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.

      1. Although I know the Scottish word ‘wynd’, I think I might just use alley or passage. I’ve been away so long that I can’t remember! In Northamptonshire they use ‘snicket’ to mean a path that runs alongside a fence.

  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. Apparently Sheffielders say ‘jennel’ but then the Sheffield dialect is very different to anywhere else in Yorkshire!

        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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