place names



The city is a palimpsest, and walking in it has a narrative quality that produces a surrealist bricolage of place name juxtapositions; a bricolage of times and stories.
Walking in the city is analogous to reading and writing a text. Both are negotiations with a system (a street or linguistic system). The negotiation might be demanding and restricting, as can be grammar, archaic lexis and meandering streets, but rewardingly rich in history.
De Certeau writes about the tactic of walking through the city remembering its demolished places. Street names do this for us too: St Martin’s in the Fields and Haymarket speak of London’s deceased bucolic.

Adjective + Noun Place Names In London

      Hilly Fields
      Cheapside
      Lower Marsh
      Kentish Town
      Old Street

Noun + Noun Place Names In London

      Milk Street
      Russia Row
      Cannon Street
      Pudding Lane
      Fleet Street
      Artillery Lane


“What we are drawn to when we dwell on a street name […] is both signifier and signified, mental and physical, tangible and intangible; what it invokes is both absent and present, visible and invisible. The street name is on the cusp of the remembered and the forgotten, the obvious and the recondite, the ordinary and the extraordinary, the serious and the frivolous, the public and the private (we all have a private map of our familiar space, including its names). This ambiguity and duality ally it with the everyday […] The fact that they offer an oblique route to grasping the realities of the street befits the way the everyday is a vulnerable, evanescent dimension of our ambient reality, a dimension that is not simply there, but depends on our inventive interaction to come into being.”


Sheringham, M (2006) Everyday Life: Theories and Practices from Surrealism to the Present Oxford: Oxford University Press