The London Gazetteer

Potted histories and profiles of London’s diverse localities

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Chambers London Gazetteer
Chambers London Gazetteer

The Gazetteer section was the nucleus of the original Hidden London website and still forms its largest part. It takes a look at a variety of the capital’s minor districts and local­i­ties, some in the outer boroughs and some tucked away in lesser-known corners of the city centre – focusing mainly on the ways in which they’ve developed and high­lighting any special points of interest. If you know London well, you’ll already be familiar with many of the places featured here – but there should still be some you’ve never even heard of.

For a list of most of the local­i­ties featured on this site, please click here. Despite running to more than 650 pages, this online directory includes fewer than two-thirds of the places listed in Chambers London Gazetteer, from which the text here was orig­i­nally drawn – although most pages have since been updated and expanded.

The Gazetteer section’s listings are devoted to lesser-known local­i­ties of varying sizes, but mostly diminu­tive. A ‘locality’ is any place (or station) named in one of the London street atlases, or on Ordnance Survey maps, or a park or road or estate with a distinct identity of its own.

Each listing generally includes an indi­ca­tion of where the place is and what it is like; perhaps some expla­na­tion of how it got its name, espe­cially if this is inter­esting; a potted history of its devel­op­ment; and, if applic­able, a few remarks on notable buildings, natural features, events and former residents, and selected artistic works that feature the place or were produced there.

The relevant postal district or postcode area is appended to each entry. Where there are two or more they are listed in approx­i­mate order of predom­i­nance (the same rule applies to the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of parent boroughs). However, few areas in London have clearly defined borders, so this infor­ma­tion should not be taken as gospel. For the same reason, a precise descrip­tion of a locality’s extent is rarely attempted.

Popu­la­tion figures from the 2011 census are cited where one or more ‘output areas’ roughly match the extent of a listed place. However, electoral bound­aries are frequently drawn so as to include a similar number of voters in each ward within a borough, so the data may not always give a true repre­sen­ta­tion of a place’s magnitude. Demo­graphic high­lights are often provided within the text, ideally based on census data but alter­na­tively from sources such as Ofsted reports – usually for primary schools because they tend to have a more localised catchment area than secondary schools.

The nearest station, tramstop or riverboat pier is usually given only when it has (or used to have) the same name as the place in question. Under­ground lines and mainline service providers are shown for each station, together with its fare zone(s).

Sugges­tions for further reading are given wherever possible and these range from slim pamphlets to multi-volume works. Pref­er­ence is given to works still in print, when a direct link to Amazon is usually provided. Further reading sugges­tions should not be assumed to be the source of infor­ma­tion featured on Hidden London, and certainly not the source of any errors in that infor­ma­tion. (One grumpy local historian, who shall remain nameless, emailed to complain that Hidden London had sullied his name by making a ques­tion­able statement in an article while listing his book as ‘further reading’. His book is no longer mentioned here.)

Links are provided to selected relevant websites, espe­cially if they are run as community resources rather than primarily as adver­tising vehicles. In the absence of a worth­while community website, links are sometimes included to sites with infor­ma­tion on aspects of local history or a district’s key attrac­tion. If you run a local website that’s not mentioned on the relevant page of the Gazetteer section, please make contact to request its inclusion.

Visitors to Hidden London sometimes write to ask why such-and-such a locality isn’t included in the site’s Gazetteer. It will be even­tu­ally! It’s just a matter of time.

For the most part, the Gazetteer section isn’t contin­u­ously updated with changing infor­ma­tion about the areas featured. However, revisions are made from time to time and the author will be happy to correct any errors that are drawn to his attention. Again, please use the contact form for this purpose.