Little slices of London's history

In the deserts of… West London?

(With apologies to Ian Dury for distorting his lyrics.) West London does not conjure up images of sand dunes, mirages, and whatever else you expect from a desert, does it?

But allow me to backtrack a day or so, when I saw an unusual orchid on sale in a local high street shop known for its food and clothing. It was, as Joseph Heller said in Catch-22, love at first sight. I won’t bore you with details of the flowers, save to say they are white with splotches that look like someone splattered ink on them. (If it was Halloween I would say blood.)

Naturally, having got home with my new purchase, I rushed to my A-Z to see if there is an Orchid Street.

There is; it is part of a cluster of streets just south of the A40, where the streets were all obviously ‘theme’ named (a topic on which we’ve not yet really touched in this blog so that may be something for the future).

This theme would seem to hinge on the fact that the streets are in the College Park and Old Oak ward/electoral division: street names here include Old Oak Road, Daffodil Road, Foxglove Street, Lilac Street, Primula Street, Wallflower Street, and Yew Tree Road. They kind of make sense in the context of an English city.

However, there is also the less than comforting Hemlock Road and, to come finally to the point, a Cactus Walk. I have yet to discover why Cactus in West London, so if anyone knows anything I’d be most grateful for any information.

3 responses to “In the deserts of… West London?”

  1. I can’t answer about the cactus, but I know the estate well, from my time in the Ambulance Service. We called it the ‘flower’ estate, for obvious reasons. Just west of White City, it is a council estate of small houses, rather than large blocks of flats. There are some small blocks there, but mainly houses of a style that perhaps once suggested village life,
    That brought back memories of many trips along Sundew Avenue. Thanks for taking me back there from Norfolk. Pete.

    1. Pete, you never cease to amaze me – not just your interesting past but the depth and breadth if your experience of London streets from East End to West London! Thanks for that.

  2. I suppose that 60 years in one place is enough time to get to know it well. You have to be interested to start with though!
    Thanks for your kind words. Pete.

About Me (and my Obsession)

My obsession with London street names began in the early 90s when I worked in the Smithfield area and happened upon Bleeding Heart Yard. In my wanderings around London, I kept adding to my store of weird and wonderful street names. Eventually it was time to share – hence my blog. I hope you enjoy these names as much as I do.
– Elizabeth


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