Tag Archives: water cooler

The Cank: 12th Century Water Cooler?

Cank Street, Leicester, is a well-known thoroughfare near the Market, but do you know the origin of the name “Cank”?

Plaque on Cank Street

Plaque explaining the origins of “The Cank”

According to a brass plaque near St Martin’s, the name refers to “The Cank”, a well first recorder in 1313 AD, and is thought to be a dialect word meaning “gossip”.

A small plaque is set into the road marking the original site of the well, now long gone. Such a tiny marker is easily lost amongst the manhole covers, hydrants and drains, but a careful search of the area will find it.

Cank Well

Plaque marking the site of The Cank

It seems a shame that The Cank is not better known, and despite St Martin’s being a popular area, most people will walk past the plaque, or even sit in the seating that it is mounted on the back of, without even noticing it.

From outside the Olde Sweet Shoppe, you can view both plaques, if you know where to look.

two brass plaques

View of the two brass plaques

So next time you are out and about in Leicester, why not take time to walk along Cank Street (I suggest starting from the Clock Tower so that you can enjoy the newly re-opened Silver Arcade), and see if you can spot the site of The Cank? If you do, you can reward yourself with a relaxing drink at the nearby St Martin’s Coffee Emporium!

Cank Well Plaque

Close up view of Cank Well Plaque