Location Lingo

Today I came across an article on the BBC website about a project called Location Lingo, which is run by The English Project and Ordnance Survey and aims to collect local nicknames for places in the UK. That is, unofficial names that don’t appear on maps.

Some examples they give include Skem and Barlick for Skelmersdale and Barnoldswick, two towns in Lancashire, and Swindump for Swindon. As well as collecting nicknames for cities, towns and villages, they’re also interested in nicknames for neighbourhoods, parks and landmarks, and you can contribute your nicknames on their website.

Do you have nicknames for places near you?

Where I grew up in Silverdale in Lancashire we called a wet area that used to be a well “The Swamp”, and a valley over the road from it “The Grand Canyon”. The official name of the former is Bank Well, but I’m not sure about the latter.

This entry was posted in English, Language.

7 Responses to Location Lingo

  1. Meera says:

    This sounds great! Thanks for sharing. In Pennyslvania we call Phildelphia, “Philly” and New York “Big apple” or simply “the city”

  2. Dennis King says:

    I always liked Sacratomato for Sacramento, California, where I used to live. There used used to be lots of tomato processing plants there and during the harvest season the whole city smelled like ketchup/catsup.

  3. Yenlit says:

    The ‘l’ in Skelmersdale makes it a bit awkward to pronounce in rapid speech which is why it probably gets shortened to Skem and also derogatively to Scum!
    Some places and areas of Liverpool become shortened with a diminutive ending added like:
    Toxy – Toxteth
    Croxy – Croxteth
    Stocky Village – Stockbridge Village.
    In Welsh or rather North Walian, Liverpool can be heard as Nerpwl a contraction of ‘yn Lerpwl’ (in Liverpool) and Anglesey as ‘Smon’ a contraction of Ynys Môn.

  4. Chris Miller says:

    I know the Dutch use “Mokum” as a nickname for Amsterdam. Here in Canada we have a few too. Toronto gets called “T-O”, “T-dot” or “Hogtown”, Ottawa sometimes gets called “Bytown” (its original name), Winnipeg often gets called “Winterpeg”, Kapuskasing in North Ontario “Kap”, and the village of Carp just west of Ottawa is sometimes jokingly called “The Kerp” in imitation of an Ottawa Valley accent. And quite a few places are almost always referred to by their initials: “BC” instead of “British Columbia” and “NDG” for the Montreal borough of Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.

    In French, the media are fond of referring to Toronto as “la ville reine” and Quebec City as “la vieille capitale”, but that’s not quite the same kind of thing.

  5. Chris Miller says:

    I forgot: in Occitan, Montpelhièr (Montpellier in the French version) has the nickname lo Clapàs “the rockpile”.

  6. Andrew says:

    I grew up in Southeast Missouri and, due to the HORRIBLE humidity you’d typically get during the summer, we called it Swampeast Missouri 😀

    Also, reminds me of an old joke I heard long ago:

    You know why New Jersey’s known as “The Garden State”?

    Because “Land of chemical spills and nuclear meltdowns” is too long to fit on a license plate.


  7. Leonardo says:

    Here in Brazil we have Sampa for São Paulo, Floripa for Florianópolis, Belzonti or just BH (beh-agah) for Belo Horizonte, ABC for the region that includes cities of Santo André, São Bernardo and São Caetano. Big city names like Itaquaquecetuba, Caraguatatuba become Itaquá and Caraguá. The same with Guará (Guaratinguetá).

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