Saturday, 31 March 2012

Saturday Street: Tottenham Court Road

The Saturday Street is our weekly series in which we unlock the stories behind the names of London's famous thoroughfares. It's compiled by London Walks guide Karen – listed by Travel + Leisure magazine as The World's Greatest Tour Guide. You can find Karen on Saturdays guiding her Old Westminster and British Museum walks. If you've got a London street query or suggestion, email Karen at the usual address

Tottenham Court Road

Question from a London Walker just the other day: what’s the difference between Tottenham and Tottenham Court Road (apart from the geographic difference of about six miles)? Are they the same in terms of historic land ownership?

During the reign of King Henry III, the land to the northwest of what is now Centre Point belonged to one William de Tottenhall. When the same estate came into the possession of Queen Elizabeth I, the “Court” bit was added and the name evolves into the modern-day Tottenham Court Road.

The north London neighbourhood of Tottenham, on the other hand, is believed to have been named for a fellow by the name o’ Tota, a farmer whose hamlet is listed in the Domesday Book.


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