Places In London That Don't Sound Real

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 93 months ago
Places In London That Don't Sound Real
Little Britain. Photo by Sabine Thöle in the Londonist Flickr pool


Named after a long-vanished pond that quickly froze over in cold weather, Freezywater (or Freezy Water) resides in the north-east corner of Enfield, just within the M25. The area isn't exactly showered with praise, Brewer's Dictionary describing it as "a lacklustre residential locality stuck out on a limb...". It does, however, have a delightfully evocative name. And David Cameron once reopened a distribution centre here.

Cuckold's Point

This seedy name given to a bend in the Thames at Rotherhithe harks back to a pair of 'cuckold's horns' which marked the starting point of the Horn Fair — a riotous annual blowout which marched from here to Charlton. Another legend says the name recounts the time King John had his jollies with a miller's wife, whereafter the contrite monarch awarded the husband with all the land from Rotherhithe to Charlton. That's almost certainly bunkum.

Frozen turkey anyone? Image © Google

Little Britain

The Smithfield street sign demands a double take the first time you encounter it. Back in Elizabethan times, this was called Lyttell Britain — a nod to the Dukes of Brittany who resided here way before that. We like to think messrs Walliams and Lucas used this, consciously or otherwise, for the title of their controversial sketch show.

Aptly in 1886, Washington Irvine wrote of a Little Britain resident who "...had a hearty vulgar good-humor that was irrepressible. His very jokes made his sensitive daughters shudder".

Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children

It might sound like the set up to a Monty Python sketch (indeed the Pythons sometimes used stammering for comic effect), but this place has been doing serious work for afflicted kids since 1993. Palin agreed to lend his name to the centre, after his role as Ken in A Fish Called Wanda; the character was based on Palin's dad, who suffered from a stammer.

Michael Palin. Photo by Norfolklad2015 in the Londonist Flickr pool

Charlie Brown's Roundabout

Not, unfortunately, anything to do with Charles M Schulz. This junction of the M11 was named after a pub which once stood here, the landlord of which was called Charlie Brown. His father — also Charlie Brown — owned the original pub in Limehouse, officially The Railway Tavern but better known as Charlie Brown's. We'll assume both establishments sold peanuts.

What's the most unreal place in London you've heard of? Tell us in the comments below.

Last Updated 11 July 2016