Council to drop apostrophes from street signs


Apostrophes will be omitted from street signs produced by North Yorkshire Council, to the dismay of residents and grammarians alike.

The unitary authority said it was ditching the punctuation mark because it caused problems during database searches.

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

It said all new street signs would be produced without apostrophes, regardless of whether they were used in the past.

The chairman of the Apostrophe Protection Society, Bob McCalden, called the decision ‘cultural vandalism’ and said not using apostrophes was akin to spelling street names incorrectly.

Mr McCalden said the council’s reasoning about database issues was ‘ludicrous’ and argued that the authority should fix computer systems rather than scrap apostrophes.

He intends to write to North Yorkshire Council’s chief executive.

In Harrogate, disgruntled residents have spoken to the BBC after the apostrophe was omitted from a new ‘St Marys Walk’ sign – although someone has since corrected the sign’s grammar in pen.

Sam, a postie and former teacher, said: ‘I walk past the sign every day and it riles my blood to see inappropriate grammar or punctuation.’

Resident Anne Keywood told the BBC: ‘I think we should be using apostrophes.

'If you start losing things like that then everything goes downhill, doesn't it?’

This article first appeared on

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