Places In London That Sound Like They're In The States

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 12 months ago
Places In London That Sound Like They're In The States

Gee, there are a lot of places in London that sound like they should be in America. Here are the most American-sounding of the lot.

Broadway, Westminster

A map of 'Broad Way' circa 1792-99

Surely the most American-sounding thoroughfare in London, Broadway runs from Westminster's Victoria Street in the south, then bends left at St James's Park tube, before turning into the altogether more European Petty France. As you'd expect for an important road like this, it's home to a number of influential buildings including New Scotland Yard and the headquarters of TfL, shrinking penis and all. (Both of these organizations are due to move soon.) When you affix another word (such as Broadway Market, or Ealing Broadway) it sounds far less American.

Times Square, Aldgate

Photo by Matt Brown

London's version of Times Square is altogether more domestic. Celebrate New Year's Eve here at your own peril.

Senate House, Bloomsbury

Senate House: it looks American, it sounds American. Photo by Sam Codrington in the Londonist Flickr pool

Say the word 'senate' and we immediately picture Jimmy Stewart 14 hours into a filibuster, or Barack Obama's universal healthcare being blocked. In fact, it's common for the administrative building of an English university (in this case the University of London) to be called Senate House. What we particularly love about Charles Holden's Art Deco behemoth in Bloomsbury is that it would look right at home in New York City or Chicago.

Springfield, Clapton

Springfield Park, looking fittingly yellow. Photo by Joe O'Malley in the Londonist Flickr pool

Famously, there are a number of Springfields in the States, which has led to speculation over which one The Simpsons' town is based on. London's got just the one Springfield — the name of a road in Hackney, leading to Springfield Park.

Central Park, Plaistow

Central Park and no Matt LeBlanc in sight. Photo by Matt Brown

Yup, we've got one of these too. This one's just around the corner from West Ham's old ground. It doesn't quite have the facilities or scope of its New York City namesake. But there are swings.

America Square, the City

Photo by Matt Brown

It doesn't get much more American sounding than this. America Square, a short walk from Tower Hill, was designed by George Dance the Younger in the mid 18th century, and is dedicated to the American colonies. There's also an America House here.

Richmond

The view from Richmond Hill. Photo by shadow_in_the_water in the Londonist Flickr pool

Richemont in Normandy, France begat Richmond in Yorkshire begat Richmond Castle in Yorkshire begat Richmond in London (Henry VII named his palace here after his ancestral home in Yorkshire) begat Richmond, Virginia (William Byrd II thought the view of the river here was similar to that of the Thames from Richmond Hill). It's a nice, clean line of etymology, but does show a lack of imagination from those with the power to name places.

Maryland, Stratford

Photo by Fanny Imlay in the Londonist Flickr pool

Maryland is American-sounding for a reason: it's named after Maryland Point on the Potomac River. This is where the Ilford merchant Richard Lee emigrated to in the mid 17th century. After 20 or so years, Lee returned to his east London roots, and built a house here called Maryland Point. The area was known as Maryland Point by 1696, and at some time later, truncated to Maryland. A rare case, then, of somewhere in the UK being named after something in the States. Another fact: it's impossible to pass through here without thinking about cookies.

Canada Water

Photo by World of Tim in the Londonist Flickr pool

Well, it sounds North American, anyway. The etymology couldn't be simpler; Canada Water is named after Canada Dock, where ships from (yup) Canada used to berth. One Canada Square at Canary Wharf is also in the running. And while we're on the DLR, we also reckon Star Lane smacks of America, although maybe that's because it reminds us of a certain American-themed bowling chain.

Dollar Bay, Docklands

From the Dollar Bay website

Nope, it's the not the name of some corny American soap, but rather the genuine moniker for a rack of apartments currently going up in the Docklands. We really wanted to know where this very un-English name came from, but no one on Dollar Bay's team seemed to know. Then we read that Dollar Bay is actually the name of this bit of the South Dock. We also know there's a Dollar Bay in Wexford, Ireland — so could it be that ships from there used to moor up here? By the bye, one of the partners behind the new skyscraper is called Mount Anvil, which sounds like something you'd climb in Colorado.

Midtown, doesn't really exist

Not Midtown because Midtown doesn't exist. Photo by Richard Watkins LRPS in the Londonist Flickr pool

Since around 1990, certain parties have attempted to rebrand the area of Holborn and south Bloomsbury as 'Midtown'. OK, the area is now teeming with American companies, such as Google and YouTube, but who cares. The Midtown slur continues to be ridiculed by many (including, on occasion, us). And yet some people just won't give up; as recently as 2015 we were sent bottles of Midtown branded mead. Buzz off.

Last Updated 19 October 2016

Jonathan Wadman

There's a South Park in Fulham, behind Wandsworth Bridge Road. Also a surprisingly high number of roads named with ordinal numbers - my A-Z lists seventeen First Avenues, for example, although at least three of them are outside the GLA boundary.

Matthew Cockerill

In Crouch End we have a Park Avenue South which has always bemused me somewhat.

Juno

Doesn't Senate House look more like one of Moscow's Seven Sisters?

Basiluzzo

Re Springfield I find it necessary to note (as an Oregon native) that at some point Matt Groening, the creator of the Simpsons and an Oregonian himself, finally disclosed that it was Springfield, Oregon that inspired the Simpsons' hometown. For you Brits who can't locate it, Oregon is the much more beautiful state directly north of California.

David Riddle

There's a Central Park on the Greenwich Peninsula as well..

liz59

Most place names in America came from England first. I don't know why you Americans always assume it was American before being English when America was founded by us originally!

John Finn

Other day noticed Trump Street off Cheapside, near a branch of Clinton cards. OK, I'm trying too hard . . .

Paul

my goodness lets hope we are not like the USA at all-the further we distance ourselves from the far right wing zealots and gun nuts the better !

Beccameriel

Of course, Senate House looks as if it should be in New York, it's featured as several Gotham City locations in Batman films

El_Sid

Honor Oak is a rare example of the pre-Victorian spelling that emigrated to the US, surviving in England.

One with DC overtones - The Mall.