The London Underground station name that's an insult to people with red hair

Publication Date04 Mar 2021
Hilarious of course!

But it's far from the only London Tube station with a name that needs some explaining.

Dotted all across London are stations with names that make us crack up laughing, conjure up weird and wonderful imaginary places or just sound plain stupid.

In this story we've picked out 27 of the most bizarre-sounding names to tell you what they actually mean -including a couple that are pretty insulting to redheads.

So Oyster cards at the ready...here goes:

This piece would not have been possible without the very good book, 'What's in a name' by Cyril M. Harris -available from all good booksellers.

1 Sniggering schoolboys at Cockfosters

I'm sure all of us have sat on a Tube train and giggled ourselves silly when the Piccadilly Line station Cockfosters comes over the loudspeaker. One mention of the word "ck" and we all go crazy. What does that say about the human race eh

But why did this station have such a hysterical name

It's in fact possible that it simply comes from the name of a house that once stood here that was named 'Cockfosters'. It's been suggested this was named after a man who was in charge of foresters, ie 'cock' or 'chief' forester.

But please don't take it literally and go and call your boss a ck as it's obviously a somewhat outdated term!

2 Itchy monks at Blackfriars

It's easy to think these days that this station might have some politically incorrect racial connotation and should have its name wiped from the map. But not so. Blackfriars is in fact named after the black habits or garments worn by monks at a medieval monastery that once stood nearby.

These groovy monks were known as Black Friars because of the colour of their woollen garments -which let's be honest must have been pretty itchy to wear in all the wrong places.

The monastery was founded in the 13th century but was quickly shut down by the greedy Henry VIII who plundered the monasteries for their wealth. His rather nasty officers stole everything from books to bed sheets, relics to roof tiles and sold off the lands and buildings they took over in a massive money-grabbing exercise.

It was all so he could pay to go to war in France and sit looking grossly fat and ridiculous on his horse.

Interestingly the monastery itself was positioned on the bank of the lost River Fleet which now runs underground but was once an important waterway in the city.

Many important occasions took place at Blackfriars including -most famously -the court hearing when Henry VIII wanted to dump his first wife Catherine of Aragon.

Later it became a theatre and Shakespeare part-owned it. But it's a great name for a station so a big hats off to the monks for putting up with those itchy robes.

3 Billowing smoke at Burnt Oak

Why on earth would a station be named after a burnt out tree

I mean you don't get trees underground do you

So it seems that way back in history the area where the station now is, was a place where fires were lit to mark the boundary between different places.

Maybe it was to warn off invaders from daring to approach

It's possible this was done in Roman times. Perhaps they were signal fires lit by soldiers patrolling the area. This makes sense as it was once on the edge of what was the Roman road of Watling Street.

4 All dolled up at Dollis Hill

This one always makes me wonder when I glide by it on a Tube train. Is it something to do with a dolls house Is this some kind of bizarre miniature village

Apparently the place was recorded as Daleson Hill as early as 1593. It was later known as Dolly's Hill. But whether there was a famous toy shop here making dolls or a dolls house maker or something similar, we can but speculate.

It seems more likely the name is something to do with 'Dalley' -the name of a family who lived nearby. This may have converged with the name of the nearby piece of water known as Dollis Brook -so the two names may have come together to form Dollis Hill.

Much later a manor house stood in the area called Dollis Hill House. This was built in the early 19th century and was frequently visited by the one time Prime Minister, Gladstone when Lord Aberdeen owned it.

What is now Gladstone Park formed the grounds of the manor house. As recorded by the Hidden London website, Mark Twain spent the summer here in 1900, writing that: “From the house you can see little but spacious stretches of hay-fields and green...

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