London's 10 Spookiest Street Names

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By M@
London's 10 Spookiest Street Names

Ten London addresses that are perfect for Halloween...

Hanging Sword Alley, City of London

Hanging Sword Alley

Most City alleys hold little menace beyond the smell of urine. This snickleway, though, is a literal cut-through. The odd name recalls a pub that once stood on the site.

St Mary Axe, City of London

More chopping action at the other end of the City. The origin of the name is disputed, and may come from either a hanging business sign, or the symbol of the Worshipful Company of Skinners.

Bleeding Heart Yard, Holborn

An old and baseless legend says that this cul-de-sac is named after the fate of murdered Lady Elizabeth Hatton, whose body was "torn limb from limb, but with her heart still pumping blood." More likely, it comes from an inn sign. The street is also notable for a secret passage, which you really shouldn't explore (and if you do, don't say we sent you).

Spirit Quay, Wapping

A couple of generations ago, Wapping was a series of moribund docks and warehouses. Today, most of the basins have been filled in, and covered in housing. Here and there, a waterway remains, like Spirit Quay. It recalls alcoholic spirits, which were landed here, rather than anything supernatural, but we'd still feel a little spooked walking along here at night.

Kensington Gore, Kensington

The pincer-shaped pair of streets beside the Royal Albert Hall are named Kensington Gore after some famous person called Gore — possibly Martin Gore from Depeche Mode. We can't be bothered to Google. It's definitely not anything to do with bloody gore. That said, fake stage blood is often referred to as 'Kensington Gore' as a pun on this street.

John Carpenter Street, City of London

John Carpenter Street near the Temple takes its name from the director of such flicks as Halloween, The Fog and The Thing. And do you know the really scary thing? It appeared on maps hundreds of years before he was born. Truly sinister. The more boring explanation is that the street remembers another John Carpenter from the 15th century.

Elm Street, Clerkenwell

Sticking with movie horrors, this short street off Grays Inn Road appears to be the only Elm Street in London. As if to dispel any nightmares, it leads to the more soothingly named Mount Pleasant. (Though historians will know that this name was given ironically.)

Warlock Road, Maida Vale

We couldn't find any witches or wizards in London's street names (other than Merlin Street in Islington), but there is a Warlock Road in the Maida Vale/Kensal Rise borderlands.

Gallows Corner, Romford

Don't try trick-or-treating here. Gallows Corner is named after an old place of execution, but today it's a major road junction.

Brimstone Close, Orpington

This diabolical name in Orpington suggests that eternal damnation is at hand. The notion is reinforced by the ghostly figure atop the scaffolding, in this image we've ripped off Google Street View.


Other notable mentions go to Garlick Hill (City) and Crucifix Lane (Southwark). If you want to cast the ghoulish net wider than London, then we might add Witches Lane in Sevenoaks, Spook Hill in Dorking, Pumpkin Hill in Slough and Wolf Lane in Windsor.

Last Updated 16 October 2019