Monday, 16 November 2015

Why is the High Street called the High Street?

Lots of times I talk about the fact that the items you find on PhotoFairytales you can’t find on the high street. Not being able to find something on the high street is seen as something that gives an item a sense of prestige and scarcity. If it’s something found on the high street then any Tom, Dick or Harry can buy it and that means it isn’t your special, unique discovery!

When you hear the term ‘high street’ you tend to picture a street aimed fairly squarely at retail, full of shops and bustle. But why is it called a ‘high street’, even if the street in question is actually named something completely different? Apparently it all started around 1000AD - when the word ‘high’ was used in the context of superiority (think ‘high society’, ‘high ranking’). A ‘high street’ also physically reflected a road that was built more substantially as a main thoroughfare - above all the mud and mire on normal streets!

So the main street through a town became the ‘high street’ because it was usually the only one that wasn’t a mud trail and along which retailers naturally wanted to sell their wares. Now High Street is the most common road name in the UK: there are nearly 5,500 of them. And they all look the same and sell the same stuff - which is why shopping online for your Christmas presents makes so much more sense!

Sarah ;)

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