Needless Alley in Birmingham, England dates from when there was no urban planning, and footpaths later became roads. It was a haunt for ‘ladies of the night’ and their clients who appreciated the shadows against the buildings. Take for example the madam accused of keeping ‘disorderly houses’, and her assistant charged with being “a nymph, resident in Needless Alley”.

Nobody seems to know the origin of the name, although the Birmingham Journal did dub it ‘needless by name and needless by nature’ when it tried to shut it down. These days it is full of posh shops, and needless to say, here to stay.