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London Trivia: 'What's in a name?" of Tube stations?

London Trivia: 'What's in a name?" of Tube stations?

Nov 17th, 2008, 08:00 AM
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London Trivia: 'What's in a name?" of Tube stations?

Last Feb went to the bookstore of the recently reopened and revamped London Transport Museum - a great place even if you don't pay to go into the museum to buy Tube-and London transit-themed souvenirs.

Picked up the book "What's in a name?" - "The origins of the names of all stations in current use on the London Underground and Docklands Light Rail and their opening dates."

As an avid Tube and train buff i am also interested in what is behind some of those oft to me weird names.

In this thread i'll relay what i've learnt about some of the more unusual and fascinating ones.

SWISS COTTAGE has long perked my interest of how that name came into being for not just a Tube stop but an area of London:
The name comes from a famous London tavern The Swiss Tavern, later changed to Swiss Cottage.
The pub was rebuilt in the 1960s into the form of a real Swiss Cottage and 'claims to be the largest pub in London."
something for me to look up on my next London say this Feb.

TBC
PalenQ is offline  
Nov 17th, 2008, 08:15 AM
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This is a big pub of sprawling dank that offers no discernable reason to visit. The pub and its large paved beer garden are in the middle of one of the busiest roundabouts in the country

OK alan now i know i'll be heading out - all the other reviews seem also to be universally negative.

Q- why is it London's biggest pub if no one goes there? (Like Yogi Berra's saying about a popular restaurant - "Yeh no one goes there anymore because it's too crowded"
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Nov 17th, 2008, 08:36 AM
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PalQ - tell us some more...
SallyCanuck is offline  
Nov 17th, 2008, 08:45 AM
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Swiss Cottage pub is shite on stilts. Full of wrongsters and dolemoles mingling with people rich enough to afford Swiss Cottage but not rich enough for Hampstead.

There's a good little theatre there though (not in the pub but nearby - confusingly it's called the Hampstead Theatre).

Cholmondley_Warner is offline  
Nov 17th, 2008, 09:10 AM
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It's thg biggest because someone built it that way nigh on a century ago.

That doesn't make it busy. I've never seen that many people in it.

One of the reasons is that it's bloody unpleasant to get to. Why drink in a tip that you've got to risk getting killed to enter when there are 10,000 tips you can walk in off the street from? The other is that Swiss Cottage isn't, except for the dozen people going to the Hampstead Theatre, excactly the throbbing centre of London nightlife.
flanneruk is offline  
Nov 17th, 2008, 09:13 AM
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Swiss Cottage as i remember asking before is to my mind also a place filled with Americans living in London?

OK Sally - thanks - how about CHARING CROSS

According to tradition (but i guess not sure) Edward I erected a stone cross here - now in the courtyard of the upper level train station - on the last resting place of his Queen Eleanor's funeral cortege - last resting stop en route to Westminster

that's the Cross part the Charing comes from the little village here named Cyrringe, from OEnglish 'cierring' - meaning to turn perhaps after the bend in the river Thames here

The modern name for the Tube station apparently only dates from 1979 - book says Bakerloo station opened as Trafalgar Square in 1906 - Northern Line opened as Charing Cross in 1907 but was soon renamed Strand in 1915 until it was closed for reconstruction in 1973 - when the combined tube station for all three lines was opened in 1979 the name for all three was named Charing Cross, probably after the mainline rail station above.
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Nov 17th, 2008, 09:37 AM
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The story behind Charing Cross is a bit more romantic than that: Queen Eleanor died away from London, and the King decreed there should be a memorial cross at every place the cortege rested on the way back to London - how devoted is that (especially since he was better known as a ruthless warrior)? Charing Cross was the last before the funeral at Westminster: some other placenames still survive (Waltham Cross for one):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleanor_Cross
PatrickLondon is online now  
Nov 17th, 2008, 09:44 AM
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And the cross is still there - in the forecourt outside.

Incidentally all OS distances in Britain to/from London are measured from Charing Cross (the actual Cross) - so it really is the middle of London.
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Nov 17th, 2008, 09:48 AM
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PS If you're ever feeling a bit glum and need cheering up; get a Scottish person to say "Charing Cross". They can't do it. Not even my Mum and I have spent HOURS trying to put her right. Which she obviously loved.

(Making them say "banana" is even better)
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Nov 17th, 2008, 09:52 AM
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I'll bet she got ****ing cross, at least...
PatrickLondon is online now  
Nov 17th, 2008, 09:59 AM
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It was hard to tell. She stopped talking altogether for ages.
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Nov 17th, 2008, 10:02 AM
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Which begats how Londoners pronounce Charing Cross

Is it Char-ring Cross or, like i think i hear it and say it: Chair-ring X?
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Nov 17th, 2008, 10:05 AM
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Chair-ring is how the scotch say it.

Cha-ring is how the English say it.
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Nov 17th, 2008, 10:06 AM
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PS there's a Charing Cross in Glasgow too - hence why my mum (and 6 million others) can't say "charing" properly - 'cos they say that one chair-ring.
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Nov 17th, 2008, 10:07 AM
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"And the cross is still there - in the forecourt outside"

Fraid not. Damn Roundheads pulled it down during the experiment with one of them there Republics. And it was where the Charles 1 statue is now, which is practically Traf Sq.

The cross up now is a "replica designed by Barry" (sounds like it wasn't quite a replica, then) that the railway company put up on its premises in the 1860s, Barry said he used drawings of the original cross. As a starter.

flanneruk is offline  
Nov 17th, 2008, 11:37 AM
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CHALK FARM - No Chalk Farm There

I'd always thought Chalk Farm, the area of London and the Tube station were named after some old chalk farm - but ala no

but rather a more boring (it is thought but not sure apparently) corruption of 'Chalcot Farm' but the book says 'there is no evidence of any farm ever existing in this area'.

Called 'Chaldecot(e) in 1253 the name probably dervies from 'cold bleak cottages' that dotted the slopes of a hill here

Some wanted to call the station Adelaide Road but it was opened as Chalk Farm in 1907 as the Tube was reaching out from inner London.

I have little idea of what the area around Chalk Farm station is like? Just the usual residential area of northern London?
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Nov 17th, 2008, 12:26 PM
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Chalk Farm station lies at the bottom of Haverstock Hill that connects Camden with Hampstead. Along with nearby Kentish Town, it was developed to house railway workers in 19C and known as a slum in Victorian times but has now been gentrified and diversified. Famous landmark includes the Roundhouse Theatre, built on a former wailway engine shed and noted for avant garde productions.
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Nov 17th, 2008, 04:39 PM
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PalenQ, how about Shepherd's Bush, Earl's Court, and St. John's Wood? And who was St. Pancras?
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Nov 17th, 2008, 04:42 PM
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Cockfosters, anyone

Geordie
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