Queen’s or Queens’

Susan and I were momentarily puzzled this afternoon over whether Queen’s Road was named for Queens’ College, at the back of which it more or less starts, and whether therefore the apostrophe on the new road sign was in the wrong place.

On the old roadsign there was no apostrophe at all, which is mildly shocking.

queensBut Susan tells me the sign has been updated and now has an apostrophe, before the ‘s’, indicating that the road is of a single queen (which, I have no idea). Queens’ College, on the other hand, most definitely has the apostrophe after the ‘s’, having been named for two: Margaret of Anjou (1448), queen of Henry VI, and Elizabeth Woodville (1465), queen of Edward IV, the college having been founded and then refounded.

It seems, after a little googling, that there is no connection between road and college: their confluence is coincidental. This is fortunate for the city council, whose mailbox would otherwise have been full to bursting; people (read, Susan and I, although Susan denies it) are oddly sensitive about the placement of apostrophes.

Queen’s Road starts at the junction of Silver Street, Sidgwick Avenue and Newnham Road, and is the road which runs along the backs of some of the most famous colleges – in order, Queens’, King’s, Clare, Trinity Hall, Trinity, John’s. Always worth a walk, whatever the state of its apostrophes.

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