Quietly tucked away, and yet within plain sight of Exeter's busy High Street ,is a rather intriguing record breaker.

Parliament Street, squeezed alongside Greggs, lays claim to being Britain's narrowest street, measuring just 25" at its narrowest point and 45" at its widest, with a length of about 50 metres.

So what's in a name? While this tiny street linking the High Street to Waterbeer Street has remained relatively unchanged since the 14th century, the most noteable difference is that it was originally named the rather apt Small Lane. Historians believe that at some point during the 17th and 19th centuries the name change occurred but it still remains a mystery as to why exactly. Many claim that it was a joke referencing the power Oliver Cromwell and the Parliamentarians held during the English Civil War, while others argue it changed name due to the 1832 Parliamentary Reform Act as the initial bill rejection saw nationwide riots that included Exeter. 

A small plaque on the wall next to Greggs reads: Parliament Street – believed to be the narrowest street in the world. Width 25” increasing to 45”. However, as any good street historian will tell you that title actually belongs to Spreuerhofstraße in Reutlingen, Germany which ranges from 12.2" (31cm) at its narrowest to 19.7" (50cm)! 

So the next time you're in Exeter, keep a look out for Parliament Street and take a stroll (and photo) along Exeter's very own record breaker. 


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