As a thanks you to everyone, and because I’m lazy, I have incorporated all your comments on London road names into one easy to read, and write for me, post. Without getting too tearful, it really is hugely gratifying to get such great responses. I highly recommend everyone to have a look through all the comments, with quotes to back up suggestions and links to help explain things further. What a clever and interesting bunch you are. So come on, get in close – group hug!
From Matt – Threadneedle Street & Coldharbour Lane, also Petticoat Lane’s an odd name when you think about it. Matt also supplies a link to a post about Scottish road names in Poplar, and a 1923 book about London road names, which I have been reading online.
From my colleague David Styles over at http://cabbieblog.wordpress.com/ – Little Britain (No Matt Lucas or David Walliams), Bleeding Heart Yard (named after an ancient religious symbol), Crutched Friars (not as rude as it sounds, its an old form of cross), Electric Avenue SW9 (first street with electric light), Ogle Street W1 (place for lechery), Rotten Row (was the first throughfare with light in England), Undershaft (old term for a maypole) and French Ordinary Court (Ordinary is an old English word for eating).
Battersea Dog suggests Petyward in Chelsea and Lavender sweep in Battersea.
Jules, who I suspect is another Battersea resident; “In Battersea there’s a little corner full of references to Afghanistan – Afghan Road, Candahar Road, Khyber Road and Cabul Road. From the fact that the spelling is different to current accepted usage (Kabul, Kandahar etc), I’m guessing that these are fairly old street names, although I have no idea of their history – maybe some link with Britain’s 19th century military exploits in Afghanistan?”
M@ (who I just knew would love this); Endlessly entertaining subject. Hanging Sword Alley, near Fleet Street., Turk’s Head Yard, near Faringdon. Oh, and there’s a Tessa Sanderson Close somewhere in the northern suburbs. Dullest name has to be Avenue Road in St Johns Wood. Bor-ring.
Britt – not content with suggestion a couple of names, gives us chapter & verse on their history.
The one I immediately came to think of was the little narrow Frying Pan Alley, nr Middlesex Street. Always wondered how it got its name , never bothered to check it up. Nicked this explanation from http://www.walksoflondon.co.uk :
“Frying Pan Alley. The frying pan was the emblem once used by braziers and ironmongers. It was the custom for ironmongers to hang a frying pan outside their premises as a means of advertising their business. The number of such businesses in this alley led to its being named Frying Pan Alley.”
Another one which springs to mind is Little Britain.
After first thinking Matt Lucas must live here (not), I’ve now learnt (from http://www.victorianlondon.org.) that it used to be the residence of the Dukes of Brittany. “As London increased, however, rank and fashion rolled off to the west, and trade creeping on at their heels, took possession of their deserted abodes. For some time Little Britain became the great mart of learning, and was peopled by the busy and prolific race of booksellers…”
Chris – How about Shooters Hill SE18, Popes Head Alley EC3, and the most strange I think, Trevor Square SW7 so grand yet such an unimaginative name.
darryl853 – Of course, it has to be Ha Ha Road, SE18 – crossing Woolwich Common (next to its ha-has). And, like Snowsfields, single-word names usually make me stop and think. Like Colonnade, WC1, behind Russell Square station.
MartCAFC – There a few crackers, Bleeding Heart Yard, Jockeys Field and not forgetting French Ordinary Court – which is off of Crutched Friars.
James Cousins – Poultry. Why not Poultry Road or Poultry Street? Were hens really that important that Poultry sufficed as a road name? Throgmorton Street. I just love the way sounds (and also spent far too much time and money in a cellar bar there that was blessed with no mobile signal).
I’ve taken the liberty of editing bits out and tidying up other parts, and also put capital letters where they need to be for those that couldn’t be bothered, (that’s you MartCAFC!) but as you can see there’s some jolly interesting stuff, so give yourselves a pat on the back.