I’ve always been fascinated by these tiny alleyways, but not known that they had a special name. In Britain, where they are common, they are called ginnels. They are pathways between rowhouses. According to Wikipedia it is “A narrow passageway or alley often between terraced houses.” They are known as this especially in Yorkshire and Lancashire. A terraced house is defined as one that shares both side walls with other houses, which is “typical of Victorian and Edwardian housing in English cities”.
To me, they look secret and mysterious. I’m not sure why I have such a fascination with empty spaces and absences. This is negative space, not positive. It isn’t a destination, but a way to get to it. But to me, it is intriguing as it is.
My Mom told me about playing in the one that was part of her building complex while she was growing up. This was primarily when it rained.
They look forbidding and inviting all at the same time. Do they lead to courtyards like this?
From an image search, I found several that aren’t enclosed on the top. I don’t know if those are still considered ginnels, or if they are just alleys. To me, they need to be enclosed to fit my idea of them, but then again I just learned this word.
(All photos are copyright of their respective owners and are used for educational purposes.)