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STRUTH! Weird ruling behind shortest street

October 15, 2016 Weird & Wacky No Comments Print Print Email Email

unnamed-22THE postman has no problem knowing where to deliver the mail to a hotel in Scotland, because it’s the only building on what is the world’s shortest street at just 2.06 metres in length.

And how it got its name is just as bizarre as how it became a street in the first place. Because it was back in the 1880s that businessman Alexander Sinclair returned home from working in America, and built himself a three-storey hotel at the junction of Union and River Streets in the little town of Wick in County Caithness.

He enjoyed quietly running his Mackay’s Hotel as he named it, when the local council, whose enthusiasm for pedantic regulations was renowned, sent him the strangest of demands.

It decreed that because there was a distance of 6 feet 9 inches (2.06m) between where Union and River Streets ended on either side of the skinny end of his wedge-shaped hotel, and that those streets did not actually meet, it was his responsibility to give a name to the space between them because it was outside his hotel.

And even more bizarrely, to put a number at the doorway facing that space, as it now led into his hotel “off a street.”

Deciding that those on the council were of the same ilk as the cantankerous and forever grumbling Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Mr Sinclair cheekily put “Ebenezer Place” above the top floor window of his hotel – and No 1 not just above the door, but on either side of it.

And they all remain there to this day, still warmly welcoming guests to Mackay’s Hotel.

David Ellis


World’s Shortest Street Ebenezer Place Wick Scotland

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