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Threads started in this topic after 9th November 2018 will no longer be removed after 90 days. A new topic called 90 Days Only can be found in the Other Stuff category of Talk.

"The" London street names

(96 Posts)
HushabyeMountainGoat Sun 12-Aug-18 00:19:52

Anyone know why there is a custom sometimes to refer to streets in London using "the". E.g. "the Tottenham Court Road". I don't ever hear it used when referring to anywhere else.

Just reading a novel set in London and the author is doing it a lot. Got me wondering.

Charley50 Sun 12-Aug-18 00:21:54

Never heard Tottenham Court Road called The....
Or any other roads I can think of in London...

Lucked Sun 12-Aug-18 00:24:28

It happens outside London. Crow Road in Glasgow for example and I know a couple local to me. Then tend to be bigger significant streets.

YesItsMeIDontCare Sun 12-Aug-18 00:24:36

Where I live the three main roads are usually preceded by "the". Not London.

Elbbob Sun 12-Aug-18 00:24:53

Not sure I've heard that before. What novel are you reading?

bibbidybobbidyboo Sun 12-Aug-18 00:24:59

It's definitely a thing op - the Old Kent Road is regularly preceded by 'the'. I'm not exactly sure why, but maybe it dates back to a time when there weren't very many roads and if you took one it was because you were specifically travelling to somewhere? So, with the old Kent road its because you were going to Kent, etc...

Its the sort of thing they say a lot in old novels. "They were seen taking the London road"... Maybe that's where the names of roads like that came from?

nancy75 Sun 12-Aug-18 00:25:56

I’ve lived in London my whole life, I’ve even worked on TCR, I’ve never, ever heard it called that
What other London roads are you thinking of?

HushabyeMountainGoat Sun 12-Aug-18 00:29:12

I'm reading The Paying Guests which is set in the 30s but i've definitely noticed it before now. It definitely is a thing.

starzig Sun 12-Aug-18 00:59:04

I say the Tottenham court rd. The most common for this though seems to be high street. Very rarely hear someone say x is on high street as opposed to x is on the high street.

HushabyeMountainGoat Sun 12-Aug-18 01:06:43

I suppose Starzig, though applying that to my own home town, our 'high street' isn't called High Street, but people might call it that to refer to the generic main shopping street of any place.

Plural Sun 12-Aug-18 01:08:44

The only road I would ever refer to with the is the mall

If I was meeting someone eg in Camden and wanted to meet on the high street I'd either say the high street if they already knew we were meeting in Camden or I'd say Camden high street with Camden replacing the 'the'.

Tinkety Sun 12-Aug-18 01:18:38

They do this in Only Fools and Horses - the Kings Road, the Walworth Road etc. The book is set in Camberwell & according to Wiki “The name Camberwell was first applied to the Parish of St Giles, Camberwell, which included Camberwell, Peckham, Dulwich, Nunhead, and part of Herne Hill. Only Fools is set in Peckham so it’s probably a regional thing that has maybe fallen out of use now

Apileofballyhoo Sun 12-Aug-18 01:24:22

I've heard the TCR. I'd imagine it comes from roads that were the roads to that actual place originally.

ScreamingValenta Sun 12-Aug-18 01:27:35

'Ballet Shoes' refers to 'The Cromwell Road' but it was published in the 1930s.

The Clash, in their track 'London's Burning' refer to 'The Westway'.

That's the sum of my knowledge on the subject!

HarshingMyMellow Sun 12-Aug-18 01:39:10

I have black cab drivers in the family and have worked with them for many years.

Every road is 'the.' It's to do with the knowledge, the way they call the streets/routes to the examiner.

Housewife2010 Sun 12-Aug-18 07:31:06

The King's Road is another one. Off topic, but I remember when Gap was known as The Gap.

EssentialHummus Sun 12-Aug-18 07:36:09

Nothing to add but I loved that book, hope you do too OP!

DappledThings Sun 12-Aug-18 07:38:03

I work in TCR. I've never called that The TCR but round the corner is what I'd call The Euston Road.

Same with The Strand and The King's Road. Don't know why, just instinctive!

EduCated Sun 12-Aug-18 07:39:31

DP and I were discussing this about where we live (not London) - I’m local, he’s not, and he pointed out that certain roads I refer to as The X Road.

We tried various theories (ones which start with vowels, ones which actually describe where they’re going, main roads) but none of them seemed to quite fit!

Biologifemini Sun 12-Aug-18 07:40:16

I do this! The cally road; the kings road; the Cromwell road

I must have read it/heard it somewhere because it do it a fair bit and don’t know why.

Perhaps I watched too much tv in my formative years.

flumpybear Sun 12-Aug-18 07:45:04

Yes, I've never thought about it before but you're right - I grew up around London and my parents were Londoners and I can't see a problem with saying on the Walworth road e.g my dads old school was on the Walworth Road as per your book, now I'd say ' Boots on the High Street' or 'Office on the Old Kent Road' never really thought differently ... but I guess I wouldn't call it for everything so I wouldn't say John Lewis on the TCR I'd just call it TCR .... strange!

YoureAllABunchOfBastards Sun 12-Aug-18 07:52:24

In Newcastle it is always The Scotswood Road. Cause that is where you gan along to see the Blaydon Races.

hoxt Sun 12-Aug-18 07:55:44

The Holloway Road is another one.

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Sun 12-Aug-18 07:56:48

There are certain roads where I live that are commonly referred to as "the" - "the London Road", "the Ansty Road", etc. Maybe it is what a pp said and it's applied mainly to roads named after the place they lead to... I've never given it much thought.

mostimproved Sun 12-Aug-18 07:57:55

Old people do this more - I work near Angel and all older people from the area call it 'The Angel' whereas most people just called it Angel (which is the name of the tube station). I guess it's a way of distinguishing main roads/landmarks?

It's a bit like with motorways - we don't say 'I'm driving up M1', it's the M1, the north circular, the blackwall tunnel. Although you would never use it with a bridge - it's just London Bridge, Tower Bridge etc! Come to think of it, it makes no sense but I think it applies to most places not just London.

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