordshire Record Office): "I flatter myself Mrs Yorke will find a very gratefull change from the close oppressive Air of Bath, to that of the soft but invigorating Atmosphere of Forthampton, which a Lady who spent 2 months here, called the Air of Montp[ellie]r: She had a constitutional Cough which confined her to her House all the Winter when at home; but here She frequently walked out in the late severe Weather…."
The Montpellier name was in use possibly by the 1820s. The only sign today is a road called Montpellier linking Brunswick Road and Spa Road. This corner of Gloucester was once orchard but developed after springs were discovered in 1814 and a spa pump room set up in 1815. This road has carried its present name only since 1867, but immediately adjacent in Brunswick Road is a Regency terrace of 5 houses once called Montpellier Place, and marked thus on an 1843 map; also listed in 1841 census. The terrace, built by one James Pollard, is stylistically of the1820s, and is probably a close contemporary of the neighbouring Christ Church, firmly dated to 1823. Nearby were Montpellier Villas, also shown on 1843 map. It seems very likely that Gloucester usage of the Montpellier name was directly influenced by that in Cheltenham, less than 10 miles away.
UNITED KINGDOM : GREATER MANCHESTER
Montpellier Road, postcode M22 0DY/0DZ. No other details to hand.
Streetname Montpellier Mews, postcodes M7 4ZW and 4ZY; situated at the corner of Upper Park Road and Waterpark, and according to estate agents is a “magnificent, select development” (post-2000).
UNITED KINGDOM : HAMPSHIRE
SouthamptonStreetname Montpelier Close, Park Gate area. No other info to hand.
UNITED KINGDOM : ISLE OF MAN
In Thwaites’ 1863 Directory of the Isle of Man, Mount Pellier is listed as the residence of one Samuel Brookes, Esq. Kirk Michael is a considerable parish, extending about five and a half miles in length from north to south, and four miles in breadth from east to west. The village is situated on the main road from Peel to Ramsey.
Compare Pigot’s 1823 Directory, whichgives the following general description of the Isle of Man:
A chain of moderately elevated mountains pervades the greater part of the Island; these commence at Maughold Head near Ramsey, are interrupted between Mount Kreevey and South Barule, and then continue to the south-western extremity of the Island, where they abruptly terminate in the sea at Breda Head.
The greatest elevation in this ridge is the height of which is five hundred and eighty yards above the level of the Sea, and from whose summit, on a clear day, may be distinctly seen England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. North and South Barule are not much inferior in elevation to the former. The other principal eminences, to which names have been assigned, are Pen-y-pont., Kreevey, Mount Pelier, Garrahan, and Greba.
This usage is clearly a departure from the native Manx names. George Broderick's Placenames of the Isle of Man (1995), vol 2, gives the authoritative account: it is ‘A modern name; the older name is Drimnahairy ... According to a deed of 6 Mar. 1728/9, [6 people] purchased a tract of land “between the Gill beyond Drim ne Harey and the Douglas Road beginning a little below Slew ne Magarell” which by 1737 had become known as Mont Pelieur, presumably from the French placename. Name still in use today. By 1814 Montpelier or Montpellier Park, along with Close Emmel and Eary Kelly, became known as Druidale.’ Montpelier Mountains, or Agnew’s Mountain [Agnew was one of the original 6 purchasers] were referred to thus in 1778/9, according to Broderick. Other forms recorded by Broderick include Mount Pelieur, Mount-Pelier 1737, Montpelier, and Mt. Pellier 1789.
UNITED KINGDOM : ISLE OF WIGHT
On the upper side of Castle Road, West Cowes, there is a Montpellier Cottage. It is in an elevated position, looking east. Of 19th century appearance.
There is a Montpelier Hotel in Pier Street, Sandown.
UNITED KINGDOM : KENT
Montpelier Business Park, Leacon Road/Dencora Way, TN23 4FG. Doubtless a recent development; reason for name not known.
Streetname Montpelier Avenue, postcode DA5 3AP. Laid out just before the Second World War; planning permissions for shops here were granted 1934-35.
Montpelier Gate, a short cul-de-sac on what appears from the map to be a modern development.
A Montpelier Cottage, Montpelier House, and Montpelier Villa are listed in Margate in the 1891 Census.
Streetname Montpelier Avenue. One of several roads locally that have never developed since they were laid out, during a period of extensive estate promotion from the 1890s to the beginning of World War I. Montpelier Avenue probably was laid out after Clapham Hill farm was sold up in the late 1890s. It remains today an unmade track with one house in it. My thanks to Geoffrey Pike for this info.
UNITED KINGDOM : LANCASHIRE
Bispham near Poulton le Fylde
Montpelier Avenue, at FY2 9EJ
Montpelier Avenue, FY2 9AE
was in the early 19th century a much sought-after place to live - "for the salubrity of its air, and its vicinity to the sea, it may not inaptly be called the Montpelier of the county", claimed Baines's Lancashire Directory in 1824.
From modest beginnings in the 1790s, Southport become a fashionable watering-place in which holidaymakers could indulge in the new sea-bathing craze, staying at the many new hotels and guest houses which sprang up in the 19th century. The boulevard of Lord Street became renowned for its stylish shops and was called the Montpellier of England by entranced Victorians.
UNITED KINGDOM : LONDON : BY POSTCODE
E6 (East Ham)
Montpellier Gardens. In a cluster of Gloucestershire and Boer War names, seemingly of about 1900.
There is reported to have been a Montpelier Road in Holloway, N19 - off Kingsdown Road; now gone/renamed (from 'Lost London Streets' website).
NW5 (Kentish Town)
Montpelier Grove, postcode NW5 2XD (shown left above - known as Montpellier Road until 1937 when the London County Council set about removing duplicate names). A street of mid-to-late Victorian villas, present on 1884 map. The street is on markedly rising ground, and its name recalls the late 18th-century village days of Kentish Town, then "noted for its pure air and clean water". Around 1790, a Dr William Rowley took up residence in Kentish Town and vigorously promoted its amenities, declaring it "the Montpelier of England". This tag was reflected in Montpelier House, (pictured right above) built about 1807 by a retired varnish manufacturer in neighbouring Brecknock Road, between the future Leighton Grove and Montpelier Grove. When built, it had 'a grand view over the slopes of Islington'. The house, refurbished as a community centre in the last few years, is evidently the immediate reason for the streetname. Montpellier Villas, Kentish Town, was one of several terrace names extinguished when Brecknock Road was named in 1869.
NW11 (Golders Green)
Montpellier Rise - inter-war semi-detached housing, probably 1930s. On sharply rising ground, crossed at the cul-de-sac top end by an above-ground Underground line. Adjacent Montpellier Way is merely a link road, joining the Rise to Elmcroft Crescent, and has no houses facing directly onto it..
Pub called Montpelier, in Montpelier Street, St Peter, Newington, 1881 [same as Walworth???]
Montpelier Vale, houses built 1827. Montpelier Row was built about 1850. Note also a Montpelier Cottage, listed in the 1841 census.1853 ref also to a Montpellier Road in Blackheath (No 11) - error or renamed?
Montpellier Road. So named in 1875, replacing the previous name of Wellington Villas. Reason uncertain, but perhaps intended to recall the Walworth example. The Montpelier Tavern, at nearby 38 Choumert Road, Peckham (SE15 4AR) was listed in Directories by 1881. It's now known simply as the Montpelier.
The Montpelier Tavern and Tea Gardens, typical of public pleasure grounds on the southern fringes of Georgian London, though never quite on the scale of the nearby Surrey or Vauxhall Gardens, were in existence by 1787. First owned and run by a John Bendall, the gardens possibly date from the mid-1770s. During the Napoleonic wars the local Volunteers paraded there.
Illustration shows an example of entertainments offered in 1822
The Montpelier Gardens were also home to the Montpelier Cricket Club which was formed in 1795, becoming one of the strongest clubs in south-east London. In 1845 their ground was taken for development and so they moved to new premises at the Oval and became one of the founders of the Surrey Cricket Club.
The gardens themselves must have gone by about 1850. The tavern was replaced in the later Victorian period by a music hall, which in turn became a pub, which survived until the early 1940s.
The name survived on or near the tea garden site as Montpelier Street, Walworth, but in 1939 this was arbitrarily changed to Pelier Street. This was part of a London County Council policy to eliminate duplicated names in its area.Click for more on the Walworth example.
SW (somewhere in South Lambeth)
'....Dean's-place, commencing at the corner of Thorne-road, was so named from the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury, who possessed land here (this is now 224 to 244, South Lambeth-road). Near here was Montpelier Lodge, some time the residence of Sheriff Twentyman, and Montpelier House, where lived Dr. Watson, Head Master of Stockwell Grammar School and translator of several classics....' Also resident at Montpelier House was John Poynder, lawyer and evangelical activist; he died there in 1849 (DNB). Related to the Brixton example?
Montpellier Tavern recorded at Brandon Road, Brixton in 1881
Jacket of Jean Monro's 1988 book, based on a painting by Felix Kelly.
Montpellier Place, Square, Street (SW7 1HH)and Walk. The land on which these streets lie was from 1824 owned and laid out for building by Thomas Weatherley Marriott. Development was slow, the houses mostly dating from 1840-45. The Montpellier name first occurs in relation to this area in 1825, and the square is said to date from 1837. Writing in 1932, Harold Clunn recorded in The Face of London that 'The names of Constitution Hill and Montpelier Square are also said to derive their origin from the salubrious air of this particular locality' [ie the formerly separate village of Kensington] - this was the reason it was selected as the site for St George's Hospital. Famous residents include the Victorian artist and antiquary F W Fairholt (no 11 Montpellier Square), and the Victorian actor Walter Lacey (no 38). Montpelier Mews, Knightsbridge, disappeared when Brompton Road was rebuilt ('Lost London Streets' website), though the name is now in use again. At 13 Montpellier Street, note the restaurant name Montpeliano - tel 0207 589 0032. Montpellier Hall in Montpellier Street is a residential hall of Imperial College.
W1 (Portman Square)
Henry William Portman developed 200 acres of meadow passed down from a Tudor ancestor. He started in 1764 with a square, which was to owe its popularity to buildings by Robert Adam and James 'Athenian' Stuart, the architect of Montagu House - built in 1781 in the northwest corner of Portman Square for Mrs Elizabeth Montagu (1720-1800). This lady, who became particularly associated with the Square, called it the Montpelier of England, and said she 'never enjoyed such health as since she came to live in it.' Lizzy Montagu was an enigmatic and cultured woman, and her home became the meeting place for some of London's most enlightened thinkers. She became a power in the literary world, and a founder of the Blue-Stocking Club
Montpelier Avenue (W5 2XP) and Road. The roads are on rising ground, in what was intended to be a neighbourhood of affluent development. The coming of the railway and a wave of house building in the 1870s-80s had transformed Ealing into what the publicists of the 1890s termed the "Queen of the Suburbs", famed for its healthy environment, modern accommodation and good amenities. Montpelier Road had come into existence by 1882 (Victoria County History of Middlesex, vol VII); by 1893 the Castlebar end had been renamed Montpelier Road West; in 1917 this name yielded in turn to the present Montpelier Avenue. The Montpelier Hospital, a care home, is at 19 Montpelier Road Ealing W5 2QT. Montpelier School, Ealing, opened in 1957.
And for tales of the supernatural, associated with the now-demolished No 16 Montpelier Road, click here.
W11 (Notting Hill)
Joseph Hume (1767-1843), who in 1812 published a bad blank-verse translation of Dante's Inferno, lived at Montpelier House here (Dictionary of National Biography). Exact site of this house not yet researched.
UNITED KINGDOM : LONDON : BY POSTCODE : MONTPELLIER TEA GARDENS
The Montpellier Tea Gardens, Walworth
After Montpellier Row in Twickenham (a handsome terrace of about 1720, overlooking the Thames), the next Montpel(l)ier in the London area was in Walworth. Here the name was attached to a pleasure garden set up by one John Bendall. It was one of several such attractions on the southern fringes of the then built-up area, where Londoners could take the air and enjoy a number of amusements. Established in the mid-to-late 18th century, and in business for nigh on a century, the Montpelier Tea Gardens (and tavern) had wide and favourable renown in their day, doubtless doing much to spread awareness of the name in London and beyond.
Other 19th-century south London appearances of Montpel(l)ier - the nearest is in Peckham - seem very likely to derive from it. In the absence of specific indications, in Walworth the Montpelier name can be assumed to have been chosen to suggest general salubriousness: although the site was originally quite large and open - thus meeting the "airy" criterion usually associated with Montpel(l)ier elsewhere - unlike several others the Walworth example is on relatively level ground not noticeably higher than its surroundings.
The Montpelier Tea Garden at Walworth is of intrinsic interest, and it is worth detailing some of its features as they must have helped form the early 19th-century view of what `Montpelier' meant in an English setting. Its exact origins are uncertain, but lie in the second half of the 18th century - perhaps about 1780. The first proprietor was John Bendal or Bendall, who at first ran the 5 acres on which it stood, to the west of the Walworth Road, as a market garden. At that time it was largely surrounded by open ground - Wheeler's Fields and the broad expanse known as Lorrimore or Lattermore. The Poor Rate records for Newington show that John Bendall had a property with a ratable value of £34 in Walworth by 1782; before that the records are patchy, but the preceding surviving rate-books, for 1760-64, show no sign of him.
So, while the Montpelier establishment could possibly be as early as 1765, more conservatively we can assume a date of about 1780. According to Cuming (see below), having built the Montpelier Tavern Bendal then `laid out the lands in a tasteful manner with a spacious greensward and gravel-walks flanked with choice shrubs and trees, the whole area being belted with fine lofty elm trees'. William Hazlitt, the essayist, born in 1778, used to be taken there by his father, and recalled with pleasure his `infant wanderings' there.
The above description of the grounds is taken from the South London Chronicle, which in 1884 published an article on the tavern and tea gardens written by a keen local antiquarian, H Syer Cuming. The detail he gives of the tavern is full enough to suggest an eye-witness account: "The old tavern was a very picturesque structure, and retained its primal aspect until its removal to give place to the present palace. It was a long and rather low building in which lath and plaster and weather boarding played a principal part. [In fact, the earliest maps depict a square building, which became elongated to the north by 1841.] The white front faced the south and had a railed gallery covered by a verandah running the whole length of the building, which was reached by a flight of steps at its eastern end, and from this gallery access was gained to the great room where many a stately banquet was served.... The floor of the gallery formed the roof of the bar where refreshments were furnished to the frequenters of the gardens, and between the windows of the house backing this department were suspended several huge turtle shells, mementoes of the soup which had been at divers times consumed within the walls of the tavern. The public bar was at the end of the house next Princes Street [later Carter Street], which led up to the gardens from the Walworth Road....
The tea gardens in front of the tavern were a large, irregular space, neither square, round, nor oval, but a sort of compound of all three forms in one. A good part of its borders were filled up with gaily painted boxes, each with benches fixed to the back and sides, and with a table in the middle, and here persons were wont to be served with tea at 6d per head. Dotted about were turfy banks or low knolls, crowned by ponderous examples of the gigantic clam-shell (Tridaena gigas), and in the centre was the broad level grass plot upon which the volunteers of old used to assemble for drill, and where, on Monday September 2nd, 1799, they were presented with their colours, which, when peace was restored, were hung above the communion table in St Mary's Church, Newington. In the winter season the volunteers were drilled in the great room of the tavern...
One of the features of the Montpelier Gardens was a cold bath inclosed in a wooden shed near the entrance to the grounds. Each person desirous of its benefit had to pay one shilling for its use. Bendal laid out the South Western portion of his domain as a small labyrinth or maze, which, though inferior in extent to the one at Hampton Court was considered to display much ingenuity in design. The north-western part of the estate was a flower garden, where might be purchased plants and shrubs, and seeds, and where choice tulips were exhibited under canvas awnings, and Bendal's tulip show was at one time a thing to talk about....
Attached to the maze, and just outside the south-western entrance to the tea gardens, was Bendal's dwelling, known in later times as "The Maze Cottage".
It was a square, rough-cast, one-storeyed building, with sloping, slated roof. In the front were two Gothic windows and a Gothic four-panelled door, reached by two stone steps, the erection looking much like a mansion in a toy city. Standing with your back to the Montpelier so as to face the cottage, there was on the left a little stream, crossed by a rustic wooden bridge, which led to Wheeler's Fields, and on the right was the entrance to the maze, for admission to which 2d was demanded. This wonderful contrivance fell into a sad state of ruin in its later days, but its central tree, surrounded by a wooden seat, continued to flourish till its final extinction."
The Maze Cottage is the subject of the only known illustration of any feature on the Montpelier site. It has been suggested that the cottage gave Dickens a model for Mr Wemmick's residence - a toy house and a bridge - in Great Expectations.
(Although the Montpelier Tea Garden may never have been in quite the same league as the often-illustrated Vauxhall or Surrey Gardens, it seems impossible that it went completely undepicted over its long life: discovery of an illustration is awaited with interest.)
It is difficult to pinpoint confidently on the available maps any of the above features except the tavern building itself. The 1799 map shows an inverted U-shape feature in the boundary of the grounds, which perhaps indicates the course of the stream on which Maze Cottage stood, though the cottage itself might be one of several small anonymous buildings marked on successive maps. On the 1841 map, the tea-garden's boundary is marked with a broad strip feature we can probably equate to the `gaily-painted boxes'.
The garden area was big enough to accommodate a cricket ground, and in July 1796 the newly-formed Montpelier Club played their first match there. On 10 and 11 August that year "the same ground was the scene of a match of a rather painful, if curious, character. The game, like all cricket of the period, was played for high stakes - in this case 1,000 guineas - and the players were selected (by two noble lords) from the pensioners of Greenwich Hospital: eleven men with one leg against eleven with one arm. The match began at ten, but about three a riotous crowd broke in, demolished the gates and fences, and stopped the proceedings till six o'clock, when play was resumed. On the second day the elevens reappeared, being brought to the scene of the action in three Greenwich stage-coaches, not without flags and music. The match was played out, and the one-legged men beat the poor one-arms by 103".
UNITED KINGDOM : LONDON : HISTORICAL
Coffee-houses … and a French spy
The earliest known London example (which hasn't survived as a place or street name) is the Montpelier coffee-house. Bryant Lillywhite's book London Signs (1972) records this establishment as being listed (in newspaper advertisements, etc) from 1702 to 1714 (in the form Montpellier's), and sited "behind the Exchange".
The author concludes that probably the Royal Exchange is meant, in the City of London itself. The possessive form Montpellier's may indicate an owner of that name (undoubtedly of French origin), or be related to the fact that there were French Huguenot connections in this part of the city: the French church in London was originally in nearby Threadneedle Street (serving the community based mostly in Spitalfields).
As for what happened within the doors of the coffee-house, we have perhaps just one glimpse -- from the private account book of Isabella, Duchess of Grafton. In 1711, we find the entry "Paid a Frenchwoman at the Montpelier £2 5s 0d." [Extracts printed in Notes & Queries, 15 March 1862, p. 205.] There's no conclusive evidence that this refers to the coffee-house, but neither is there any sign of any other place of this name at this date. The Duchess of Grafton was the daughter and heir of Lord Arlington (also daughter-in-law of Charles II).
Bryant Lillywhite also notes a second Montpellier coffee-house "facing Greek Street", Soho, recorded in 1756-57. He recounts the arrest in Soho on 21 August 1757 of Florence Hensey, an Irish-born French spy, who had dined earlier at this coffee-house. In his London Coffee Houses (1963), Lillywhite says that Hensey was born at Kildare about 1714. At the beginning of the 7 years' war in 1756, Hensey, through a fellow-student in the French foreign office, entered the service of the French as a spy, and supplied his employers with information as to the movements and equipment of the English fleet. A postman called the attention of the authorities to Hensey's frequent foreign correspondence and upon his letters being opened evidence was obtained which led to his being watched and his arrest on leaving a church in Soho Square on Sunday 21 August, 1757. He had been in the habit of frequenting all the political coffee-houses in town; coming from church on the day of his arrest 'after being dodged to two houses in Dean-street, and from thence to the Montpellier coffee-house, facing Greek-street, where he dined, he was seized in St Martin's-lane ... his lodgings were searched ... where they found 29 rough drafts of letters ... all written with lemon-juice'.
In both cases, the coffee-houses seem more likely to have the name on account of Huguenot connections than because of "healthful" associations. At 1702, the Royal Exchange example is nevertheless currently the oldest.
UNITED KINGDOM : MERSEYSIDE
In the 19th century Liverpool had a Montpelier Terrace, listed under Upper Parliament Street and presumably later renumbered as part of that street. First noted in the 1851 Census, and likely to be older than that. Still listed in early 1900s.
Streetname Montpellier Crescent, postcodes CH45 9NF, CH45 9JZ - one of the two chief early streets of New Brighton, a development launched about 1832. No 32 Montpellier Crescent is dated to c1841, and presumably the name is a direct imitation of the several examples in the original Brighton - see above. Ness Gardens in Wallasey were founded by a colourful character named Arthur Bulley. It starts in the mid 1840s when a Mr and Mrs S Bulley moved from slum-ridden Liverpool to New Brighton, which was then a fashionable place to live. The cotton trade was providing a good living for the young Bulley family and New Brighton was the place to live for prosperous middle class folk. It boasted splendid villas built on sandstone cliffs with beautiful views of Liverpool Bay and sailing ships coming into port. They moved into Montpellier Crescent, one of the first roads built, where some of the original buildings remain, but Gables, Arthur Bulley's home for over 20 years, has made way for retirement flats. His first home, Montpellier Lodge, has gone, too.
UNITED KINGDOM : MIDDLESEX
Montpellier Row. These houses were built from about 1720 by Capt John Gray (d. 1736); a "well-mannered well-proportioned" terrace of brown and red brick with original ironwork. They are an early example of Georgian speculative expansion into the outlying villages around London. Tennyson lived for a while at Chapel House in this road (DNB). This house was doubtless close to the Montpelier Chapel, Twickenham (also of about 1720?) mentioned by the N&Q correspondent in 1910. Another noted resident was the poet and anthologist Walter de la Mare, who lived at the house at the end of the road, South End House; he died there in 1956 (Thanks to Mike Rice for this addition). For photos and more on Captain Gray, see the Twickenham Museum site. For more detail on the houses and neighbourhood, see the Victoria County History for Middlesex.
Streetname Montpelier Close; built in the 1990s, the name having been chosen by the developer.
Montpelier Rise, postcode HA9 8RQ. Undated as yet.
UNITED KINGDOM : NORFOLK
Swaffham was a fashionable centre in the Georgian period and attracted many of Norfolk's gentry to its great social and sporting functions. Around the Market Place are numerous fine Georgian buildings, particularly the graceful Montpelier House (click for photo) which, in the 18th century, almost certainly accommodated Lady Nelson (from Swaffham tourism info). [Confirmation required that it was called by this name at that period.]
White's 1845 Directory for Norfolk notes that the town holds a pleasant and highly salubrious situation on the crown of a lofty eminence, and continues: 'It has been styled the Montpelier of England', - citing medical opinion that the town was 'peculiarly salubrious', with instances of great longevity. However, 'for asthmatic and consumptive patients, the air has often been found too keen and penetrating'.
The 'Montpelier of England' tag continues to be recycled in some modern guidebooks.
UNITED KINGDOM : NORTHERN IRELAND
Montpelier, Malone Road, Belfast.
An 'elegant late Georgian mansion', now (2004) a guesthouse (96 Malone Road).
UNITED KINGDOM : NOTTINGHAMSHIRE
A street called Montpelier Road lies off a by-pass near the university, to the south-west of the city, in the district known as Dunkirk, after the former Dunkirk Farm. Mostly residential, some local businesses. The farmland was developed shortly after 1882 by Frank William Johnson. Nearby are Cavendish Street and Marlborough Street, and local historians deduce that all these names were chosen for connotations of 'quality'. Several photos appear on the Lenton Local History Society webpages.
Thanks to Declan Booth for improving this entry
UNITED KINGDOM : OXFORDSHIRE
A slight oddity, but, for the record: Mount Pellam - was "a little raised monument ... on the north side of Oxford Castle", according to A Wood's Survey of the Antiquities of the City of Oxford 1661-6 (published by the Oxford Historical Society in parts between 1889-99). The origin of the name is unknown; I suggest it is from a surname such as Pelham, but perhaps making a play on Montpellier.
UNITED KINGDOM : SCOTLAND
Scottish Montpel(l)ier comparisons
Some 5 miles east of Edinburgh lies the village of Inveresk, attractively situated in a small valley opening to the sea, with a climate appreciably milder than that of its surroundings. Its minister, writing in 1792, said "This situation makes the village not only agreeable, but healthy, and obtained for it of old the name of the Montpellier of Scotland" [Statistical Account of Scotland].
Perhaps echoing the description of Inveresk, in 1808, an advertisement for a large house to let three miles east of Edinburgh runs thus: "it is impossible sufficiently to describe the delightful situation and accommodation of this delightful building; and the air being generally very pure, it may, with propriety be termed the Montpelier of Scotland". [Brunstain House, in Edinburgh Evening Courant, 6 Feb 1808].
Again, three years later, land for sale just south of central Edinburgh was described thus: "about 7 acres of Ground, to be feued for villas, at the head of Bruntsfield Links, immediately west and adjoining to the present Lord Provost's house, commanding a most extensive and beautiful view, and by the physicians called the Montpelier of Scotland" [Edinburgh Evening Courant, 26 Jan 1811].
It is here that Edinburgh’s several Montpelier street names are found today.
The same comparison is also seen in the west of Scotland. The Gazetteer of Scotland, by the Rev. John Wilson (1882) ranked Rothesay as "a favourite watering-place, a retreat of invalids, a seat of manufacture, a seaport, the centre of a fishery district, a royal burgh, and the capital of Buteshire; enjoys so fine a climate as to have been long reputed the the Montpellier of Scotland".
Montpelier Gardens, Dundee
Postcode DD4 0NW. No further information.
Montpelier, Montpelier Park and Montpelier Terrace, Edinburgh
As noted above, Montpelier, Montpelier Park and Montpelier Terrace lie in the Bruntsfield area of the city. The names were probably in use by 1810-20, and are still current today. Another favoured part of the city was once described in similar terms: Morningside, the Montpelier of Midlothian [Stranger's Guide]
Montpellier House, Wick
"The other is the key of the old castle of Girnigoe, handed down through the descendants of the last warden, whose name was John Sinclair. It measures nearly one foot in length, and about two inches in circumference. The bole, which is elaborately carved, is about three and a half inches in diameter; and the ward, which displays much ingenuity in the construction, is about three inches on the square. Altogether, the museum is a most interesting one; and strangers visiting Wick are frankly admitted to see it on calling at the doctor's residence, Montpellier House, in the suburbs of the town." (from a web guide to Wick, seemingly no longer current)
UNITED KINGDOM : SOMERSET
Residential street, called simply Montpelier (postcode BS23 2RG/H/Q/J), laid out in 1854, on a site which gave fine views of the bay. It was part of a mid-19th century residential expansion of the town. Name probably due to local journalist, Joseph Whereat, who in an early 1850s guidebook referred to a field "heretofore called the Great Lynch but destined at some future day to become the Montpelier of Weston". The name originally applied to a rather larger district than just the present streetname. Running off this street are Montpelier East and Montpelier Path. (Thank you, Joan)
Montpelier, originally Montpel(l)ier Row, existed in Bath by 1770 (map), probably having been built in the two or three years preceding. This short terrace of 5 houses still stands, though the street is nowadays called Julian Road. These and other buildings were on what had been Morford's Field, on the slopes above the then developing upper town of Bath, and would have qualified for the "airy" description given to other Montpel(l)iers. Thanks to Trevor Fawcett of Bath for this detail. Photos show how they looked on a fine summer's day in August 1997.
Lyncombe, near Bath
The Rev Benjamin Cracknell died at Montpellier Cottage in Lyncombe (on the downs just to the south of Bath) in 1831. In the 1881 Census, the property was occupied by a family named Cogan.
UNITED KINGDOM : STAFFORDSHIRE
Streetname Montpelier Close, no further info to hand.
UNITED KINGDOM : SUFFOLK
Bury St EdmundsDaniel Defoe, in his Tour through the Island of Great Britain (1724-26), observed of the Suffolk town of Bury St Edmunds that it was "a town fam'd for its pleasant situation and wholesome air, the Montpellier of Suffolk, and perhaps of England".
UNITED KINGDOM : SURREY
A former village now absorbed into London's suburbs. It is recorded that the village became known as the 'Montpelier of England' due to its fine air which was a blessing for Londoners escaping the plague - the worst outbreak of which decimated the city's population in 1665. Source of this quote is uncertain, but the Montpellier sentiment probably dates from the 1700s: Samuel Lewis's Topographical Dictionary (1831) says of Mitcham: The air is remarkable for its salubrity, and the place was, by Dr. Fothergill, an eminent physician of the last century, called the Montpellier of England.. Dr John Fothergill lived from 1712 to 1780 (DNB); it's possible his reference to Mitcham is in his Essays on the Weather and Diseases of London which appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine, 1751-4. A mid-century dating would make this by some margin the earliest of numerous 'Montpellier of England' epithets.
Streetname Montpelier Road, off the A23 Brighton Road. It is on rising ground, but not more so than much of surrounding area. Housing is mostly inter-war semi-detacheds, of 1930s appearance. Postcode CR2 ...
SuttonMontpellier Road. Street formed in the first half of the 1890s. Postcode SM1 ...
UNITED KINGDOM : SUSSEX
Has several examples, on rising ground just west of the town centre.
Montpelier Hall, built in the 1830s, was formerly one of the chief properties in the district, once looking down over green fields to the sea; is now the (Grade 2 listed building, shown left below) Montpellier Hall Hotel, in Montpelier Terrace, BN1 3DF.
Adjoining are Montpelier Street, and Road (shown middle and right above), part of a residential estate developed by Amon Henry Wilds, probably contemporary with or only slightly later than the Hall. Montpelier Road has examples of a new order of column invented by Wilds - decorated at the head with ammonites, in a punning reference to his own first name. (In 1819, Thomas Kemp commissioned Amon and Henry Wilds to build 'The Temple' at the top of Montpelier Road on the supposed measurements of King Solomon's Temple. The building now houses Brighton and Hove Girls' School but the Egyptian-style columns can still be seen, though the great central dome has disappeared.) A character in E F Benson's 1908 novel The Blotting Book lived in this Montpelier Road.
Also Montpelier Villas, somewhat more imposing pairs of Regency villas, ascending from Montpelier Terrace; these were built about 1845. Novelist Ada Ellen Bayly (pseudonym Edna Lyall) was born at 5 Montpelier Villas on 25 March 1857.
John Wisden, cricketer, born 1826, first became involved with the game as a boy earning pennies as a longstop on the Montpellier Ground, Brighton (Dictionary of National Biography): the ground was where Montpelier Crescent [seemingly now abosrbed into another name?] now stands.
Brighton locals pronounce the name "Mont-PEEL-eea". See The Argus for a current area guide.
There is another Montpelier Road at East Preston/Ferring, westwards along the Sussex coast from Brighton - postcode BN16 1JZ. From its appearance on map, it is modern residential development.
East Preston, Littlehampton
streetname Montpelier Road, no date.
Funtington, near Chichester
'The Salubrity of the air is so remarkable, that this district may be justly styled the Montpelier of England" -- thus Horsfield, apparently one not normally given to extravagant praise, History, Antiquities and Topography of the County of Sussex (1835).
Washington, PulboroughMontpelier Gardens, a short spur off the old London Road in this small village. Seemingly a modern development, but perhaps influenced by usage in Brighton.
UNITED KINGDOM : TYNE & WEAR
A street on the Montagu Estate in Kenton, to the north-west of the city, is called Montpellier Place. Built around 1953, it is a cul-de-sac, lying on rising ground, so might fit the 'healthy site' model, but neighbouring contemporary street-names seem entirely arbitrary and there is no strong reason to think Montpellier Place is any different.
UNITED KINGDOM : WALES
Llandrindod Wells, Powys
Llandrindod Wells developed its spa reputation from the 1750s onwards, and by 1826 was dubbed by one author “Cambria’s Montpelier” – the first recorded use of the term in Wales. It's not surprising therefore that in Llandrindod’s Victorian heyday, which came after the arrival of the railway in 1865, a Montpellier Hotel – overlooking one of the spa sites - was among the many establishments set up to provide for visitors.
From this photo of about 1910 (courtesy National Library of Wales), the building appears to date from about 1890. During WWII it was one of several town hotels taken over for use by the Royal Artillery’s 124 Officer Cadet Training Unit, and was later a Christian guest house. It was later demolished and the site is now occupied by a modern apartment block, at the northern side of the Temple Street/Montpellier Park junction. The name Montpellier Hotel lives on, however, on the other side of the junction: another Victorian building, formerly the Mostyn Hotel, now carries on the name, along with its tradition of hospitality.
Montpellier Park (Parc Montpellier in Welsh) is a residential road running to the side of and behind the present hotel (pictured). The name first crops up in 1896, and planning applications filed with the former Llandrindod Wells Urban District Council show that houses were being built here steadily between 1909 and 1927. Most of these survive though there has been some more recent development too. Land nearby was known as Montpellier Common or the Dingle in 1908. Montpellier Court, off Montpellier Park, is a recent residential development.
T J Llewelyn Prichard’s “Cambrian Balnea”, the 1826 guide to Welsh watering places mentioned above, is worth quoting at greater length; it has the following verse as frontispiece:Llandrindod, Cambria's Montpelier! Llanwrtyd, Builth, are pictured here; Health's own spas, spread far and near, That Cymru's land is bless’d with; Ruthyn, Barmouth, Swansea fair, Sweet Tenby, with her ocean air! Lakes, alpine heights, vales, woodlands rare: Llanstephan, Aberystwyth.
Montpellier Terrace, Swansea
Not far from the city centre; this was one of 6 terraces developed from 1860 by the St George's Freehold Land Society, on a part of the former Fynone Estate (reported in the Cambrian of 24 Aug. 1860). It is on steeply rising ground.
This was not the first Montpellier in the area - see the following advertisement for villas at Sketty, from the Cambrian of 17 March 1854, describing properties that clearly enjoyed an advantageous position.
UNITED KINGDOM : WEST MIDLANDS
Montpelier Road, postcode B24 8EA (Erdington/Gravelly Hill)
Montpelier Street, postcode B12 0BP (Balsall Heath area). Probably Victorian - listed in 1891 Census of Aston (as Montpellier Street, along with a Montpellier Terrace, perhaps now part of the Street).
Streetname Montpellier Close, CV3 5PL, in the Cheylesmore district; name officially adopted on 2 July 1970. Reason for choice unknown, but probably arbitrary.
DudleyStreetname Montpellier Gardens, no date.
UNITED KINGDOM : WORCESTERSHIRE
In the 1880s, the present Badsey Hall (see photo) was once called Montpellier House, and was used as a school. Today, the name Montpelier is applied to an adjacent property in the village, now 40 High Street, of the early 20th century.
MalvernStreetname Montpelier Road, in West Malvern. Building plots here were being offered for sale in 1855, the newly constructed road being known at first as Montpelier View. Other less expensive plots were to front a proposed new road which became Lower Montpelier Road.
UNITED KINGDOM : YORKSHIRE
Several examples, all concentrated in what is now known as the 'Montpellier Quarter', today comprising antique and other specialist shops. The immediate origin of these names was the nearby Montpellier Baths, erected 1834 by the spa promoter Mr Thackwray, in pleasure grounds near the Crown Hotel, an establishment his family had opened in 1740. The wells on this spot were previously called Thackwray's Garden Spring or Crown Spa (discovered c.1803).
The change of name to Montpellier may have been a marketing ploy by Thackwray after the discovery in 1819 of a chalybeate spring with mineral qualities resembling Cheltenham waters. This water came into 'great repute' and was regarded as a valuable addition to Harrogate's range. (Harrogate had a long-established name (from the 1500s) as 'the English Spaw', but had not experienced the phenomenal Regency growth seen in Cheltenham.) Other signs of 19th-century Cheltenham influence in Harrogate are several streetnames, and a house (now gone) called Pittville, which stood near today's Cornwall Road.
The Montpellier Baths and their surrounding gardens flourished for about 50 years. A Pump Room was added 1870 by George Dawson, but the establishment was mostly demolished c.1890, the main buildings being replaced by the Royal Baths of 1897 - still standing. The only relic of the Gardens site now is the small octagonal building that once served as an admission ticket office (now a small shop). There may be earlier evidence for some of the following street-names, listed in known date order, but good street directories for Harrogate only begin around 1860.
Montpellier Gardens - previously referred to the gardens themselves, and now to a row of shops along southern edge of the site, running up to The Ginnel. No 1 listed in directories from 1861.
Montpellier Parade (above) - listed from 1865. Convex crescent of shops etc facing onto lower end of The Stray. Future line evident from isolated buildings present on 1821 survey.
Montpellier Buildings - listed in directories from 1873 to at least 1910, as part of Parliament Street.
Montpellier Street (above) - linking Montpellier Gardens with Montpellier Promenade. Listed thus from 1873. Montpellier Terrace - part of Montpellier Parade, and listed separately in directories from 1882-3 to 1891-2
Montpellier Square - opens off Montpellier Parade. Today not much more than a service area to rear of commercial premises. Name first listed in directories 1910.
Montpellier Hill - name for length of road ascending in front of Montpellier Parade. No houses; name in use from at least 1875 (postcard).
Montpellier Road (above) - name in use by 1900 (directory); runs past east side of Crown Hotel.
Montpellier Walk, Parliament Terrace (off Montpellier Street). Current; postcode HG1 2QY Thackwray's Garden Spring or Crown Spa had been renamed by him
Montpellier was latterly also the name of a plant hire firm with branches all over Yorkshire and surrounding area
Streetname Montpelier Terrace, postcode LS6 2EX. Probably Victorian - mentioned in 1889.
Montpellier Terrace, postcode YO11 2BZ, pictured above, is mostly solid Victorian building from Scarborough's heyday, in an elevated position with seaviews from the upper storeys. More precise dating details welcome.