Tag Archives: cloppaham

10 London Underground Station Names

Belsize Park sign

These names are lifted shamelessly from the book What’s in a Name?: Origins of Station Names on the London Underground by Cyril M Harris. Thanks Cyril.


Named after the “barbicana” or Roman Tower that stood in the area. A latin word probably derived from the Persian language originally, it meant upper chamber. The Saxons then named it “burgh kennin” and lit fires on it to guide Londonders on their journeys. It was pulled down in 1267, rebuilt in 1336 and demolished at an unknown later date. Actually, I’ve just noticed that there’s a barbican in York. Fascinating.

Belsize Park

The area was named Belassis (from the French “bel asis” – beautifully situated.) There used to be a manor house and park in Belsize Square which would account for the descriptive name. And why Cameron Diaz has just bought a flat there.

Clapham Common

There was a wood on the site called Cloppaham (recorded in the 8th century.) And that name is derived from “clap” (hill) and “ham” (home). Common is a common…

Covent Garden

Great one this – it was named after a convent garden run by the monks of Westminster Abbey in the fifteenth century. The famous Covent Garden fruit market was then established there in 1661.

Hangar Lane

“Le Hangrewode” was a wood known in the fourteenth century. “Hangra” is an old English word meaning wooded hill. They obviously then changed it to lane.

King’s Cross

Named after a statue of King George IV that stood  at the crossroads there. Incidentally, the area had been called Battlebridge before this, after a battle between Queen Boudica and the Romans in AD59 or 61.

Manor House

Surprisingly, named after a tavern (I had naively presumed it would have been been an actual manor house). The pub was originally called the Manor Tavern but renamed the Manor House after the manor house opposite in 1931. So there was a manor house involved then!


Recorded as Neasdun in 939 from the old English “naess” meaning nose and “dun” meaning hill, reason being there’s a nose-shaped hill in the area. Wow.

Seven Sisters

There used to be seven elm trees in this neck of the woods, near Page Green. They were known as “7 sesters” in 1754 and “Seven Sisters” in 1805.

Wembley Central

“Wemba” a person who lived in the area, and “lea” after the word for clearing “leah” was how this district was recorded in 825. Therefore Wemba lea was the clearing where Wemba lived! Lovely.