I grew up in an area called Waterloo, near Liverpool. Lovely place. Seaside town, plenty of parks, a fabulous community cinema. The kind of place that has been absorbed into the suburban sprawl of Liverpool without much difficulty. Since 2007 it has been the home of Another Place by Antony Gormley. I still think of it as a place for living, not visiting; not with so much else so close.
Go back 200 years and there was even less to see, a few cottages that were really on the edges of the old town of Crosby. When I say ‘old town’ I mean proper, historical, named-in-the-Domesday-Book kind of old. By comparision Waterloo is brand new. In 1816 a hotel was opened by a local entrepreneur taking advantage of the new fashion for staycations that involved taking the sea air. The grand opening was planned for 18th June, and some brightspark realised there was free advertising available if, instead of the tedious “Crosby Seabank Hotel” they went with something a little more patriotic and celebrated the 1st anniversary of a decisive victory over that cad Napoleon Bonaparte. So instead it was christened the Royal Waterloo Hotel, as more cottages and homes were built along the seafront the area took it’s name from the hotel.
It’s an odd thing to do, in my opinion, to name something after an event in which tens of thousands of people lost their lives. But given the names of certain celebrities children, there’s a lot of naming traditions I need to catch up on.
Most names do come about because of something odd though, if they’re old enough they tend to be descriptions of a place and if you’re going to boil a description down to one word then you go with what’s odd.
Notable exception to this obviously being the Welsh town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantysiliogogogoch which translates to “The marketing team have had a great idea of how to sell more postcards, but it involves renaming the train station” (some scholar’s believe it can also be interpreted as “St Mary’s church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the fierce whirlpool of St Tysilio of the red cave” but they’re not the ones you want to go for drinks with.)
All that to say, I tend to over think things. Like names for new blogs.