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Shrewsbury is steeped in a wealth of medieval history, including plenty of ancient street names, amongst them the intriguingly titled Grope Lane. Location of Grope Lane in Shrewsbury. Image courtesy of OpenStreetMap.

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Grope Lane in Shrewsbury town centre is the modern incarnation and is the last place in Britain to retain the name.

Steve woods | a salacious street name

The pair found a of saucy street names had been eradicated from road s in the Midlands, yet some remain today. At some unspecified date the street was renamed Grope Lane, which it has retained to the present day. Jump to Street names date back to brothels and red light districts Street names in some of Britain's most salubrious market towns back to year-old brothels and red light districts, research has found.

Location of Grope Lane in Shrewsbury. The bizarre research project started after a pub conversation between the stteets and respected medieval historian Professor Richard Holt. Streets with that name were often in the busiest parts of medieval towns and cities.

People used to maintain that red light districts were banished from the town centres, but when we looked at these names they were right in the heart of the towns. Although the name shrewsbjry once common throughout England, changes in attitude resulted in its replacement by more innocuous versions such as Grape Lane.

In fact, that's nonsense, it is a blatant reference to the sort of activity that went on there. They were not clamping down on these red light areas, they were streefs them - and in most cases turning a blind eye to what was really happening down Grope Lane.

When you look at these street names it provides a fascinating insight into life in the medieval era. Shrewsbury srreets steeped in a wealth of medieval history, including plenty of ancient street names, amongst them the intriguingly titled Grope Lane.

prostitutiln Image courtesy of OpenStreetMap. Dr Nigel Baker, archaeology researcher at the University of Birmingham, found most related to the red light districts and brothels that sprang up in towns such as Worcester, Shrewsbury and Hereford in the 16th Century.

However, Grope Lane is also reputed to be linked to trade — this time the pleasures of the flesh. Grope Lanes were found in all sorts of towns, small and large.