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Newsletter, October 2003 (Issue 153)

No Geishas Here!

Research into a recent enquiry concerning the naming of Tokio Road, which runs between St John's and Marlborough Roads, turned up what appears to be a possible intervention of moralistic disapproval at the beginning of the last century.

In February and March 1905, a Mr Arthur Warne was evidently planning to develop land between these two roads. He submitted layout plans to the relevant Borough Committee - Paving and Lighting - for three new roads, and proposed for them the names of Weymouth, Tokio and Geisha, which were agreed to by the Committee. But in May 1908, he asked its approval to a change of name of "one of his proposed roads" from Geisha to Lansdowne Road. This now forms the extension of Tokio Road across Marlborough Road.

One can't help but wonder why one of these names of obvious Japanese association should have been abandoned like this. Surely it couldn't have been that the choice of the name Geisha upset the sensitivities of some of Mr Warne's Ipswich fellow citizens? Or could it?


    Front cover of issue 153 Cover, issue 153

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