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London’s weirdest Tube station names explained – from Cockfosters to Seven Sisters


The Elephant and Castle Tube station sign in the Underground.

How London’s weirdest stations got their names (Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty)

The Tube is like a second home to Londoners, so it’s easy to take the quirky station names for granted.

But maybe you’ve found yourself staring at an iconic Underground station sign blankly while waiting for a delayed train, and wondered about the story behind its name?

Since the first London Tube station – Baker Street – opened more than 161 years ago, the sprawling network of 272 stations now boasts plenty of weird ones.

Some are just named after good old English pubs, and others border on mildly insulting.

Here are the stories behind 11 of London’s quirkiest stations.

1. Swiss Cottage

The brutalist Swiss Cottage station entrance (Picture: Google Maps)

You’d be forgiven for thinking of cheese or the Alps when seeing this station in Camden.

But it was not named after Switzerland or any kind of fondue. Instead, the inspiration was perhaps the greatest of Great British icons: a pub.

The station sits next to a pub once called the Swiss Tavern, later renamed Ye Olde Swiss Cottage, which was built in the Swiss cabin style in 1840.

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But today, the brutalist exterior of the station entrance and surrounding buildings are a far cry from a charming cottage vibe.

2. Paddington

Paddington Underground station is regularly among the ten busiest London stations, with more than 46 million passengers in 2022. It’s also a gateway for National Rail trains heading west.

Paddington station is one of London’s busiest transport hubs (Picture: David Levenson/BloombergGetty)

While the station is often associated with its namesake Paddington Bear, its name came before the birth of the cuddly bear in the mid-1950s.

Located in the Paddington area, historians believe the name derives from the a 10th-century Anglo-Saxon chief called Padda.

3. Arsenal

Located in Highbury in north London, the station was renamed after none other than the Arsenal Football Club in 1932.

Football fans will know what getting in and out of the Tube station is like on a game day (Picture: Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC/Getty)

The old name – Gillespie Road – was replaced with the football club name a few years before the start of the Second World War.

It is a nod to the club’s links to the Royal Arsenal munition factory, where its fifteen founding members worked in 1886.

Arsenal means a collection of weapons. The word was borrowed for the English language from medieval French and Italian.

4. Canary Wharf

One of the newer stations of the Tube network, Canary Wharf in the Isle of Dogs serves the Jubilee Line, Docklands Light Railway and Elizabeth Line.

Canary Wharf Tube station (Credits: Bloomberg via Getty Images) (Picture: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg/Getty)

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Source:: Metro

      

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