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Quiz about Origins Underground Station Names
Quiz about Origins Underground Station Names

Origins Underground Station Names Quiz

London's past often lives on in its street names, and occasionally also in the names of her Underground Stations. In this quiz as a rule three out of four explanations are mere fiction. One is fact or at least supported by scholarly sources.

A multiple-choice quiz by flem-ish. Estimated time: 6 mins.
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6 mins
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
Dec 03 21
# Qns
Avg Score
10 / 20
- -
Question 1 of 20
1. What does the name Charing Cross come from ? Hint

Question 2 of 20
2. What is the origin of the name Angel for a tube station between Old Street and King's Cross? Hint

Question 3 of 20
3. ...Arsenal? Hint

Question 4 of 20
4. ...Barbican ? Hint

Question 5 of 20
5. ...Highgate ? Hint

Question 6 of 20
6. ...Bayswater ? Hint

Question 7 of 20
7. ...Blackfriars ? Hint

Question 8 of 20
8. ...Covent Garden ? Hint

Question 9 of 20
9. ...Gloucester Road ? Hint

Question 10 of 20
10. ...Hampstead ( recorded as Ham-Sted in Domesday book) ? Hint

Question 11 of 20
11. ...Holborn ? Hint

Question 12 of 20
12. ...Hyde Park Corner ? Hint

Question 13 of 20
13. ...Holland Park ? Hint

Question 14 of 20
14. ...Knightsbridge ? Hint

Question 15 of 20
15. ...Lancaster Gate ? Hint

Question 16 of 20
16. ...Maida Vale ? Hint

Question 17 of 20
17. ...Moorgate ? Hint

Question 18 of 20
18. ...Notting Hill ? Hint

Question 19 of 20
19. ...Seven Sisters ? Hint

Question 20 of 20
20. Which of these 4 explanations for the name ALDGATE is the only one which has NOT been proposed by scholars? Hint

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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. What does the name Charing Cross come from ?

Answer: a funeral cross from the burial cortege of Queen Eleanor

By tradition it is said that Edward I in 1291 set up a stone cross near what is now the courtyard of the mainline station, to mark the last resting place of the funeral cortege of his Queen Eleanor as it passed from Harby to Westminster. There was a little village here named Charing, a name which itself derives from Old-English 'ciering' meaning 'a bend '.

In this case a bend in the River Thames.
2. What is the origin of the name Angel for a tube station between Old Street and King's Cross?

Answer: pub of that name

The name Angel was one of the commonest names for a pub. The existence of an Angel coaching Inn is recorded here from at least 1638.
3. ...Arsenal?

Answer: The Gunners have their stadium near here

The Gunners got their name from the Arsenal at Woolwich where they first had their stadium. The club was founded there in 1884 and moved to their present site in 1913. The name Arsenal was not the original name of this tube station, which opened in 1906 as Gillespie Road.

The pre-war successes of the soccer-team led to a re-naming in 1932. Highbury Tube station is now a more practical stop for supporters attending matches.
4. ...Barbican ?

Answer: from a Latin word for watch tower

Barbicana is a Latin derivation from a Persian word that meant 'upper chamber'. For many centuries fires were lit here to guide travellers to their destinations across London. It was pulled down in 1267 by Henry III, and rebuilt in 1336 on the orders of Edward III.By 1720 it had been demolished again already.
5. ...Highgate ?

Answer: after a toll-gate on a high point near London

Recorded as Le Heghgate in 1354. Travellers who used the Bishop of London's road across his park at Hornsey leading up to Finchley, had to pay toll here.
6. ...Bayswater ?

Answer: contraction of Bayard's Watering Place

The name Bayard's Watering is recorded in 1380. It was where the Westbourne Stream crossed the Oxford Road, now Bayswater Road. Seems to refer to a Bayard Family who may have watered their horses here. Bay horses are reddish-brown.
7. ...Blackfriars ?

Answer: after the pub of that name

A monastery of Black Friars (=Dominicans, not Franciscans who were Greyfriars) was established here during the 13th century by the Earl of Kent. It was closed on the orders of Henry VIII in 1538. Part of the building later became the Blackfriars Theatre, which in its turn was pulled down in 1665. And yes nowadays there is a pub there.
8. ...Covent Garden ?

Answer: Westminster Abbey had its flower- and kitchen-garden here

Westminster Abbey (tautological name for a Monastery to the West of the City of London) grew its veggies here.After the Dissolution of the Monasteries the site was claimed by the Crown and then sold to the 1st Earl of Bedford in 1552 who built a house here. The 4th Earl made a residential quarter of it. The fruit market was established in 1661, but now has moved to a site near Vauxhall.
9. ...Gloucester Road ?

Answer: Mary the Duchess of Gloucester had her residence near here

As late as 1858 the name was Hog Moore Lane. Probably the description of a muddy track. It was renamed in the early 19th century after Maria, the Duchess of Gloucester who had come to live here at the turn of the century. No ropers (Ropemakers) or roosters involved.
10. ...Hampstead ( recorded as Ham-Sted in Domesday book) ?

Answer: it simply means 'home-place' or 'home-site'

Hampstead happens to have the same etymology as Heemstede in Holland. In the tenth century the spelling of the name was still close to that Dutch name: Hemstede. There can be no doubt that the English must have Dutch uncles.
11. ...Holborn ?

Answer: 'born' or river passing through a hollow valley

Recorded as Hole-burn in 951. From Old English 'holh', a hollow and 'burna' a stream.The hollow is the valley now spanned by Holborn Viaduct.
12. ...Hyde Park Corner ?

Answer: after a land measure: a hide of land was 120 acres

Named after 'a hide of land' belonging to the Manor of Ebury. At about the time of Domesday Book the manor was divided into three smaller parts, one being called Hyde. From the time of the Norman Conquest till the Dissolution of the Monasteries it belonged to Westminster Abbey. Henry VIII converted it into a royal deer park. Charles I opened it to the public.
13. ...Holland Park ?

Answer: after the Earl of Holland who had a house here

Holland House is a historic Jacobean mansion begun in 1605 and attributed to John Thorpe.It was originally called Cope's Castle. The House passed by marriage to Sir Henry Rich, who was created Earl of Holland in Lincolnshire in 1624, and who gave his name to the house and park. No de Hollanders here. The Dutch embassy is 38 Hyde Park Gate SW 7.
14. ...Knightsbridge ?

Answer: bridge under control of knights

In 1346 the spelling of the name was Knyghtesbrugg. An older spelling is Cnightebricge 1046. The Westbourne stream crossed the Great West Road here, and was a place of strategic importance. Another version that is not mere fiction, but proposed by scholars is the story that this was near a plot of land used for tournaments. That would seem more likely however if the name had been Knightsfield Bridge.
15. ...Lancaster Gate ?

Answer: name given because Queen Victoria lived here when she was still just the Duchess of Lancaster

The street of that name was built in 1863-66. Another street name referring to Victoria living here in that area is Queensway, because that was her favourite route when going for a ride on horseback. Queensway originally was named Black Line Lane after a pub.

But when Victoria came to the throne in 1837. Queensway is only half a mile from Kensington Palace.The station was called Queen's Road in {1900;} renamed Queensway in 1946.
16. ...Maida Vale ?

Answer: after a victorious battle in Calabria

The street was first mentioned in 1868, runs north to south and is in fact part of the Edgware Road. In 1806 Sir John Stuart had defeated the French at Maida in Italy.
17. ...Moorgate ?

Answer: gate giving access to moorland beyond citywalls

The first Moorgate was cut into the wall in 1415 to give access to the moorland lying to the north of London.
18. ...Notting Hill ?

Answer: tautology because Old English cnotting means hill too

Knottyng hull as a name is already recorded in 1356.In 1680 the spelling of the name had already changed into Noding Hill. The cnotting = hill explanation is quoted but rejected in 'What's in a Name?' a study of the origins of London Underground station names, by Cyril M. Harris. He prefers a rival theory which links the name to a hypothetical Knotting Family.
19. ...Seven Sisters ?

Answer: hamlet near seven elm trees

There of course is also Nine Elms in London. Seven Sisters refers to seven elm trees which stood near Page Green, where the Seven Sisters Road (built 1831-1833), joined the old Ermine Street. The name is recorded already in 1754 as Seven Sesters.
20. Which of these 4 explanations for the name ALDGATE is the only one which has NOT been proposed by scholars?

Answer: gate of the aldermen

Adrian Room in his 'Dictionary of Place-names in the British Isles' proposes ale-gate from ealu geata.It would have been a gate where ale was dispensed as a 'dole' to passing travellers. An older name of this gate seems to have been East Gate. The Ael-gate as 'open to all' version is proposed by Cyril M.Harris. Both reject the more traditional Old-Gate explanation.

The Aldermen Gate story does not apply to Ald-gate but to Aldersgate.
Source: Author flem-ish

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