House names

In Victorian days addresses often comprised of just the individual’s name, the terrace where they resided or house name and the town. The New View of London reported in 1708 that ‘at Prescott Street, Goodman’s Fields, instead of signs, the houses are distinguished by numbers’. As London’s population grew the necessity of having house numbers became apparent. No more could one’s income or status in society be denoted by whether you resided in a terrace, villa, cottage or lodge.

[L]ook up when travelling down a Victorian street in London and you could come across these gems of names: Foo Choo Villas, Cambridge Road, Turnham Green; Nutty Hag, Clapham Road, Wandsworth; or Wee Nest, Ensley Road, Ealing.

Dr. Laura Wright of Cambridge University, herself hailing from Barnet has written a research paper about these wonderfully evocative house names and has classified them according to their derivation.

Victorian house builders would give their developments appealing names adding villa cottage or lodge according to the size and quality of the development.

Transferred place names, these might be places that people would aspire to visit:
Merock, a Norwegen beauty spot
Roseneath
Aberdeen Villas

Nostalgic rural with the burgeoning industrialisation of Britain some would look back fondly to the rural past, forgetting the grind that arable work entailed:
Holly
Oak
Lavender
Laurel
Ivy
Pine
Cedar

Commemorative usually named after a recent victory and certainly not one of Britain’s defeats:
Balacarva
Alma
Raglan

Literary figures many from Sir Walter Scott notels:
Ivanhoe
Waverley
Kenilworth

Upwardly mobile:
Tudor
Osborne
Ventnor
Shanklin

Latest fads often again from popular novels:
Gothic
Abbotsford

Pick and mix names jumbled up, a bit like the later Dunromin:
Strathmead
Penthwaite
Inverdeen
Hursthome

Britain’s towns and cities still contain hundreds of thousands of Victorian houses, ranging from grand town houses to terraces of workers’ cottages, from Italianate villas to Gothic Revival extravaganzas.

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