The A-Z Of Odd London Street Names (Part 1)

Patrick Hamilton described London as ’20,000 Streets Under the Sky’. He didn’t reveal just how many of them have ridiculous names. Having discovered the outlandish Crooked Usage in Finchley, our curiosity was piqued. With a little help from Londonist readers (thanks), and an unhealthy amount of time scanning map indices, we’ve put together an A-Z of the best. Here’s the first part, covering A-K.

We got the photographic evidence via Google Maps, rather than getting out on the streets. We wouldn’t want to be accused of having too much time on our hands. The list excludes ‘rude’ street names. We’ve already probed that one.

(Edited for typo, 12.40pm, 14 Oct.)

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  • http://twitter.com/AndrewOrange AndrewOrange

    piqued

  • Thegreenwichphantom

    Tee hee – was your curioisity ‘piqued’? Which meant you ‘peeked’ until finally it had ‘peaked?’

  • Thegreenwichphantom

    Tee hee – was your curioisity ‘piqued’? Which meant you ‘peeked’ until finally it had ‘peaked?’

  • bravenewmalden

    There’s a Steep Hill in Streatham that isn’t.

  • http://www.liuzhou.co.uk Lz

    “peaked”? I think you mean “piqued”.

  • Cold
    • Anonymous

      Oh, brilliant find. Just needs a Cobain Crescent.

  • http://twitter.com/BL_Owens Brian Owens

    For H, I think Haunch of Venison Yard (W1K) beats Ha Ha Road…

    • Anonymous

      I’d probably agree, and I tried. But I couldn’t steer street view to get a good photo. 
      Then again, Haunch of Venison is one of many alleys presumably named after an inn, while I imagine Ha-Ha road has other origins…thus making it a tiny bit more unusual in my opinion.

      • http://twitter.com/BL_Owens Brian Owens

        Ah, named after an inn. I always wondered where it came from, I guessed it might have been a butcher’s shop.

        • http://twitter.com/MissJenniep Jennie Pollock

          There’s also a Hanging Sword Alley somewhere off Fleet Street

      • Nick Beagin

        A Ha-ha is boringly just a drainage ditch.  I imagine one was here at some point.

        • Pete

          A Ha-ha (also known as a deerleap) wasn’t a drainage ditch, it was a feature designed to keep deer out of a landscaped garden/parkland without the need for a fence or other boundary structure which would interrupt the view. Although some, like the one at Godmersham Park in Kent, were designed to keep deer IN the park so they could be hunted and not escape to the shelter of the neighbouring woodland (King’s Wood, in the case of Godmersham Park) from whence they came.

          • http://LondonRemembers.com LondonRemembers

            There’s a ha-ha in Richmond at http://g.co/maps/u43em .  Not exactly Central London but I doubt there’s one any closer.

  • http://twitter.com/VictorianLondon Lee Jackson

    I must vote for gloriously gothic Remnant Street.

  • jwadman1504

    Just round the corner from Effort Street is Recovery Street, and both are very close to St George’s Hospital. There’s a Victorian moral in there, I’m sure.

  • http://www.dominicsayers.com Dominic Sayers

    Bleeding Heart Yard? When London has a Bevis Marks? What were you thinking?

    • Michael Jennings

      I think streets named after a pub in the street with a creative name should possibly be excluded from the list. They make it almost too easy.

  • Guest

    My personal fav is Prudent Passage, in the City.  Closely followed Crutched Friars, and the best-named church St Andrew by the Wardrobe.

  • j9

    there is ‘vivian comma close’ in my neighbourhood (Highbury) – yes the punctuation is spelled out.

    • Michael Jennings

      There is a street in Cambridge named Bene’t Street, which a (non spelled out) apostrophe in the street name. It was very hard work to put the street name in writing anywhere without people editing the apostrophe out. As the street contained the bank branch at which my current account was legally located, this happened to me often. (The street has its name because there is a church named after St Benedict in the street, and the formerly longer name has been abbreviated. I suspect in another century the apostrophe will actually be gone).

  • Emerson

    Don’t forget Of Alley…