Northbank Rebrand Gets The Green Light

By Jonn Last edited 54 months ago
Northbank Rebrand Gets The Green Light

We were going to come up with some pun about the new name representing a new dawn for the Strand (do you see what we did there?) but this is a bloody sunset, isn't it? Curses.

You may love it, you may loathe it, but whatever your feelings it’s happening anyway. The locals have spoken: from this October, the area around the Strand will be known to the world as Northbank.

The decision comes after a majority of businesses in the area, which stretches from Trafalgar Square to the edge of the City, voted yes to the creation of the ‘Northbank Business Improvement District’. This may or may not have something to do with the £8 million Westminster council promised to pump in if they voted yes.

We are, if we're quite honest, a bit on the fence about this one. If the other side of the river is out-competing the Strand these days, it's probably because it’s a beautiful stretch of river frontage combining open space, arts venues and restaurants. Simply adding the word "bank" to a district's name isn't going to change the fact that it’s mainly characterised by bus exhaust fumes.

More to the point, these sorts of rebrands happen all the time and, generally speaking, don’t work. When did someone last tell you they were just popping over to Midtown or Cityside? In London, place names are defined by usage: boundaries are fluid, districts break up, or merge, or vanish altogether. You can't just decree a new name.

And yet, and yet... This area genuinely is a bit lacking in identity. It’s squished between Soho, Covent Garden, Westminster and the Temple, yet doesn’t really belong to any of them. Those Legible London signs tends to designate it "Strand", even the bits that aren't, or "West End", which is so vague as to be meaningless. This isn’t re-branding: it’s just branding.

Whether Northbank will catch on, only time will tell, but one question remains: given that the area across the river is commonly known as the South Bank (two words, definite article), why have they gone with Northbank (one word, none)? Enquiring minds want to know.

Photo courtesy of Cbohncke, taken from the Londonist Flickr pool

Last Updated 02 August 2013

jamie

a friend of mine recently moved to 'putney northshore'. or as the locals call it, fulham.

Karl

I suspect the answer is: it doesn't matter, because there's not really any reason for most people to go there or ever refer to it, other than passing along Strand. No definite article, since you're being picky about it!

Does anyone know why Strand has that name? I know it's German for beach, and it basically used to be the northern beach of the Thames, but why not plage? Or litus? Or just beach?

Mike Tully

Note that SouthBank is the construction introduced by the arts centre.

Null

strand is also English for beach...

Duncan Dunnit

I have a few strands between my inner thighs.

Tina LaCock

Seeing that there is a South Bank, why shouldn't there be a North Bank (yes, I do prefer this spelling and don't agree with "Northbank")? I don't think one can say that one part of the city is better than the other, as South Bank and the Strand area are completely different in so many ways. I, personally, actually love the Strand area, by the way, and don't think it's all about "bus fumes". It definitely has its charm, and whenever I am in London I make sure to spend some time there.

Rachel

When I first saw this story, i was assuming they were going to close the road along the Embankment and make a pedestrian area. That would be a good idea

willshome

The South Bank includes the Southbank Centre, the National Theatre (and, I'd argue, Jubilee Gardens, the Eye and County Hall). The North Bank as separate words would involve all sorts of "what does it include" questions. Northbank works – and I hope it does as this is a neglected area for tourists considering all its treasures.