79. A Primrose Hill By Any Other Name

This week, we’re talking about a subject we obsess about on CityMetric, but one which has, remarkably, escaped the podcast treatment until now: how we name the districts of our cities.

If you’ve got off the London Underground at Holborn recently you may have noticed the helpful people in bowler hats and orange scarfs, or the banners which inform you that you are, unexpectedly in “Midtown”. This label – covering Bloomsbury, Holborn and St. Giles – has only recently attached itself to the city’s landscape, courtesy of Bee London, which runs the Midtown Business Improvement District.

It’s not altogether clear that the Midtown label is finding favours with Londoners. But I went to see Tass Mavrogordato, the chief executive of Bee London, to ask what the business improvement district is trying to do, and why it needed a whole new name to do it.

Also this week, I persuaded my colleague India Bourke to return to the podcast, to chat about how city districts get their names, and discuss some of the best and worst names out there.

Skylines is the podcast from the New Statesman’s cities site, CityMetric. It’s hosted by Jonn Elledge.

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