The bulk of the research was carried out pre-internet, mainly in local libraries throughout London, and for the street names that have made their way into What’s So Funny About Ha Ha Road? there were many and varied sources of information, from London histories to books about pub signs to dictionaries of idioms and nursery rhymes. A typical research trail would go from, for instance, ‘Why is that street called that?’ Answer: from a pub sign. ‘Why call a pub that?’ What’s so fascinating about the particular pub called that? And, of course, along the way various inhabitants of streets with names from the simple to the bizarre would beckon, telling their own fascinating stories.

With the passing of days, and the crashing of drives, some of the bibliographical details have been lost, but I have attempted to note everything that provided even the tiniest morsel of information. Some of the sources most consulted are:

The diaries of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn, various editions
The Survey of London by John Stow, various editions
Old and New London by Walter Thornbury and Edward Walford

And many more, a few below, to be added to this page as time goes by.

  • Acres, W Martin: London and Westminster in History and Literature. T Fisher Unwin Ltd, London, 1923
  • Adams, WH Davenport, The streets of London. Henry and Company, 1890
  • Banks, FR: The New Penguin Guide to London
  • Bardsley, CW: Dictionary of English and Welsh surnames. Heraldry Today, 1988
  • Barton, H Barker: Stories of the Streets of London. Chapman and Hall Limited, London, 1899
  • Barton, Nicholas: The Lost Rivers of London. BCA, 1993
  • Bebbington, Gillian, London Street Names. BT Batsford Ltd, London, 1988
  • Bell, Walter George: Unknown London, Spring Books, London, 1966
  • Besant, Sir Walter: London City. Adam & Black, London, 1910
  • Besant, Sir Walter: London, South of the Thames. Adam & Black, London, 1912
  • Blake, AH: London Cameos. Herbert Jenkins, 1930
  • Bolitho, Hector & Peel, Derek: Without the City Walls: an Adventure in London Street-Names North of the River. John Murray, London, 1952
  • Bonner, Arthur: Some London Street-names: Their Antiquity and Origin. Transactions of the London & Middlesex Archaeological Society, Volume 3, Part 1, 1914.
  • Borer, Mary Cathcart: Hampstead and Highgate: The story of two hilltop villages. WH Allen/Virgin Books, London, 1976
  • Brazil, David: Naked City: 150 Faces of Hidden London. MacDonald, London, 1987
  • Brewer, E Cobham & Evans, Ivor H: Dictionary of Phrase & Fable. Cassell, London, 1987
  • Britton, AJ: Some Chingford Field Names. Chingford Historical Society Bulletin, No 7, July 1970
  • Burke, John: An Illustrated History of England. Book Club Associates, London, 1974
  • Chalfant, Fran C: Ben Jonson’s London: A Jacobean Placename Dictionary. The University of Georgia Press, 1978
  • Chancellor, EB: The West End of Yesterday and Today. The Architectural Press, London, 1926
  • Cunningham, Peter: Handbook of London. John Murray, London, 1850
  • Dakers, Caroline: The Blue Plaque Guide to London. Macmillan, 1981

3 thoughts on “SOURCES

  1. Robert P Bywater February 10, 2021 / 2:19 pm

    Fascinating stuff.
    My surname (Bywater) is usually connected with Yorkshire but there are London Bywaters stretching back to the 1500’s if not earlier. I wonder therefore what is the origin of Bywater Street, Chelsea, London SW3 and Bywater Place, Rotherhithe, London SE16.

  2. Grant Shalks February 19, 2021 / 4:02 pm


    I’m no expert, but I believe the brothers that acquired the area surrounding Fashion Street (… and whose name was corrupted to name said street) was ‘Fossan’ not ‘Fasson’.


    • thestreetnames February 19, 2021 / 4:21 pm

      Thanks for that – two of my sources have ‘Fasson’ so I’ll carry out some more research.

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