Saturday, 26 May 2018

Did you wonder how Two Ball Lonnen, Newcastle got its name?

My great-grandparents lived on a street mysteriously called ‘Two Ball Lonnen’ in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. They moved there from Riddell Avenue, Newcastle, about 1934, and opened a general provision store. When I first searched Google maps for images of their home, which they named 'Wynholm', at 297/299 Two Ball Lonnen, it was hard to see where the street name had come from. 

Modern-day view of Two Ball Lonnen, Fenham (Google maps)

‘Lonnen’ means ‘lane’ in the Geordie dialect of the Tyneside, and it seems Two Ball Lonnen was an ancient lane in Newcastle. Old photographs online at the ‘Newcastle City Library Photographic Collection’ reveal the source of the street name. There really were two balls!

Entrance to Two Ball Lonnen, Fenham, c.1905, Newcastle Libraries

Entrance to Two Ball Lonnen, Fenham, c.1905, Newcastle Libraries

As you can see, the lonnen got its name from the ball-shaped ornaments sitting on top of the two pillars, once positioned at each side of the entrance. It didn’t look like this when my great-grandparents moved to the area though.

The following picture shows a view of the street in the 1930s. The entrance pillars have long been removed, but I haven’t yet ascertained when.

Two Ball Lonnen, Fenham c.1930, Newcastle Libraries

Historical images (public domain), online at Newcastle Libraries

© Black Raven Genealogy


  1. That one house could be Four Ball Lonnen.

  2. Fascinating how towns acquire their names...and this one is unique. Love the old photos too!

  3. Thanks ladies, I'm always interested to learn where place names originated too, Marian.

  4. I have included your blog in INTERESTING BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
    Thank you, Chris
    I loved this, living in a street with a funny name as well.. I finally tracked down the origin of it's name same years ago. Nothing at all as interesting as this, but at least I know.

  5. Apologies, error in initial link.. I have included your blog in INTERESTNG BLOGS in FRIDAY FOSSICKING at
    Thank you, Chris

  6. This may be the second comment from me, Dara. I left a comment earlier but I didn't see it post, so I'm writing again. I thought this was a really interesting post, especially because you were able to find photographs.

    I have ancestors from Northumberland, too, in the areas of Newcastle, Bedlington, Woodhorn, Cambois, Wallsend, etc. They were coal miners in the early to mid 1800s. Do you have coal miners?

    You mentioned finding photos at the Newcastle City Library Photographic Collection. Was that at the library website or on flickr, or where? I'd love to know so I can search images for the places my ancestors lived (if there are any). Thanks!

    --Nancy. (ndmessier @

    1. Thanks Nancy, I'd no miners, that I know of. Such a hard life. I found the pictures on the Newcastle Libraries Flicker page. See the general link above, at the end of the post - where it says Newcastle Libraries. Also, there is a url link to each photo in the caption of the photo - may be difficult to spot.


I look forward to reading your comments, even more especially if you're related to someone mentioned in this post.

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