Category Archives: Puppydog tails

Johnson’s London Dictionary: Hamleys

HAMLEYS (n.) Costermonger that doth purvey accoutrements designed to silence excitable children.

Dr. Johnson’s London Dictionary for publick consumption in the twenty-first century avail yourself on Twitter @JohnsonsLondon

Why do we only like Fridays?

How many London streets take their names from the calendar? I cannot find a Monday Mews, Wednesday Walk or Sunday Street, nor is there an April Avenue, July Junction or even a December Drive.

But it is only ever the same day of the week, and that’s today.

When it comes to naming conventions for London streets it’s always Friday.

Friday Street in the City of London between Queen Victoria Street and Cannon Street, was once four times longer running up to Cheapside.

So why is it so called? In medieval times this area was the City’s chief marketplace and using little imagination various streets were named after the traders setting up there: Milk Street, Bread Street and Poultry. This particular thoroughfare was the preserve of a weekly fish market, hence Friday Street, because that was the one day of the week the Catholic church discouraged the consumption of meat.

In addition to this central street we have Friday Hill E4; Friday Hill East E4; Friday Hill West E4; and Little Friday Road E4.

Chingford Hatch is the location for this collection of ‘Fridays’ and gets its name from John Friday who owned the land around here in the late 15th century. He built a Jacobean manor on a hillock and with startling originality called it Friday Hill House. The London County Council bought the estate in 1940 and created an estate, again called Friday Hill.

Further out of London is Friday Road, Mitcham. Popular folklore claims Daniel Defoe once lived at nearby Tooting Hall while hiding from non-conformist persecution in the 1680s. Now bear with me on this one, two hundred years later Mrs Taylor started a dairy on a neighbouring pasture and, knowing the literary rumour, decided to call it Crusoe Farm. Her one-cow start-up grew into one of the largest milk businesses in south London, so it made sense that when the area was developed it should be called Crusoe Road, along with Island Road.

Our last ‘Friday’ is Friday Road in Erith said to be named after Alexander Selkirk a pirate who returned to Erith after living alone on an island for four years and four months, sustained by feral goats and wild turnips, before finally being rescued by another pirate. Naming a street after a fictional character in dedication to a real criminal is a bit far if you ask me.

Johnson’s London Dictionary: Park Lane

PARK LANE (n.) Bridleway that doth in places exceed four carriages wide with a wide central island, which for procurement of monies hath 20mph limit for one’s horses.

Dr. Johnson’s London Dictionary for publick consumption in the twenty-first century avail yourself on Twitter @JohnsonsLondon

The Life of a Blog

Apost by Diamond Geezer dropped in my Pocket app last week. As Diamond Geezer is one of London’s most read blogs with millions of ‘hits’, I thought I’d better read it, the RSS feed started:

I didn’t mean for this blog to last for 20 years. I thought I’d start it one dull Sunday afternoon in September 2002 with no real thought of audience, content or duration.

This got me thinking about how many good London blogs have fallen by the wayside, and ultimately Diamond Geezer’s remarkable longevity.

Annie Mole’s comprehensive views on the London Underground lasted until June 2014 after the blog came out of a static site about the Tube, which started as a New Year’s Resolution in 1999.
Flora Tonking wrote The Accidental Londoner extensively for a decade, now the link gives you IanVisits.

Pete Stean’s excellent Londoneer, published under a Creative Commons Licence was deleted when he went on an academic quest. And Brian the Pigeon has now ceased to give us his view of London.

Tired of London, Tired of Life existed from October 2008 and by 2nd January 2009 was posting daily, giving birth to books. 17th July 2015 was its last missive.

Some blogs (including this one) are still regularly posting. Should you wish to check out London’s finest websites you can find them here:

Johnson’s London Dictionary: Heathrow

HEATHROW (n.) The Holy grail of the Hansom driver whereas he doth convey his passenger where they may ascend into the Heavens.

Dr. Johnson’s London Dictionary for publick consumption in the twenty-first century avail yourself on Twitter @JohnsonsLondon