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Tuesday, 14 January, 2003, 18:06 GMT
The A-Z of postal snobbery
Residents of Yorkshire village Staincross want the right to use it in their addresses, instead of having to use nearby Mapplewell. It makes a change - nowadays people usually try to find a way of NOT using their proper addresses.
Forget Brixton. If you are a houseowner in the troubled area of London, you might just consider telling people you live in Herne Hill.
So while the villagers in Staincross feel it is their right to have the name they want on their letters, for many people it is the reverse.
They try and find a nearby desirable address, and modify it, extend it, or "borderise" it (eg. New Xville, Xville village, Xville Hill, Xville Park, Xville-on-Thames, Xville-borders).
If all else fails, and redefining an unpromising area seems impossible, simple use of the epithet "up-and-coming" should satisfy.
A survey of estate agents and buyers by mortgage company The One Account last year found that renaming an area, or "exaggerating" its location was a surefire trick.
A fifth of estate agents admitted they had used an alternative name for an area to add value to a property they were trying to sell, and more than one in ten admitted exaggerating the geography of a location to make a property more desirable.
So, within London:
And borderised places included Lewisham becoming Blackheath Borders and Crouch End becoming Highgate Borders.
Out of town
It's not just a London thing, though. The survey found that a river development in Norwich sold much better once it was re-named Anchor Quay.
It's easy to see the lure of the village. In fact the report found that 43.5% of people thought having a "village" suffix increased the value of their property.
In Peckham, south-east London, famous for Del Boy and Rodney, you will now find Peckham Village. It's the name given to a redevelopment of formerly tough estates into low-rise housing with gardens, but it doesn't cut any mustard with former estate agent Steve Wright.
"If you said you lived in Peckham Village, you would expect to find a duck pond, everyone playing cricket and knowing each other in the village pub," he says.
There are numerous other villages spotted around London, each harking back to a time otherwise long forgotten when the capital didn't consume everything in its path.
But even this is not a trend confined to the inner cities.
"You might live in Waltham Abbey in Essex," says Steve Wright, "but when it comes to selling your house, suddenly you're on the Hertfordshire borders."
But even postcodes do not avoid controversy. There are those who live in Maidenhead, described in a government report earlier this month as a "gin and Jags" town, who would rather not have an "SL" postcode, signifying as it does their proximity to Slough.
Less gin and Jags, perhaps, and a touch more David Brent.
Know any other areas which people like to pretend have a fancier name? Let us know using the form below.
Streatham in London has become (to some) St. Reatham! Genius! Ha Ha!
In Wakefield, W.Yorks, houses in an area called Belle Vue got up and moved into an area called Sandal, which is more associated with high property values
In the East End of London, villages appear to be the new black. My local area is now being christened Limehouse Village by some of the local estate agents and although we do have a church and a few pretty pubs, the local store hasn't closed yet so there's still some way to go!
When the county borders changed in 1974, Oldham became absorbed into what is now called Greater Manchester. Modern day Oldham used to be in Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire. The name Greater Manchester has never taken off and Oldhamers still refer to themselves as Lancashire or in the more affulent Saddleworth district of Oldham - Yorkshire
Surely Kew Riverside is one of the more flagrant re-brandings - for flats built between a waste recycling centre and crematorium on one side and a waterworks on the other. Sounds idyllic, doesn't it ?
Where I live in Woodford Bridge a new(ish) high price development advertises itself as being in Chigwell, yet the address is for Woodford Green (a little less downmarket) and it is actually in Woodford Bridge (even more downmarket).
The 'village-isation' trick was used when Cantril Farm, an out of control, run down council estate on the outskirts of Liverpool, became Stockbridge Village and had a facelift. I think only the people who live there use the 'new' name.
Reading re-branded itself as a city a month or so before the results of the Queen's "Jubilee City" were announced. Many signposts and road signs, all sorts of official notices and even some of the buses now carry the word "City". Needless to say, Reading did not gain city status and remains a town.
I live in a Buckinghamshire village which in recent years has been absorbed into a Milton Keynes postal address (though not into the new city itself). I hate to be associated with the concrete cows and multitudes of roundabouts, so never put Milton Keynes on my mailing address. Unfortunately the MK postcode gives it away.
Many residents of Southport, which is now in Merseyside, still give their address as Southport, Lancashire - especially the more well-off residents, who don't like to be associated with a working-class city like Liverpool.
I live just across the road from the very fashionable Brighton area of Hanover - also known as Muesli Mountain, for the large proportion of young, alternative new-media couples, or The Peoples Republic of Hangover, for the Guardian-reading, lefty bias and large number of excellent pubs. Naturally, I tell people I live in North Hanover...
In Birmingham, people in Billesley live in Kings Heath, people in Sparkbrook or Highgate live in Moseley, people in Northfield live in Kings Norton, and those in Ladywood live in Edgbaston. There is no comparison between property description pages and an actual A-Z.
Sometimes it goes full-circle. The area known as Highgate in Birmingham is now Attwood Green. As it was before it was renamed Highgate!
What really irritates me is the way Leeds claims places in Wakefield. IKEA Leeds is in Birstall, Batley, WF17 with a Wakefield phone number. How is that Leeds?
There are people in my town who are stuck up and insist that they live in Freshfield and thier county is Lancashire as they don't want to admit that they actually live in Merseyside!
I don't really think that people in Crouch End need to refer to it as Highgate borders. Crouch End is a desirable area in itself, noted residents include TV actors and pop stars. Highgate's most famous resident on the other hand is still Karl Marx. People who live in Stroud Green or Turnpike Lane might suggest that they live in Crouch End Borders on the other hand though.
St. Ockwell (Stockwell) and Battersia (Battersea)
When the counties were redrawn in 1964, Middlesex ceased to exist. Most of it became part of the new county: Greater London. People don't like the name, and still say they live in Middlesex - a county that hasn't existed for nearly 39 years. People in Richmond say they live in Surrey, but it too is in Greater London, and hasn't been in Middlesex since 1964. I bet most of the people that live there don't even know that there's no Middelsex.
Maidenbower Village? No, it's just another neighbourhood of Crawley new town !!
During the 80s boom, Bristol estate agents caused much local amusement by renaming Bedminster, where I live, as Lower Clifton, to associate the area's humble terraces and factories with the grand, wealthy Regency crescents of Clifton, from which we are separated by two rivers and a desolate road junction.
Who wants to live in Poynton in the Greater Manchester borough of Stockport, when you could live in Poynton in wealthy, rural Cheshire?
There are many examples in South Manchester. An area called Whalley range has now become Upper Chorlton to some. A friend of mine lives in Withington but quotes her address as West Didsbury and I myself am guilty of this. Sometimes when I meet new people I say I live in Chorlton when in fact I actually live just over the boundary in Stretford.
I work in Bracknell, Berkshire. It amuses me that those living in the areas of Warfield and Binfield in the town seek to disassociate themselves with what is seen as the town of Bracknell and omit this from their addresses.
Hasn't anyone heard of St. Aines-on-Thames? Sounds a touch better than Staines.
Bits of Clapham Park are now Abbeville Village and anywhere down to the foot of Balham Hill is Clapham South.
Some residents of the Bognor Regis suburb of Aldwick in West Sussex refer to it as a village south of Chichester. It is actually seven miles south of Chichester and less than half a mile west of Bognor!
Littlemoor, an area on the outskirts of Weymouth in Dorset which once contained a lot of social housing, has all but disappeared over the years. It has become Preston to the east and New Broadway to the west. I take delight in correcting people when they give their addresses by saying - "You mean Littlemoor don't you!"
Nearly all of Prince Charles' model village at Poundbury is built on the fields of Middle Farm, not Poundbury Farm across the road. But Middleville doesn't have quite the same ring . . .
I was most amused by local estate agents, selling high priced houses adjoining an industrial estate near Guildford, referring to the strip of grass between a service road and the main road, which the houses overlooked, as the "village green".
Southmead in Bristol, often becomes Westbury on Trym. This is because the main housing in the area is mainly council housing and the Westbury on Trym area is mainly private housing and an affluent area.
In North Leeds estate agents describe Ireland Wood (a former council estate) as either Cookridge (about a mile away)or Adel (one of the oldest parishes in England, with sky high property values). The thing is that Ireland Wood is not a bad part of Leeds. It's got good schools, good transport links, people take pride in the appearance of their homes, and the homes command a respectable price on the property market so I don't get why estate agents seem to be ashamed of the name Ireland Wood?
In south-east London, Deptford becomes West Greenwich in estate agent speak, while middle-class residents of Rotherhithe will speak only of Surrey Quays. See also the attempted renaming of Clerkenwell/ Hoxton/ Finsbury/ Spitalfields in London as Cityside.
There's an area near Gravesend, the unfashionable nothing town, that has decided to call itself Shorne West, to steal thunder from Shorne, a nearby village.
A rundown area of Blackburn, HigherCroft, is now apparently the West Pennine Moors. But the sheep would be ill if they ate the grass they have on those estates.
Do French estate agents describe Normandy as Lower Kent?
I've heard that Brixton is now Briton-Round-the-Cross.
A London estate agent once described a place in Archway as being in Hampstead Slopes. Very creative, but ultimately very disapponting.
This isn't new. A village in Dorset is now known as Briantspuddle, it was changed in the 19th Century from Briantspiddle.
A new housing development in Northampton in an area called Cotton End is now Riverside
Council tenants in Townhill, Swansea, who exercise their Right to Buy their home often find that this transports them off the estate and into the neighbouring (and more affluent) areas of Cockett or Sketty.
In Coventry, parts of down-at-heel Radford appear to have been renamed Lower Coundon by estate agents keen to cash in on the property boom in Coundon proper, while Chapelfields (nice enough in itself) is rapidly vanishing into Earlsdon and Coundon.
I live in a part of Battersea known as South Chelsea to many of the snobbier residents!
I thought calling Battersea South Chelsea was preposterous, but then I saw Kilburn re-named South Hampstead!
The Gateshead suburb of Low Fell, where lifestyles are better and house prices significantly higher, now seems to cover most of the town centre.
Could someone creative come up with a new moniker for Salford please? How about Lowryville?
Sometimes just a change in pronunciation is needed - for example, pronouncing Clapham as Clahm or ClayFarm.
It isn't called Peckham Village any more but Beckham Village. As a local estate agent told me: "It was Peckham but now it's gone Posh." Well the agent might think so....
When I lived in Windsor, I was surprised to learn I had a Slough postcode...just think about addressing a letter to Windsor Castle! No-one's safe!
The old barracks town of Shoeburyness lies to the east of Southend-on-Sea. In between lies the more affluent and desirable area of Thorpe Bay, which is strictly defined by the local postal delivery service as a set number of streets within the borough of Southend. Houses that are most definitely within the Shoeburyness postal region quite frequently slip over the border to Thorpe Bay when their owners feel the need to elevate the asking price!
It's been going on in Glasgow for years: people in Govanhill call it Crosshill, so those in Crosshill call it Queen's Park. Maryhill is North Kelvinside, Croftfoot is Upper King's Park, and I've only heard it tongue-in-cheek, but Castlemilk becomes Chateau-du-lait. And about half the east end is Mount Vernon, apparently.
I live in an area named by some residents as Upper Islington, although I am yet to spot the Blairs shopping on the Holloway Road!
In a small area of Barnes in south west London (itself a desirable enough address) the residents have taken to painting their Victorian terraced properties in a variety of pastel colours. At the same time, the local estate agents have taken to describing this area as Little Chelsea Urgh!
This sort of thing has been going on for some years. Saxon settlers on the borders of the ruined Roman town of Londinium renamed it Lundenwic (London Village). When that became an inner-city area, it was renamed as the rural sounding Covent Garden.
I hear Staines is to change its name to Wraysbury-on-Thames, which will only add an extra (guesstimate) £100,000 to property prices.
In Cardiff, Splott - which used to be quite a rough area but is now up-and-coming and quite nice really - has been re-pronounced Splo by some of its residents. And estate agents now call it Lower Roath.
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