The Top 10: Unlikely Names for Suburbs

Nick Mutton
Nick Mutton

This list was started by Andrew Denny, who asked if I knew that Rhodesia is a suburb of Worksop, and that California and New Zealand are suburbs of Derby. I did not.

I am not alone, according to Sam Lovelock, who lives in California, Derby. “People who live in California don’t even know they live there. Stockbrook is the name to us, named after the long street through the middle with the park on it. New Zealand is known as Morley. There is a pub by the name of New Zealand but most residents couldn’t tell you that.”

Here are 10 more.

1. Jericho, Oxford. Nominated by John Peters. Robert Boston pointed out there is also a suburb of Nairobi, Kenya, called Jericho. “It is famous because Barack Obama’s father lived there with his first wife.” Neither has notable walls.

2. Mount Florida, Glasgow. Thanks to Patrick Walsh and Iain McNeil.

3. California, Falkirk. Also from Iain McNeil. There are a lot of Californias in Britain. There is another in Birmingham (Andrew Denny again), one near Great Yarmouth (Kit Marsden) and one in Aylesbury (Eric Sheng).

4. Etruria, Stoke on Trent. Josiah Wedgwood named the site of his pottery business after the ancient region of Italy now known as Tuscany. Thanks to Andrew Graystone.

5. Paris, in Scholes, a village near Holmfirth in West Yorkshire. “It is an area (or a road if I’m honest),” said Jules Brook. “There are signs in Holmfirth to Paris. Tres chic, n’est-ce pas?”

6. Freezywater in Enfield, northwest London. From Paul de Zylva, who also nominated Lonesome in Streatham Vale, southwest London.

7. Moscow, hamlet in Ayrshire, Scotland. Nominated by Margo Milne, Richard Kerley and Robert McClymont.

8. Kaningos, Athens. A district named after George Canning, the British prime minister. There is another district called Vyronas, named after Lord Byron. “This is in honour of their support for Greek independence,” said Stewart Slater. “I grant that this will seem more unlikely to Brits, who don’t spend much time thinking about that event, than to Greeks, who do.”

9. Hollywood, Birmingham. Nominated by Will Monk and Conan Chitham. There is another one in Belfast (spelt Holywood but pronounced the same), pointed out Ross Clark.

10. Toronto and Quebec are villages in County Durham. Thanks to James Johns.

Hitchhiking around America in the 1970s, I was surprised to discover that there was a suburb of Washington called Chevy Chase – I hadn’t realised the comic actor’s name, originally a nickname, was a reference to it.

Honourable mention for Dean Bullen for letting us know that Miami University is in Ohio. The one in Florida is called the University of Miami. The names are both of Native American origin, but apparently unrelated.

Next week: Politicians who peaked too early, starting with William Hague.

Coming soon: Spelling test songs, such as D.I.V.O.R.C.E., by Dolly Parton, D.I.S.C.O., by Ottowan, and R.E.V.I.V.A.L., by Eurythmics.

Your suggestions please, and ideas for future Top 10s, to me on Twitter, or by email to

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