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Bexley historian uncovers fishy past of local road

PUBLISHED: 10:22 09 January 2014 | UPDATED: 10:22 09 January 2014

Fishers Way

Fishers Way

Archant

We often get asked how certain roads in Bexley got their names, and usually there’s a straightforward answer. Sometimes, though, it can lead us on a very different path of discovery, and here’s a recent example.

We were trying to find out the origins of Fishers Way in Belvedere.

One idea was that it was named after Erith’s coat of arms – the three fish.

But another source indicated that it was named after the Fisher family, and particularly one Albert Edward Fisher, or – as he was better known – “Whistling Rufus”.

He was obviously quite a character, and very well known locally in his day. He died in 1942, aged 78, and the local newspaper wrote his obituary in some detail.

It said: “For some 40 years the residents over a wide area were amused and entertained by him with well-rendered airs on his whistle.

“He played, on request, any selections desired.

“He was a tall, spare man with long flowing white hair and moustaches, and always appeared to be dressed in old cast-off clothes, usually much too large for him.

“Courteous and polite, he acknowledged the appreciation of his patrons with a flourish of his hat and a courtly bow. Many will miss his familiar figure.”

His funeral was at St Paulinus Church, Crayford.

We’re still not certain about the origins of the road, or why Mr Fisher was named “Rufus” – but it’s all part of our fascinating heritage.

To find out more about Whistling Rufus, or the origins of your street name, or any other aspect of Bexley’s local history, visit the Centre in Central Library, Townley Road, Bexleyheath, or email archives@bexley.gov.uk.

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