Ebenezer Place, Wick

Ebenezer Place, Wick

Blink and you’d miss Ebenezer Place in Wick, but that’s the point – it’s the world’s shortest street. This is a closely fought title and at 2.06 metres (6 ft 9 inches in old money) it has done well to knock Elgin Street in Lancashire, a comparative boulevard at 5.2 metres, off its perch.

To be fair, there is some debate about whether or not you could call it a street. Ebenezer Place sits at the front of a triangular block (imagine a short, squat, Caithness version of New York’s Flatiron Building) and the straight area constituting the 'street' is only wide enough for a narrow doorway and two brass plaques on either side. The plaques say 'No.1', which is the address (kind of redundant when there’s only room for one doorway) and the name of the occupant – the No.1 Bistro, part of MacKay’s Hotel.

It’s only when you see the building from a distance that the words 'Ebenezer Place' are visible, etched into the top of the building. When it was constructed by Alexander Sinclair in 1883 the Council told the owner to paint a name on the building. It was officially declared a street in 1887.

This went largely unnoticed until Murray Lamont, manager of MacKay’s Hotel, did some research and began a long process of getting it accredited by the Guinness Book of Records. In 2006 Craig Glenday, the editor in chief battled all the way to the far north of Scotland, through wind and rain to see it for himself, and declared it a bona fide record breaker.

To find it, look right at the sharp bend on the road leading into Wick, just before Pulteney Bridge. If you can't make it this far north check out The Wedge in Millport (on the island of Great Cumbrae off the west coast of Scotland), reputed to be Britain’s narrowest house, or The Smallest House in Britain in the Welsh town of Conwy.

How to get there

Mackay's Hotel is the junction of Union Street, River Street, Bridge Street, Station Road and The Cliff, Wick KW1 5ED.

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