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.
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