True fantasy: when literary inventions become real locations – The Guardian (blog)

Comic fans, get saving for a deposit – Luton council is to name two streets after characters in the comic series-turned-TV-show Preacher in honour of artist Steve Dillon, who died last year.

As a lasting tribute to Dillon, who died in New York of a ruptured appendix at the age of 54 in October, the town where he once lived is planning to name two streets on a new development after his most famous work for DC Comics’ mature readers’ line Vertigo: Preacher Close and Cassidy Close, named after Preacher’s charismatic vampire friend.

Dillon, who worked on a plethora of comics, co-founded the pioneering Deadline magazine in the 1980s and provided art for 2000AD and DC’s Hellblazer, joins the ranks of those literary figures and their creations with roads named after them.

One of the most recent is The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which Portsmouth council named after Neil Gaiman’s novel in 2013. Gaiman grew up just outside Portsmouth in Southsea and said he was “gobsmacked, befuddled, delighted and baffled” at the honour.

Gaiman is one of the few living writers to receive such an accolade. As you might expect, Shakespeare is well-served; there are apparently 67 streets in his home town of Stratford alone that reference his plays and characters. In Cottingley, West Yorkshire – scene of the famous fairy hoax that fooled Arthur Conan Doyle a century ago – A Midsummer Night’s Dream has lent fairy character names to streets such as Oberon Way and Titania Close.

Speaking of Conan Doyle, it’s little surprise there’s a Sherlock Mews just off Baker Street, the home of the great fictional detective. Also in London, Charles Dickens’s work provided inspiration for Dorrit Street, Little Dorrit Court, Copperfield Street and Nickleby House, among others.

Back in the world of comics, surely the best place to live for anyone who grew up on the British weeklies has to be Bash Street in Dundee – the Scottish city that is the home of the Beano’s publishers DC Thompson.

Really, though, we’ve got to hand it to the Dutch. For starters, they’ve got a whole clutch of residential streets in the town of Almere named after comic creators and characters, including Carl Barks Street (named after the Donald Duck artist), and highways named after Asterix and Mickey Mouse.

But first prize has to go to Geldrop, a town that has an entire neighbourhood of streets named after JRR Tolkien’s epic fantasy classic Lord of the Rings.

Geldrop, a town in the Netherlands with streets named after Lord of the Rings characters

‘Let’s head over to Frodo’… Geldrop, a town in the Netherlands filled with streets named after Lord of the Rings characters. Photograph: Screengrab

The joy of living on Gandalf, Legolas or Galadriel can barely be imagined. Just consider receiving the joyful directions: “Straight up Aragorn, take a left on Saruman, second right on to Faramir and you’re there.” There are streets named for all the principal characters – mostly dwarves and a goodly clutch of hobbits – but, sadly, Google Street View reveals that Frodo and Sam Gewissies are lined with rather ordinary-looking houses, with no signs of cosy hobbit holes.

All stuff to make a bookish heart sing. However, with the government’s housing white paper this week admitting that buying a house is beyond the reach of millions of British people, the dream of owning a home at all might be becoming little more than a fantasy itself.

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