Literary Cartography

On August 18 Portsmouth (UK) will rename a street “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” in honor of Neil Gaiman’s novel — a decision widely publicized in June when first  announced by the Portsmouth City Council in a press release titled “Neil Gaiman road name puts Portsmouth on the literary map”.

Now a local says, “That city council web page gave me a chuckle because it says this will put Portsmouth on the literary map. I chuckled because Portsmouth is where Charles Dickens was born, and you don’t get more on the literary map than that!”

Not only is Portsmouth Charles Dickens’ birthplace, Arthur Conan Doyle practiced medicine there for eight years and in his spare time wrote the Sherlock Holmes story A Study in Scarlet.

Nevil Shute of On the Beach fame lived there during World War II and already has two streets named after him. However, the city may have forgotten that fact — a recent road maintenance announcement misspelled the author’s name:

Airport Service Road (from junction with Quatremaine Road to junction of Neville Shute Road – works will progress up the road in seven phases.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]