I still find I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, now broadcasting series fifty-something, one of the most amusing of radio programmes. Astonishingly, one of the rounds which continues to endure is the delightfully entitled Mornington Crescent. For those who are unaware, the teams spoof strategy games as they alternately name London Underground Stations, the object of the game being to end with Mornington Crescent.
While listening to the list of names, my toponymist's mind began to contemplate the origins of the place names. Here is the result of a little 'digging', the final part of a list given in alphabetical order and which is certainly not complete.
Ravenscourt Park - when the manor house of the estate was rebuilt after being purchased by Thomas Corbett in 1747, it was renamed Ravenscourt, probably to reflect the raven appearing in the new owner's coat of arms.
Rayners Lane - is on land purchased by the Rayner family in the early years of the nineteenth century.
Redbridge - named for an old bridge across the River Roding, recorded as such for the first time in 1777.
Regents Park - named after the Prince Regent, later George IV.
Richmond - a transferred name, brought here by Henry VIII when he built his palace here. The original Richmond is in Yorkshire, an Old French name meaning 'the strong hill'.
Rickmansworth - 'the enclosure of a man called Ricmaer'.
Roding Valley - is not strictly named from the River Roding, for that was named by a process known as back-formation from the place names, of which there are several, telling of 'the settlement of the family or followers of a man called Hrotha'.
Rotherhithe - 'the landing place for cattle'.
Royal Albert - the dock was named after Queen Victoria's consort.
Royal Oak - takes the second most common pub name in the land, derived from a famous episode in English history when Charles II and his aide Colonel Carless hid in the Boscobel Oak to evade Parliamentarian soldiers following defeat at the Battle of Worcester.
Royal Victoria - as with the Royal Albert, is named after the monarchy of the day.
Ruislip, Ruislip Gardens, South Ruislip, West Ruislip and Ruislip Manor - an unusual place name describing 'the leaping place where the rushes grow', that place being the river here.
Russell Square - the Russell family, dukes of Bedford, held land here.
Seven Sisters - named from the seven elms which were planted in a cirlce on what was previously known as Page Green.
Shadwell - 'the shallow stream' was previously known as Shadfleet 'the shallow tidal stream'.
Shepherds Bush - exactly what it says 'the bush marking the place of the shepherd'.
Shoreditch - a place name meaning 'the ditch by a bank or slope'.
South Ealing - the 'southern settlement of the family or followers of a man called Gilla'.
South Harrow - from hearg 'the southern heathen place of worship'.
South Kensington - the 'southern place associated with a man called Cynesige'.
South Kenton - 'the southern estate associated with a man called Cena'.
South Quay - is self-explanatory
South Wimbledon - a basic name meaning 'the hill of a man called Wynnmanmn'
South Woodford - 'the ford by a wood'.
Southfields - is 'the southern open lands'.
Southgate - refers to the way to Enfield Chase in 'the southern entranceway'.
Southwark - the 'southern defensive feature'.
St. Johns Wood - was named for it was held by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem.
St. Pauls - is named after the famous cathedral, one of London's best known landmarks.
Stamford Brook - is 'the hill by the sandy ford'.
Stanmore - refers to its location at 'the stony pool'.
Stepney Green - began life as 'the landing place of a man called Stybba'.
Stockwell - tells us it was 'the spring marked by a tree stump'.
Stonebridge Park - is self-explanatory.
Stratford - a common place name always from straet ford 'the ford on a Roman road'.
Sudbury Hill and Sudbury Town - share a name which describes 'the southern fortified place'.
Swiss Cottage - is named from a nearby pub built in 1803, originally called the Swiss Tavern and later the Swiss Cottage.
Temple - the name comes from the Knights Templar, who once held this land.
Theydon Bois - from 'the valley where thatching materials are obtained', with the addition of the de Bosco or de Boys family, lords of this manor by the twelfth century.
Tooting Bec - what began as the 'settlement of the family or followers of a man called Tota' saw the later addition of the landholders, the Norman Abbey of Bec-Hellouin.
Tottenham Court Road - 'the nook of land of a man called Tota'.
Totteridge & Whetstone - respectively 'the ridge of land of a man called Tata' and 'the place where whetstones are obtained'.
Tower Gateway and Tower Hill - both refer to the nearby Tower of London.
Tufnell Park - named after William Tufnell, lord of the manor of Barnsbury by 1753.
Upminster Bridge - refers to 'the higher minster or church'.
Upton Park - 'the higher farmstead', here 'higher' is probably used to indicate it was of greater importance.
Uxbridge - 'the bridge of the tribe called Wixan'.
Vauxhall - 'the manor of a man called Falkes'.
Victoria - officially it is named after Victoria Street, although the latter was named after the nation's longest reiging monarch.
Walthamstow Central - a place name where the meaning has never been agreed - suggestions include 'the place where guests are welcome' and 'the holy place of a woman called Wilcume'.
Wanstead - a name meaning 'the place by the tumour-shaped hill'.
Wapping - tells of 'the settlement of the family or followers of a man called Wappa'.
Waterloo - named from the mainline station, itself after the famous battle.
Watford - is found in several places, always referring to 'the ford used when hunting'.
Wembley Central and Wembley Park - share a name coming from 'the woodland clearing of a man called Wemba'.
West Acton - the 'westerly farmstead by the oak trees'.
West Brompton - the westerly farmstead where broom trees grow'.
West Finchley - which tells of 'the westerly woodland clearing frequented by finches'.
West Ham - 'the westerly homestead'.
West Hampstead - despite the difference from the previous name is also 'the westerly homestead'.
West Harrow - from hearg 'the western heathen place of worship'.
West India Quay - was named after the dock which was almost exclusively used to berth vessels from the West Indies.
West Kensington - 'the western place associated with a man called Cynesige'.
Westbourne Park - 'the western stream'.
Westferry - speaks for itself.
Westminster - again, a self-explanatory name.
White City - takes the name given to the stadium and exhibition centre built in 1908.
Whitechapel - 'the white church', indicating it was built of stone rather than the usual wood thus appearing bright in colour.
Willesden Green and Willesden Junction - is 'the hill with a spring'.
Wimbledon and Wimbledon Park - 'the hill of a man called Wynnmanmn'.
Wood Green - not 'the green wood' but 'the wood by a village green'.
Woodford - speaks for itself as 'the ford by the woodland'.
Incidentally, Mornington Crescent was originally to be called Seymour Street (the surname of William Portman's grandmother, Portman having developed the area) would make a terrible name for a round of I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue.