Apostrophe ‘lives on’ in North Yorkshire


North Yorkshire Council is ditching plans to stop using apostrophes on street signs and has promised to reinstate the punctuation mark on a controversial sign.

It follows local dismay and widespread media coverage, which reached Australia, after the unitary authority said it was ditching the apostrophe because of problems during database searches.

'St Mary's Walk', Harrogate, in 2022. Image: Google Maps

Executive member for highways and transport Keane Duncan said: ‘I am pleased to confirm that this council is not abandoning standards.

‘The apostrophe lives on here in North Yorkshire.’

Cllr Duncan said all new signs would be fully punctuated, with hyphens and ampersands as well as apostrophes, and there would be no ‘unnecessary abbreviation’ of street names.

The council will also replace a controversial ‘St Mary’s Walk’ sign, on which it had omitted the apostrophe– although a resident has already corrected the sign’s grammar in pen.

The chairman of the Apostrophe Protection Society, Bob McCalden, said he was ‘absolutely delighted’ to hear the news.

He said: ‘The Apostrophe Protection Society continues to encourage all local councils to continue to celebrate the social history behind their street names and to keep apostrophes where they should be.’

This article first appeared on localgov.co.uk.

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