Lost in Pronunciation?

The correct pronun­ci­ation of some London place names are totally unguessable. They may be obvious to Brits but can be baffling to everyone else. Certain well-​​known London addresses can be famously difficult for foreign visitors to articulate properly. Leicester and Grosvenor Squares are classic instances. Here’s a list to ensure you are going to the place you actually mean:

  • Arnos Grove: AR-noss grove
  • Berkeley Square: BARK-​​lee square
  • Bermondsey: BER-​​mən-​​(d)zee
  • Beauchamp Place: BEE-chəm place
  • Borough: BURRa
  • Bow: To rhyme with go
  • Brondesbury: BRONDZ- bəry
  • Buckingham Palace: Like almost every place name ending in ‘ham’, the ‘h’ is silent
  • Chiswick: CHIZ- ik
  • Clapham: CLAP- əm
  • Clerkenwell: CLARK- ən- well
  • Cockfosters: yes, exactly as it looks
  • Dalston: DAWL- stən
  • Deptford: DEPT- fəd
  • Dulwich: DULL- itch
  • Euston: YOO- stən
  • Feltham: FEL- təm
  • Fulham: FULL- əm
  • Greenwich: GREN- itch or GREN- idge
  • Grosvenor Square: GRO- vənə square
  • Holborn: Usually HO- bən, though some articulate the ‘l’
  • Islington: IZ- ling- tən
  • Leicester Square: LESS- tə square
  • Lewisham: LUI- shəm
  • Leyton: LAY- tən
  • Maida Hill and Maida Vale: ‘made a hill’ and ‘made a vale’
  • Marylebone: MA- ree- li-bən (Marrylibun) or MAR- lee- bən
  • Ruislip: RICE- lip
  • St Pancras: sənt PANK- rəss
  • Savile Row: SAV- əll row
  • Southwark: SUTH- ək
  • Streatham: STRET- əm
  • Spital­fields: Originally ‘hospital fields’. Easy now?
  • Surrey Quays: SURR- ee keys
  • Thames: temz
  • Theobalds Road: Apparently, TIB- aulds is strictly correct, but everyone pronounces it as it looks
  • Tottenham: TOT- ənəm (the same applies to Tottenham Court Road)
  • Twickenham: TWIK- ənəm
  • Vauxhall: VOX- hall
  • Walthamstow: WALL- thəm- stoh
  • Warwick Avenue: WORR- ick AV- in- nyu
  • Woolwich: WOOL- itch

Stressed syllables are capit­alised

A rotated ‘e’ (ə) indicates a schwa – the indeterminate vowel sound

With a little help from Hidden London http://hidden-london.com/miscellany/pronunciation/

photo credit: London 2013 Underground Piccadilly Circus Wembley Waterloo Station Tower Bridge Eye Bakerstreet Sherlock Holmes via photopin (license)

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