Monday, October 29, 2012


click photo to enlarge
The word "avenue" in English originally comes from the French avenir and Latin advenire, to come to or to approach. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the word was often spelt, "advenue", and in the eighteenth century "a'venue" was used. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) records the first use of "avenue" meaning "approach" in a piece dating from 1639. However, by the eighteenth century the definition of the word that we use today - an approach or road lined with trees - was widely accepted. The United States seems to have modified its usage of the word to mean any fine, wide street, but in Britain trees are usually implied by "avenue".

The habit of lining a street, road or entrance driveway with trees to give it an enhanced status is a practise of long standing. It is a feature seen in the grounds of most large English country houses. Towns and cities with streets of eighteenth and and nineteenth century foundation often have such trees and feature the word "avenue" in their name. Municipal parks of the Victorian and Edwardian period usually have avenues, and the rare park of eighteenth century date, such as that at King's Lynn, frequently have them too. Go to the municipal cemetery- usually a nineteenth century creation - and here too you will find a tree lined road leading from the main entrance or to the chapel.

We recently, for the first time, walked into the cemetery at Boston, Lincolnshire, and found here a fine, imposing avenue leading from the entrance gatehouse to the chapel. Unusually it had a mixture of trees rather than being restricted to one or two species. Pines stood alongside beech and lime, with the deciduous trees shedding their leaves on the tarmac and gravestones below. we didn't venture far into the cemetery - that exploration can wait for a later date - but I lingered long enough to see two men come into view at the bottom of the avenue, figures to give some scale to my symmetrical shot down the roadway.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 105mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/100
ISO: 1000
Exposure Compensation:  0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On