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22 January 2010 | News | By: Lindsey

MidTown Misnomer

MidTown Misnomer

By only lines via the Londonist Flickrpool

A twitstorm's been brewing over the Evening Standard's rather alarmist piece about the alleged "rebranding" of St Giles, Bloomsbury and Holborn as "Midtown". As most of us realise, Midtown's been around as property speak for the area for a good 10-15 years and yet has never caught on, probably due to the fact it's a bland Americanism that is incorrect geographically and stamps all over the distinctive area's history and culture.

Still, Business Improvement Districts like InHolborn have a job to do and perhaps Midtown means more to US and other businesses that might be looking to set up in our fair city. After all, there's Central St Giles to fill and the area could do with more investment to smarten up New Oxford Street and work on the perennial problems of homelessness and drug abuse that still haunt St Giles.

This piece of "news" has certainly got people talking about the area. Here's a taster from the Twitterage....

@jonerr Midtown? Madness. Worst idea ever, or today at least. And for once all ES commenters agree. http://bit.ly/8GMh4w

@surrealistical Last I checked we weren't a USA outpost.

@timcwood Remember when they tried to call the area north of this "Cityside"?

@mercerdavid Utter nonsense. We're Londoners not New Yorkers!

@bat020: Loathsome moneyed cretins plan to rebrand Bloomsbury as "Midtown"

@brandarling Bloomsbury good; Midtown bad. Lame mktg attempt

@phillipsidaway boris, holborn is just that, 'holborn', not 'midtown', which is some horrid americanism

@oneeyegrey What's wrong with Lord Southampton's Little Town, it's original name?

@grindrod Virginia Woolf, Lytton Stratchey, Vanessa Bell... I love the Midtown Group.

And most succinctly:

@darryl1974 Midtown? Piss off.

Have your say on Twitter @londonist or leave us a comment.


Article by Lindsey | 3,292 articles | View Profile


I'm an American living in London, and while the comments like 'horrid americanism' pack a little ouch factor, I do agree with the idea that it's totally wrong to use 'Midtown'! It works in Manhattan where it's been used for ages, but Manhattan is a planned, gridded island with a proper middle of town. It just doesn't translate here to London where pretty much each area's name has a genuine historical value, giving it it's own character. Big part of why I find this city so great :)


Apparently the local businesses are about to vote on the proposal to rename the area. Hopefully at least some of them are on Twitter and will see how popular the idea is... not.


It's about as appropriate to London as Downtown, the Latin Quarter or the Business District.


It's fine as an estate agent's tag to market the area to foreign businesses, but I don't see why the area should be officially rebranded. As others have said already, it flies against the realities of London geography, history and custom. It is just so offensively bland too.

They may vote for this to happen, but if Londoners themselves don't start using the term, it will just die a death.


It is totally ridiculous!
I have put a post about it on my blog: