Could there be a worse name than East Village?
Hidden London had mixed – but mainly good – feelings about the names given to the five ‘neighbourhoods’ in the 2012 Olympic Park. In case you missed the story a few months ago, here’s what they’ll be called:
- Chobham Manor
- Marshgate Wharf
- Pudding Mill
As this blog post by Nick Whitten explains, all these names can claim some local justification, though in one or two cases (notably that of Sweetwater) euphony may have counted for more than history.
But the Olympic Delivery Authority has let us all down badly with the banal name it’s chosen for the athletes’ village when the games are over. East Village must surely be the most unimaginative name given to a London settlement since the Candy Brothers tried – thankfully in vain – to rebrand Fitzrovia as Noho. In fact, the names East Village and Noho have a particular kind of unoriginality in common: they both seem like tawdry attempts to filch a bit of cachet from Manhattan, when London localities should be perfectly capable of standing on their own two feet.
If this was the best the ODA could come up with, why didn’t they throw it open to the public, as they did with the neighbourhood names? Or employ a local historian (or at least a decent researcher) as a consultant?
Much of the Olympic zone was formerly known as Temple Mills, which has more of a ring to it than East Village. However, that name is derived from the land’s early ownership by the crusading Knights Templar, so it may have been an unwise choice given the Qatari involvement in the residential project. Knobs Hill is another old local name that might not have gone down well. But Hidden London would have preferred almost anything to the nothingness that is East Village – even The Sun’s suggestion, Usain’s Bolt-hole. Or how about Adlington?
The developers claim that the ‘village’ will be “one of the most exciting places to live in London.” Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they? And maybe they’re even right. But with a name like East Village it certainly doesn’t sound exciting. Is it too late for a rethink?
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