London’s Single-Named Streets…Mapped

Stop sniggering. Image by D I C K S D A I L Y in the Londonist Flickr pool.

Have you ever wondered about the origin of those London streets that carry just a single-word name? We have!

We’ve embarked on a project to map each of London’s single-named streets, and we need your help. So far we have limited our efforts to the N/S/E/W postal districts for reasons of time and sanity, but any that you can highlight in the comments below will be added to the ever-growing collection. We start at 291, let’s see how many more we can identify.

In the meantime, here’s a few of the more original we’ve found so far.

Aeroville: the alphabetical winner lies in Colindale. Claude Grahame-White, a noted aviator of the early 19th century and owner of the Grahame-White Aviation Company, built Aeroville for his employees working at nearby Hendon Aerodrome. Hendon Police College now sits on the site of the old aerodrome.

Queenhithe: a short street a little to the west of the north end of Southwark Bridge, which gives its name to one of the 25 wards of the City of London. The dock at the end of the street probably dates from Roman times, though its corn and fur shipping days are long behind it.

Peverel: one of eight single-named streets just to the east of Beckton DLR station. The others are Oxleas, Wheatfields, Warwall, Stonewall, Ashen, Bradymead and Hide. If anyone knows the origin of this outbreak of one-namers, please let us know!

Poultry: as with many others in the City, a street named after the profession that was drawn to it in the middle ages. The street has a fascinating and often bewildering history of mayhem behind it, which is explained far better at the British History Online website than we could ever manage.

Neckinger: sits atop the ancient London river of the same name, which runs entirely beneath ground in Southwark. As befitting a city built on many a horrible history, the name comes from a gibbet erected to string up pirates at nearby St Saviour’s Dock.

Castelnau: built in Barnes in 1827, this street was named after the family seat of the Boileau family, Castelnau de la Gard at Nimes. The family themselves had fled France along with countless other Protestants in 1685 and slotted effortlessly into the anti-Catholic English aristocracy, though King James II was soon to have a say about that. And the London street used to be home to noted travel writer Eric Newby, from whose ‘Departures and Arrivals’ its facts have been drawn.

Corbicum: one of the stranger names in the list. It was the only street in Upper Leytonstone to have come out in favour of the introduction of controlled parking in a vote last year. Yes, that’s the best we can do. Can anyone enlighten us as to its origins?

Dylways: named after an antiquated spelling of the area in which it sits, Dulwich. Unusually, the street splits in various directions around residential buildings, and in some places meets up with Crosswaite Avenue but elsewhere with a single-name colleague named Woodfarrs. Woodfarr and Dylways — solving crimes on a TV screen near you before the year is out.

Strand: no, not ‘The’ Strand, check the signs will you. The name is taken from an old word for ‘shore’, from when the river was a great deal wider before the Victorians embarked (embanked!) on a land grab.

Molescroft: one of an unusually large number of single-named streets within the environs of Eltham, SE9. With a sense of whimsy not usually associated with the area, elsewhere one can stroll down Bromhedge, Berryhill, Littlemeade and the excellently named Beanshaw.


View Larger Map

So please use the comments below to name single-word streets in the outer boroughs, any you think we’ve missed or any we’ve included that you don’t think should be there (bear in mind we’ve not been able to visit all these in person…). No ‘The’ streets, please — just single-word names.

By Chris Lockie

See also:

 

Tags: , ,

chrislockie

Article by Chris Lockie | 150 Articles | View Profile

  • Sophie

    Others off the top of my head: Groveway SW9, Parkfields SW15,

  • Tom Chivers

    Neckinger’s not the only lost river with a single-word road named after it – there’s also ‘Walbrook’ in the City

    • MattFromLondonist

      Cheers Tom. It’s on the map…just Google’s limitation of 200 pins per map means it’s on the second page.

  • Andrea

    Coldharbour, E14

  • Tom Bolton

    The Neckinger is not entirely beneath ground: St. Saviour’s Dock, where it runs into the Thames, is open to the elements.

    • Tom Chivers

      Hmmm but St Saviour’s is just a tidal inlet surely?

      • Tom Bolton

        Partly, but when the tide is out a smaller channel still flows through the mud along the length of the inlet.

        • Tom Chivers

          Seriously? Wow that’s news to me! I must go and re-check :-) Do you know where it comes from? I’ve had a look for outlets in the wall at low tide but couldn’t see anything. I find the Neckinger as a whole a very unconvincing river!

  • HoosierSands

    OK, when *did* Strand lose the “The”? The 18c maps I’ve seen all have it as “The Strand”.

  • Stephen Colebourne

    Eastway in Cannon Hill/Raynes Park (you’ve got all the others, from Crossway to Westway to Linkway to Firstway…)

  • Claire

    Castlegate, TW9

  • http://blog.gooneruk.com gooneruk

    The Peverel/Beckton part got me interested. It’s bordered on the south by Covelee’s wall, which was apparently a form of flood defence of the marshes (http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=42753, and on the north by Newark Knok. A “knok” was a ridge of some kind, and I think between the wall and the ridge was a large farm. The “leaze” in Horse Leaze and Cow Leaze meant pasture or common ground (http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=41929, with Oxleas no doubt a derivative of that, and “ley” in Tunnan Leys also meant field.

    The other names are equally interesting. Peverel was a knight who accompanied William The Conqueror in 1066, and he owned most of modern day West Ham (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Peverel. Sudbury was a manor within his land, which made up the majority of that area.

    Downings seems to refer to a slope, which makes sense given the ridge mentioned above. Ashen could mean that there was an ash wood on the slopes of the ridge. Bradysmead doesn’t refer to “mead” in the more usual sense of the drink, but in the form which eventually became “meadow” (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=mead. I guess Brady was another local noble?

    Warwall could be a reference to an actual wall, but I think it’s more likely to be a derivative of “worral”, which is a place name that roughly translates to “corner where bog-myrtle grows” (http://www.houseofnames.com/warwall-family-crest. Given that bog-myrtle grows in tidal areas (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrica_gale, this seems about right for that area.

    Wheatfields and Stonewall seem relatively self-explanatory, if my general farm hypothesis is correct. I thought Hide might be in the sense of a hunting area, but it seems more likely that it refers to a measure of land, perhaps a precursor to acre (http://etymonline.com/?term=hide.

    Hope this helps! I found it really interesting to do a quick bit of research on it all.

  • BiscuitRabbit

    I wonder if, in contrast, there are any hugely wordy street names?

    • Jonathan Wadman

      I don’t know how official it is, but my A-Z shows South Woodford to Barking Relief Road as an actual name, rather than a description. That’s six words.

  • Birtaswas

    Broadmead, SE6. Named after one of the fields of Bellingham Farm, on which the Bellingham estate was built in the early 1920s.

  • Andy Donaldson

    Minories (E1), and Parkway (NW1)

    • Chris

      Both of those are there already, as is Broadmead..

      • Birtaswas

        Sorry, was looking at the map on a phone!

  • HoosierSands

    Butterwick W6, named after a manor house I think.

  • Jonathan Wadman

    I can offer Cotelands, Croydon, CR0.

    • ARP

      Another in Croydon (CR0): Sandilands

  • Nick

    Until quite recently there was Circus next to Crescent (near Tower Hill), but I can no long remember exactly where t was.

  • Guest

    Aldwych

  • Patrick

    Lyndale, NW2, across other side of the Hendon Way from Lyndale Avenue leading to plenty of confused delivery drivers/taxis

  • Andrew

    Bishopsgate? No?

    • MattFromLondonist

      Yes. It’s there already.

  • Andrew

    Also Queenhithe was originally Ealdredshythe (which still counts), dates most likely from the late 9th century re-occupation of London and was given the name Queenhithe when the revenues from goods landed there were transferred to whoever the Queen was in I think the 12th century.

  • Micky

    Snowsfields SE1

  • slurp

    Downage, NW4

  • slurp

    Woodlands, NW11