London's Most Odd Street Names
London is full of streets, lanes and alleys, but there are some dotted around the capital which have an unusual name behind them, and we're going to discover some of them and their history!
Located next to St James's Park, Birdcage Walk is the former site of the Royal Aviary built by James I in the 17th Century which housed hunting falcons and hawks. Up until 1928 only members of the Royal Family and the Hereditary Grand Falconer were allowed to ride alongside the Aviary in carriages. So there you go, it does derive from birds!
Bleeding Heart Yard
Legend has it that this heartbreaking name comes from the body of Lady Elizabeth Hatton who was murdered in 1626, and found in Farringdon. When her heart was torn out of her body, it was still beating, hence the name! How pleasant...
In medieval English, 'Cheap' was a broad meaning for 'Market' and this area was one of the principal markets in London. Several of the street names in the area are derived after some of the businesses that plied their trade there, including Wood Street, Poultry, Milk Street, Honey Lane and Bread Street.
During the 17th and 18th Century, this Hampstead street got its name from there being several taverns in the area which sold flasks of water from the medicinal spring nearby. Very refreshing to know!
Located in the East End of London, Houndsditch was the final resting spot for the capital's deceased dogs, and ironically, philosopher, legal and social reformer, as well as champion of animal rights, Jeremy Bentham was born on the street in 1748.
Back in Medieval times this area was known as a dumping ground of households refuse, ashes and rubbish, along the banks of the polluted Fleet River in Clerkenwell. Subsequently, it was given the name Mount Pleasant as a more tongue-in-cheek and facetious term! The street name today is less ironic as the area is pretty clean!
Did you know Pall Mall's name derives from the popular game of the same name that was imported from France and Italy in the 16th and 17th Centuries? The game which uses a mallet to hit a ball through a hoop was commonly played there.
Nothing to do with desserts, but back in medieval times, 'Pudding' referred to animal guts with Pudding Lane being a riverside street which was home to many butcher shops. However, Pudding Lane has become more famous as the site where the Great Fire of London began in 1666.
Located South of the River in Greenwich, Shooter's Hill reputedly gets its name from being a place of medieval archery practice, however today it's a popular spot for photos, or you could say, photoshoots!
One of the most funny names in London, this road in Greenwich actually has no comedic reference at all! Instead a 'ha ha' is another word for a sunken ditch which serves as a boundary marker for a property, and this is located in the area!
St Mary Axe
Famous for being home to The Gherkin, St Mary Axe derives from the combination of the church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and a neighboring tavern, which used to display a sign with an axe image. Though 'The Gherkin' is perhaps funnier than the street name it's in...!
Not just one of the most popular days of the week, but Friday Street near Mansion House reportedly took its name from fishmongers who used to dwell there serving at the Friday's Market. There are no other street names after days of the week in London sadly...