Londoners love a nickname it’s what sets them apart from other cities’ occupants and the cohesion that draws them together.
Recently we have started giving a moniker to many of London’s tallest and iconic built structures: The Shard, Cheesegrater,
Helter Skelter, Razor, Glass Testicle and
Here is a list of some uniquely London words with CabbieBlog’s definitions:
Ken: London’s ex-Mayor with socialist tendencies left of Lenin.
South Ken: Not Ken’s antipodeans’ cousin but an area of West London populated by the French.
Boris: Ken’s nemesis. Current Mayor of London, with the carefully created persona of a bumbling tousled haired fool. Aspirations to be next Prime Minister. Boris is also a generic term for anything new in London (see below).
Boris bikes: A means to experience firsthand the cut and thrust of London’s heavy traffic at very modest prices.
Boris bus: A green replacement for the much loved Routemaster developed at a cost of only 10 times the original.
Boris buoys: Capsules for earnest fools so they may be suspended by overhead wires above the Royal Victoria Dock while watching planes from City Airport fly directly towards them.
Offy: A corner shop where wine and spirits of dubious origin may be purchased illegally out of hours.
Scab cab: A wart on London’s excellent taxi service.
Tube: A public service used to transport over 4 million daily subterranially at temperatures in excess of those permitted by the EU for animals.
The Knowledge: A lifestyle choice whereby prospective cabbies can give up on normal living for 4 years.
Standard: The survivor (helped by Russian money) from the original three evening newspapers. The cry by vendors “Star, News, Standard” will not be heard again in the capital.
The City: Most large inhabited conurbations are called cities. In London a square mile of virtually uninhabited real estate is called ‘The City’. It also accounts for 20 per cent of the Nation’s wealth.
Square Mile: See above, but with much of London, it isn’t square nor a mile in area, it’s just over.
Congestion Charge: An oxymoron. Neither reducing traffic flows nor charging when traffic increases.
Silicon Roundabout: London’s answer to the famous Valley without the sun or orange juice.
Bendy Buses: Ken’s solution to reduce congestion on London’s medieval narrow streets. They were 42ft long German juggernauts – it didn’t.
M25: An expensively built free car park encircling London.
Westway: An elevated car park with panoramic views across West London.
Mind the Gap: Recorded announcements reminding passengers of the pitfall for not looking down when alighting from a train. One actor wanted a royalty every time his voice was heard – he wasn’t employed.
Yuppie: The acronym that spawned a thousand others describing City workers.
The Palace: There are six palaces in London. Buck House, as it’s sometimes called, is the ugliest.
The Tower: Only the White Tower can be construed as a ‘tower’ the rest is just a medium sized castle.
A-Zed: The bible for the London geographer. Said to have been compiled single handed by Phyllis Pearsall walking 3,000 miles. A CrossRail tunnel boring machine has been named in her honour.
CrossRail: It does what it says on the tin. A rail running east to west across the capital. Its construction has produced some of the largest holes in Europe.
GMT: Greenwich Mean Time used universally as a measurement, well of time. Greenwich is the only place where one can straddle a brass strip denoting its position.
Cockney: Pronounced ‘Cok-nee’. Said to be a person born within sound of the bells of St. Mary-le-Bow. The cacophony of London’s traffic means you have to be born in the bell tower.
Bobby: London policemen, a nickname given as their founder was Robert Peel.
Home Counties: The area surrounding the M25 car park.
Up North: Anywhere north of Watford 35 miles from central London.
South of the River: Pronounced ‘Sarf’. A hinterland that cabbies traditionally avoid.
The River: There are numerous water courses in London, but only one ‘River’ once described as “Liquid History”.