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What's in the name?

Byline: Denis Kilcommons ,

I know we've been down Wappy Nick before, but I am asking afresh. Where did the nickname originate?

Wappy Nick is the alternative name for Market Walk in Huddersfield, the lane that runs from the Market Place to King Street.

But why?

I was asked the other night while having a drink in a Huddersfield hostelry and couldn't remember.

The last time the question was raised was two years ago and we got many speculative answers but nothing that was definitive.

Apparently, generations ago, there was an expression that if someone was a clever dick, they could walk six abreast down Wappy Nick.

One reader suggested that according to Elder Sanderson's Book of English Words and Phrases, wappy means crazy or stupid while nick comes from the French niche, meaning a cut, corner, indentation or gap.

"Maybe Wappy Nick once had more bends or angles than it now has, hence was crazy," he said. "Alternatively, maybe there was a pub down there, which turned the area crazy at chucking-out time."

One lady of a grand age said there was, indeed, a pub down there many years ago that sold Wappy Stout.

And historian and author Dr George Redmonds said he was told it got the name because, "It was so narrow you had to wap with your backside to get through." To wap was to bustle. "So the nick could be a narrow place that people wapped down."

Any other explanation?
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Apr 12, 2005
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