Black and White Sunday: Passage

Passage as in Passageway.

A literal interpretation. Mint Wall Passage on the Bailgate, Lincoln, England. Doors are often found alongside cottages in medieval towns leading to a passageway from which entrances to hidden houses or gardens are found.

In Shropshire such passageways or alleys are known as ‘shuts’, in Scotland and possibly north-east England they call them ‘wynds’, in Yorkshire I used to know them as ‘ginnels’ but ‘snicket’ and ‘gennel’ is also used. What unusual name is used in your region for a passageway or alley?

Please visit Paula to see other representations of this week’s challenge.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

38 thoughts on “Black and White Sunday: Passage”

  1. Words like this! I love them. Robert Macfarlane has written a book called “Landmarks” about different physical features, and he provides a glossary of many pages of words associated with each feature from all sorts of dialects: extremely precise and useful words, like smeuse. In Sussex dialect this means a gap in the hedge made by the regular passage of a small animal. We’ve lost so much precision. I wonder if your passage words denote differences in the kind of passage?

    1. I believe a ginnel was a passage between two buildings but a snicket was one that ran alongside a fence. Yorkshire words are tricky because they vary a lot between one town and another. A lot of slang words come from the Norse/Dutch/Germans.

        1. Well it is a BBC site so maybe you can’t open it anyway – I think some are restricted to the UK, but usually videos and this is just text.

  2. Fascinating. I now long to open that door to see a passageway. Beautifully rendered in black and white Jude. I have a question about the word wynd for a passageway. Is it pronounced as wind or (waind)?

    1. A good question Paula, and to which I have no answer. I would pronounce it waind (as in the path winds alongside the river), but we probably need a Scots person to tell us which is correct.

  3. In my local dialect in Germany they were called “päddsche”, for standard German “Pfädchen”, meaning “little/narrow path”.

      1. It was the outer wall of the Basilica which was where business and legal activities took place so I am guessing that it probably why it is called the Mint.

        1. What that Sheffielders are very different? When I travelled to work by bus I used to eavesdrop on conversations (not hard, people always talk too loudly in public) and half the time couldn’t understand a word!

  4. I’ve come across all your Yorkshire and Scottish variants. I agree wynd is wind as in what you do to clocks (or used to) not wind as in sails. The joys of the English language! Mind you, I think Wynd is mostly used in new housing estates now, alongside Gate. They are never just streets it seems! I would call such a passageway a cut – could that be a north-east England variation, or is that just me?

  5. This is an interesting discussion about words and their meanings. I haven’t come across any unusual words for this type of walkway in Australia, but maybe I just didn’t notice. I will be more observant in the future. Mr ET is originally from Victoria and he calls the walkway between rooms in our home the passage while, as a Queenslander, I call it the hallway. We also have different names for the strip of lawn between the house and the road. He calls it a nature strip and I call it the footpath.

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