Ordnance Survey lists nicknames for British places

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Some of the alternative names are descriptions: Manchester’s Wilmslow Road is known as The Curry Mile because of its many Indian restaurants.

Others are ironic: the Festival Leisure Centre in Basildon, Essex, has been dubbed Bas Vegas. Some are simply insulting: one down-at-heel street in Southampton has been branded the Mutant Mile.

Bill Lucas, an author and trustee of the English Project, said: “We are throwing a very wide net in this national trawl for what we call Location Lingo.

“Everyone knows the big national nicknames like Pompey for Portsmouth or Auld Reekie for Edinburgh, but we are more interested in the names that are not so well-known and might be used only by a neighbourhood, a village community, a workplace, or even by an extended family or group of friends.

“Some local nicknames have been around for centuries, while others are being coined right now. But however old or new they are, we want to celebrate and record them.”

The charity, based in Winchester, hopes the names will highlight the tradition of playing with the language through rhyme, resonance or irony. It is launching the gazetteer as part of celebrations for English Language Day this Wednesday.

In 2008 the charity launched a dictionary of ‘Kitchen Table Lingo’, homemade words used by families up and down the county, including 57 words for a television remote control.

Glen Hart, Ordnance Survey’s head of research, added: “With the huge variety of place nicknames that exist we could never hope to capture them all ourselves.

“But the information from Location Lingo could prove vital. Organisations like the emergency services rely on our information when responding to 999 calls, so by having the most complete set of nicknames we could help the emergency services quickly locate the right place, and maybe even save lives.

“Such knowledge will also help improve internet searches as well as recognising the importance that such names have to local communities.”

Phill Jupitus, the comedian, has already contributed to the project, reporting that Stanford-le-Hope, his hometown in Essex, is called Stanford-No-Hope by locals.

To take part, visit from tomorrow morning and add names for neighbourhoods, towns, villages, streets, parks or landmarks.

Some of the names already in the “Location Lingo” database:

Padstein – Padstow in Cornwall (in homage to Rick Stein, the celebrity chef who lives there)

The Big Smoke – London

Pompy - Portsmouth

Guz - Devenport, Devon

Auld Reekie – Edinburgh (Scots for “Old Smoky”, because when homes were heated by coal or wood, its chimneys would blow thick smoke into the air)

Ponte Carlo – Pontefract, West Yorks

Where-Upon-Earth – Wath-upon-Dearne, South Yorks

The Nam – Tottenham, north London

Spaghetti Junction – Intersection of the M6, A38(M), A38 , and A5127 above two railway lines, three canals and two rivers, near Birmingham

The Wobbly Bridge – The Millennium Bridge, London

Amazingstoke – Basingstoke, Hants

Beastly Eastleigh – Eastleigh, Hants

Mudville – Peterborough, Cambs (because of the ring-road construction in the 1970s)

Swindump – Swindon, Wilts

Cas Vegas – Castleford, West Yorks

Stanford-No-Hope – Stanford-le-Hope in Essex

Bas Vegas – the Festival Leisure Centre in Basildon, Essex

Dollies Lane – Egbert Road, Winchester (because of the very narrow pavement)

Happy Meadow – a water meadow near Wilton, Wiltshire (because it was once a skating area)

Old Men’s Gardens – The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London (home to the Chelsea Pensioners)

The Serps – The Serpentine, Kensington Gardens, London

The Cat Grounds – The Outer Close, Winchester Cathedral

Banana Bridge – a bridge over the Itchen in Hampshire

Smelly Alley – Union Street, Reading (because it is near the market)

The Pub with No Name – the White Horse pub in Priors Dean, near Petersfield, Hampshire

The Gherkin – 30 St Mary Axe, in the City of London

The Drain – the Waterloo & City underground line in London

The Mutant Mile – Shirley High Street, Southampton

The Curry Mile – Wilmslow Road, Manchester (because of its Indian restaurants)

The Balti Triangle – Stoney Lane, Ladypool Road and Stratford Road in Birmingham

The Pregnant Pin – Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth

Sex Shop Hill – Fore Street, Exeter, Devon (location of the city’s first sex shop)

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