I was finally prompted to compile this list when Darren Zak Scott told me that Gotham, Nottinghamshire, one of the Top 10 Places With More Famous Places Named After Them, is pronounced Goat-um. This could easily have been a Top 100 – thank you for all your wonderful nominations – so this is just a highly selective selection of my favourites.
1. Barnoldswick, Lancashire, pronounced Barlick. Thanks to Henry Peacock.
2. Claughton, Wirral; Claughton, Lancashire, near Garstang; and Claughton, in the city of Lancaster. Pronounced Clawton, Clyton and Clafton. Wonderful triplet, also from Henry Peacock.
3. Happisburgh, in Norfolk, pronounced Haze-borough. Nominated by Ian McRobert. “Always a little sad that it is not pronounced with the word ‘happy’ in it,” said Emily Goddard.
4. Launceston, ancient borough and so-called gateway to Cornwall, pronounced Lan-son. Thanks to Sean Langton, pronounced Lang-ton.
5. Masham, North Yorkshire, Cosham, Hampshire, and nearby Bosham, West Sussex, are Massum, Cosh-um and Bozz-um, said Alan Jones.
6. Meigh, Co Armagh, pronounced Meek. Thanks to James Irwin, our Northern Ireland correspondent. See also Boho, Co Fermanagh, pronounced Bo.
7. Milngavie, outer Glasgow, pronounced Mull-guy. One of a batch of Scottish nominations from Alan Robertson: Tomintoul (Tom-in-towel) and Culzean Castle (Cullain, as featured on the Royal Bank of Scotland’s £5 note).
8. Mousehole, Cornwall. Mousle. Emmabella Murray also offered Eyam in Derbyshire, pronounced Eem.
9. Slaithwaite, near Huddersfield, pronounced Slough-itt. From Mick O’Hare and Mark Hopkinson.
10. Ulgham, Northumberland, pronounced Uffam. Nominated by The Northumbrian and Alan Robertson.
Wemyss Bay, which featured in Top 10 Railway Stations, is pronounced Weems Bay. Thanks to Amanda Corrigan.
There are many more nominations on Twitter. There are a lot of places I could have included, but I am familiar with them either as a Londoner (Greenwich, Holborn, Marylebone, Plaistow, Southwark) or as a Briton (Gloucester, Leicester, Loughborough, Keighley, Kirkby, Norwich, Slough, Warwick, Worcester).
One sub-category I also like relates to lost or disappearing pronunciations. Bolsover used to be Bo-zovver; Cirencester used to be Sissiter; Daventry used to be Daintry; and Godmanchester, Huntingdonshire, used to be Gumster (thanks to Robert Boston), but waves of incomers mean that they now tend to be pronounced as they are written.
Next week: Musicians Who Objected to Politicians Using Their Songs, even though Abba have not yet complained about Theresa May jiving on to the platform to “Dancing Queen”
Coming soon: Parodies more successful than the originals, starting with ’Allo, ’Allo!, a parody of Secret Army
The e-book of Top 10s, Listellany, is still available for £4.74
Your suggestions please, and ideas for future Top 10s, to me on Twitter, or by email to email@example.com
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