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#645847 - 2nd Jan 2012 9:31pm Whetstone Lane
granny Offline

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Registered: 29th Jun 2011
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I thought it might be interesting to find the reason behind the name of Whetstone Lane. I would have thought there would have been a link to a particular industry in the area but I don't really know. Neither would I know how long ago it may have been. Anyone got any ideas?

Below is the definition of 'whetstone' found on wikipedia.

Sharpening stones, water stones or whetstones are used to grind and hone the edges of steel tools and implements. Examples of items that may be sharpened with a sharpening stone include scissors, scythes, knives, razors and tools such as chisels, hand scrapers and plane blades. Though it is sometimes mistaken as a reference to the water often used to lubricate such stones, the word "whetstone" is a compound word formed with the word "whet," which means to sharpen a blade, not the word "wet". The process of using a sharpening stone is called stoning.
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#645861 - 2nd Jan 2012 10:20pm Re: Whetstone Lane [Re: granny]
Stegga Offline

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Registered: 28th Feb 2009
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Not sure on this but it could be to do with the river crossing that would have been between the part of the road leading up to Charing Cross and the road leading up the hill opposite (Whetstone Lane). As has been mentioned on this site, a small river ran down the approximate route of Borough Road to the large pool around where the Birkenhead Central area is, so a river crossing would have been where the Borough Rd/Whetstone Ln junction is now.
If it was a shallow crossing or ford of some kind, it may have originated as "wet stone lane". Just a thought.
Any experts out there know the real historic reason for the name?

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#645868 - 2nd Jan 2012 10:34pm Re: Whetstone Lane [Re: Stegga]
bert1 Offline

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Registered: 27th Nov 2008
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Perhaps because its Whet and not Wet its referring to the erosion of the stone the water ran down towards the river, Whetstone, meaning a grinding action on the sandstone.

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#645870 - 2nd Jan 2012 10:39pm Re: Whetstone Lane [Re: bert1]
Stegga Offline

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Registered: 28th Feb 2009
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Loc: woodchurch
It's a shame there is no pictorial evidence of what this river looked like before it all changed. It's just so hard to imagine what the place would have looked like when all you have known is whats there now.

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#645877 - 2nd Jan 2012 10:46pm Re: Whetstone Lane [Re: bert1]
Geekus Offline
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Registered: 26th Sep 2010
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There was a field named Whetstone Meadow (known to exist at least as early as the 1820's). It was situated between Cook St, and Whetstone Lane.

Perhaps the field-name came first?

Considering the number of 'quarry' names in that same area, then perhaps the Whetstone Meadow site was associated the quarrying activity??

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#645886 - 2nd Jan 2012 11:08pm Re: Whetstone Lane [Re: Geekus]
bert1 Offline

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Registered: 27th Nov 2008
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Loc: tranmere
Did we quarry "Whetstones" for industrial/ commercial use?
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#645890 - 2nd Jan 2012 11:27pm Re: Whetstone Lane [Re: bert1]
Geekus Offline
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Registered: 26th Sep 2010
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Originally Posted By: bert1
Did we quarry "Whetstones" for industrial/ commercial use?


...no idea bert. I just thought that there may have been a link with the Whetstone Meadow site and the quarrying activity which appears to have gone along the Happy Valley.

Seems to me that the combination of a water source ('The Rubicon'), quarrying, and whetstones might be more than just coincidence.

Wouldn't the quarry workers require whetstones to sharpen their own stone cutting equipment?

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#645891 - 2nd Jan 2012 11:32pm Re: Whetstone Lane [Re: granny]
yoller Online   content
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Registered: 7th Dec 2008
Posts: 461
Loc: Cheshire
In his authoritative book Sidelights on Tranmere, author J E Allison mentions the 'wet' stone idea, but does not expand on it. He says:

'Linking the east and west side of Whetstone (should it not be Wet Stone?) Lane was a string of stepping stones, upstream of which, according to tradition, there grew the best watercress in Wirral.'

Elsewhere, he says:

'The old way from Woodside to Chester was directed along Grange Lane, on its low ridge above the Happy Valley, as far as Whetstone Lane. There was then a short descent to the ford (or stepping stones over the stream) before the half mile climb to the top.'

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#645892 - 2nd Jan 2012 11:35pm Re: Whetstone Lane [Re: granny]
diggingdeeper Offline

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Registered: 9th Jul 2008
Posts: 9871
Loc: Birkenhead
Grange lane being later renamed to Grange Road
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#645893 - 2nd Jan 2012 11:45pm Re: Whetstone Lane [Re: diggingdeeper]
bert1 Offline

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Registered: 27th Nov 2008
Posts: 7864
Loc: tranmere
Whet shouldn't be confused with wet, Whetstone as we all know is used for sharpening tools and I suppose other uses if we research it, wet, as in water is only the required lubricant or oil can be used.
The Quarry workers may well have had Whetstones, but I would think their tools would require a more abrasive grindstone, perhaps trying to find out what was quarried would lead us in the right direction. Anyone know?
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#645896 - 2nd Jan 2012 11:54pm Re: Whetstone Lane [Re: bert1]
yoller Online   content
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Registered: 7th Dec 2008
Posts: 461
Loc: Cheshire
Allison's book says there were once seven quarries in Tranmere township, one being in Quarry Bank, off Whetstone Lane.

They quarried Triassic sandstone to use as building material.

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#645898 - 3rd Jan 2012 12:00am Re: Whetstone Lane [Re: yoller]
bert1 Offline

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Registered: 27th Nov 2008
Posts: 7864
Loc: tranmere
Definitely wouldn't have used sandstone, to soft for Whetstones.
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#645899 - 3rd Jan 2012 12:04am Re: Whetstone Lane [Re: bert1]
diggingdeeper Offline

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Registered: 9th Jul 2008
Posts: 9871
Loc: Birkenhead
Originally Posted By: bert1
Definitely wouldn't have used sandstone, to soft for Whetstones.
That's what I thought, but a quick google shows elsewise much to my surprise!
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#645906 - 3rd Jan 2012 12:23am Re: Whetstone Lane [Re: Stegga]
Norton Online   Reading

Smartchild

Registered: 29th Sep 2011
Posts: 608
Loc: Wallasey
Originally Posted By: Stegga
It's a shame there is no pictorial evidence of what this river looked like before it all changed. It's just so hard to imagine what the place would have looked like when all you have known is whats there now.


If you look at the Electoral Ward Boundary on a large scale map, you will see that it mianders around the centre of Borough Road, rather like a stream - which is probably what it originally followed i.e. a natural boundary.
Another thought is that it could have been named after someone called 'Whetstone'. I'm thinking here in electrical theory terms of something called a Whetstone Bridge, named after its inventor.

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#645908 - 3rd Jan 2012 12:37am Re: Whetstone Lane [Re: granny]
diggingdeeper Offline

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Registered: 9th Jul 2008
Posts: 9871
Loc: Birkenhead
Electrical is a Wheatstone bridge after Charles Wheatstone who used it but didn't invent it (that was Christie).

Whet and wet are two completely different words, to whet means to sharpen.
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