We love world records! There is something about the human desire to be unique that just gets us excited. The Guiness Book of Records tapped into this a long time ago and has been raking in the cash ever since. Some records are true feats of human endeavour – the fastest person, the first person to climb the tallest mountain on each continent, or building the tallest buildings/longest bridges/largest stadiums, etc. And we of course can't think about world records without thinking about Turkmenistan - a country full of absurd, unique and largely uncontested records! If you'd like to find out more about some of these, click here .
Some records are just absurd, such as the most spoons stuck to a person’s body, the world's tallest hat, or even the longest someone has been driving in reverse for, which currently stands at 19 years! You read that correctly. A taxi driver in India only drives in reverse when chauffeuring his clients around the small town of Bhatinda, in the state of Punjab.
The world record for the smallest street probably tends to err towards the second category, being quite an absurd record, which any city could hypothetically choose to beat but hopefully would never bother.
The shortest street in the world is in Wick in the very north of Scotland. The street's name – Ebenezer Place. So how did it get the record for being the shortest street in the world? On the corner of Ebenezer Place is a regular building housing a hotel which happens to have a corner entrance. Quite a normal feature in buildings. Instead of just choosing one of the two streets that the entrance corners, the proprietors of this hotel decided that the corner of this intersection would constitute a new street, which at 2.06m long, pretty much just covers the doorway.
With this quite absurd record comes the fact that 1 Ebenezer Place is now the address for the Bistro of the Mackays Hotel in Wick. A non-assuming simple dining experience offering normal British/Scottish fare. The Mackays Hotel itself was constructed by Alexander Sinclair who had returned from America in 1883, after making his fortune. Sinclair built Mackays Hotel on the corner of Union Street and River Street. The council instructed him to put a name on the short end of the building, as they deemed it a separate street. Ebenezer Place then appeared in the town’s records from 1887.
It turns out that the British have an affinity for short streets, with the UK’s second shortest street also being Elgin Street, Bacup, in north-western England. At 5.2m long it actually held the record until 2006, before it was displaced by Ebenezer Place in Wick, Scotland. We find this quite strange since Ebenezer Place officially became a street in 1887. Why the Guiness Book of Records only decided to recognise it themselves 119 years later, we’re not sure.
As far as the former shortest street in the world goes, this accolade goes to McKinley Street in Bellefontaine, Ohio, in the USA. We’re also not sure how the Guiness Book of Records measured this all American street, as it is officially measured as being between 15 and 30 feet long. That’s 4.5m to 9.1m for the rest of the world. McKinley Street is of course still the second or third shortest street in the world (depending on which end of this oddly vague measurement you choose to use), and the shortest in America.
While you probably don’t want to take too much of a detour to the town of Wick to check out Ebenezer Place, if you happen to be passing through, you might like to make a quick quirky little stop.