Discworld link is sign of Somerset’s entrepreneurial spirit
Fans of the comedy sci-fi series travel from all over the world to visit Wincanton, which is twinned with Discworld’s fictional city of Ankh-Morpork and includes a Discworld Emporium shop.
Now, developer George Wimpey has named two streets in its new Kingwell Rise development after Discworld locations – Peach Pie Street and Treacle Mine Road.
Inward investment organisation, Into Somerset, says the imaginative approach is typical of the county’s entrepreneurial spirit. Interim CEO Rupert Cox says, “When it comes to finding innovative ways of promoting itself, Somerset is streets ahead of other counties.
“As well as relocating to Somerset to take advantage of our business development opportunities and enjoy our wonderful lifestyle, who wouldn’t want to live in Peach Pie Street or Treacle Mine Road?”
George Wimpey’s decision was inspired by the Discworld Emporium, which is opposite its Wincanton sales office. Regional sales director Richard Goad says, “Usually street names are boring. Sometimes the local council will name roads after councillors. When we suggested this to Somerset County Council, they loved it.”
Former mayor Cllr Colin Winder adds, “The link with Discworld works extremely well for our town, helping to boost the local economy.” Several families had moved to Wincanton just because of the connection.
The imaginative road names were chosen by 1,000 Wincanton residents in an online poll, after Sir Terry drew up a shortlist and later unveiled the signs. He says, “It’s a lovely idea to do something for the sheer joy and incongruity of doing it.”
Other Wincanton traders have cashed in on the phenomenon by selling Discworld sausages, breakfast mix and other products, which are estimated to be worth £70,000 in tourism and trade to the town.
Into Somerset is funded by the local authorities and chaired by Honor Chapman CBE, the first CEO of Think London. It brings together the public and private sector to promote Somerset as a thriving business destination.
Honor says, “Into Somerset is an innovative project encouraging inward investment and promoting indigenous business growth with the message that Somerset offers a wonderful lifestyle and opportunities for business development.”
Sir Terry is the UK’s second most read author and has sold more than 55million books globally, with many having cult status among fans. In December 2007, Sir Terry announced he was suffering from the early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Mock-ups of the road signs are due to be auctioned in July to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Research Trust.
Discworld is depicted as a flat world travelling through space balanced on the backs of four elephants that stand on the back of a gigantic turtle. The first novel in the series, The Colour of Magic, published in 1983, was converted into a Sky TV special. Discworld books regularly top the best-seller lists.