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I was just pondering how people go about naming their layout, I'm quite interested in words and their origin - prefixes (nor,ham,ox...) and suffixes (gate,bury, ford...) that have long forgotten lingual meaning etc.

I wonder to what lengths people have gone to in order to authentically christen their fictional locations, and create a believable "word" with some kind of "history."

I was fascinated to watch a documentary some years ago about the London Underground and how the station names (that sound so old and historical) were largely made up! 

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13 minutes ago, Ray Von said:

I was just pondering how people go about naming their layout, I'm quite interested in words and their origin - prefixes (nor,ham,ox...) and suffixes (gate,bury, ford...) that have long forgotten lingual meaning etc.

I wonder to what lengths people have gone to in order to authentically christen their fictional locations, and create a believable "word" with some kind of "history."

I was fascinated to watch a documentary some years ago about the London Underground and how the station names (that sound so old and historical) were largely made up! 

A Dictionary of British Place-Names (Oxford ... - AbeBooks

www.abebooks.co.uk › plp

10 Sep 2003 - A Dictionary of British Place-Names (Oxford Paperback Reference) by Mills, ... Clean, undamaged book with no damage to pages and minimal ...

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our club had an O16.5 layyout based on Tywyn Wharf on the Talyllyn, and it was named Eastgate wharf, here in Wakefield, there is a Northgate, Westgate and a Southgate but no Eastgate.

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3 minutes ago, Paul H Vigor said:

A Dictionary of British Place-Names (Oxford ... - AbeBooks

www.abebooks.co.uk › plp

10 Sep 2003 - A Dictionary of British Place-Names (Oxford Paperback Reference) by Mills, ... Clean, undamaged book with no damage to pages and minimal ...

The Mills book is a good introduction to the origins of British place-names. Should provide almost unlimited inspirations for invented place-naming :)

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Just now, Paul H Vigor said:

The Mills book is a good introduction to the origins of British place-names. Should provide almost unlimited inspirations for invented place-naming :)

If you decide to 'invent' a Welsh place-name I would recommend you seek the assistance of a Welsh-speaker :)

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3 minutes ago, sir douglas said:

our club had an O16.5 layyout based on Tywyn Wharf on the Talyllyn, and it was named Eastgate wharf, here in Wakefield, there is a Northgate, Westgate and a Southgate but no Eastgate.

Here in Thanet we have Margate, Ramsgate and Westgate(-on-sea) - I remember Eastgate Platoon being the nemeses of Captain Mainwarings Home Guard!

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Posted (edited)

I recall (from primary school) Thanet being of Viking origin, maybe Tenet - and Margate being a corruption of Mergate or Meergate (The gate to the sea?) One of my favourites locally is Dent-de-Lion Road, those who know their French, zoology and botany will get that one.

Edited by Ray Von
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When deciding upon the name for my preservation-era OO layout which will contain virtually every new build planned and a few that arent, i wanted a plausible english sounding name that was also some kind of wordplay with the word 'Newbuild'. From my terrible terrible french i recalled that the word 'creer' means 'create'. I found that 'Newcreer' was a reasonably plausible sounding english town name (a great many use anglicised french words).

 

I never dared to try and create  awelsh town name, i would do a horrific job of it :) i'll stick to the english - that seems to at least be decent enough to be unremarkable :)

 

My sole tip is try using exisitng language or names as a basis - and dont try and make it too remarkable - if a name 'stands out' particularly then its probably a bad choice

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We, a group of mates from out local MRC, are building an 0 gauge exhibition layout

(we know, we're not rushing it now!) that started as an idea based on the number of

'bubble' cars that we owned between us, so we named the layout Bubbleton.

I'm hoping to get the station called Bubbleton Road, to save modelling the actual town!

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  • RMweb Gold

Just dig out any largish scale OS map of the area you are interested in. There will be stacks of appropriate names that you can use.

Ian

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2 minutes ago, [email protected] said:

We, a group of mates from out local MRC, are building an 0 gauge exhibition layout

(we know, we're not rushing it now!) that started as an idea based on the number of

'bubble' cars that we owned between us, so we named the layout Bubbleton.

I'm hoping to get the station called Bubbleton Road, to save modelling the actual town!

How about "Bullaton" - Bulla is Latin for bubble and ton of course is the contraction of town? 

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3 hours ago, Edge said:

When deciding upon the name for my preservation-era OO layout which will contain virtually every new build planned and a few that arent, i wanted a plausible english sounding name that was also some kind of wordplay with the word 'Newbuild'. From my terrible terrible french i recalled that the word 'creer' means 'create'. I found that 'Newcreer' was a reasonably plausible sounding english town name (a great many use anglicised french words).

 

I never dared to try and create  awelsh town name, i would do a horrific job of it :) i'll stick to the english - that seems to at least be decent enough to be unremarkable :)

 

My sole tip is try using exisitng language or names as a basis - and dont try and make it too remarkable - if a name 'stands out' particularly then its probably a bad choice

"Newbottle is an Anglo-Saxon name and the village as a settlement dates from pre-Norman times. The place-name ending “bottle” (meaning dwelling or small settlement) is found in other settlements in the north east. ... Newbottle is the only one in Tyne & Wear and formerly within the boundary of County Durham." :)

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9 hours ago, Ray Von said:

I recall (from primary school) Thanet being of Viking origin, maybe Tenet - and Margate being a corruption of Mergate or Meergate (The gate to the sea?) One of my favourites locally is Dent-de-Lion Road, those who know their French, zoology and botany will get that one.

Generally the word gate is from the old Norse word "gat" gat meaning road,  so  when you leave a town  by the east gate you leave by the east road.. 

So Margate would mean the road or path to the pool of water. 

 

The word Thanet is pre-viking, thought to be from old Welsh recorded as Tonatis in the Roman period, there being two possible derivations of the word from "fire" or to me more likely Holm oak, holm meaning rise in the ground or small island.. 

 

Choosing you layout name should be influenced by the region in which it is set,  "Thorpe,  by,  " are from the east side of England,  "Down Combe", are often used in South and west England. 

Scotland has a wide variety of derivations of town names  Gaidhlig Norse , in the highlands and Island,  blending in to pictish towards the East Coast,  Anglo-Saxon in the south and east , with all three in the south west.

Wales is of course mostly Cymreag,  however there are areas where English has thrown in the odd name or combination with Cymreag 

 

Mind you I've often seen names based on children's,  wives,  and other familial names. 

Both my model railways have real place names, 

Ludgershall ( meaning place of the spear trap)  because that's where it's modelled on,

Tiree,  ( meaning isle of Barley)  because that's where the layout was built. 

 

Rule one 1, it's your railway name it what you want... 

Edited by TheQ
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10 hours ago, ikcdab said:

Just dig out any largish scale OS map of the area you are interested in. There will be stacks of appropriate names that you can use.

Ian


Another option in this part of England (Norfolk) is to use the names of lost medieval towns and villages. Not so far from me you can use names of abandoned villages like Babingley, Bawsey or Burgh Parva; or there are settlements lost to sea erosion including Shipden (a very significant port in its day), Ness, Foulness, Waxham Parva. 
 

Wikipedia has a handy list here
 

And there’s a nice map here
 

You can find similar resources for other counties. 
 

Place names can feel “rooted” in a particular time: again near me, I like Thieves Bridge and Saracen’s Head. The old M&GN had lots of tiny stations in the middle of the Fens, mainly for agricultural freight, with such lovely unglamorous names as Ferry, Twenty and (my favourite) Counter-Drain.

 

I’ve posted on here before about an eighteenth century journal describing a sailing tour of the Fens: at one point they rest for the night at a place near a then-notorious brothel, called Whoresnest Ferry. Alas, that name seems to have disappeared. 

 

Names can be so evocative. 
 

Paul

Edited by Fenman
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Scottish place names are often an anglicised versions of the original, as the generally recognised spellings were only established as mapping was completed. The military map making was of course just part of the wider British attempt (post Jacobite uprising) to eradicate any distinct culture and so the use of Scots, Doric and Gaelic were discouraged. The clues of course are still there with the use of "Aber", "Inver" and "Bal" in place names.

 

One such derivative that is of interest is the use of the spelling "King" in Scottish place names. Used to indicate some sort of loyalty to a monarch, it is in fact a twisting of the word Ceann, meaning the end of a piece of land, for example Kingussie is actually Ceann a' Ghiùthsaich or the end of the pine wood and the especially loyally named King Edward, one time station on the Great North of Scotland, owes its name to neither monarchy, nor potato but instead simply indicates that it is the head of a piece of land between two others and should be known as Ceann Eadar.

 

For the modeller these clues can be used to instantly situate a place name as Scottish and for fictitious locations can allow a number of variations to be legitimately used. For the contemporary modeller though care should be taken as Scotrail now frequently display both the station name and the English version on the same sign.  The keen observer though can see where they occasionally get themselves into difficulty as at Dùn Dè or Dùn Dèagh, both of which are displayed at Dundee. 

 

John

 

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i grew up in a village called Kirkthorpe which is viking for church village

 

some basics of welsh i know, double F is like V, double L is like a "thle or kle" sound such as the Llanberis slate museum is "Klanberis" but the Talyllyn is more commonly pronounced as "Talythlyn". double D is like "th". Minffordd on the Ffestiniog rly is something like "minvorth". Ddu is "thi", waunfawr is like "wine-vower". Machynlleth on the Corris rly is something like "mak-in-kleth"

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8 hours ago, Paul H Vigor said:

"Newbottle is an Anglo-Saxon name and the village as a settlement dates from pre-Norman times. The place-name ending “bottle” (meaning dwelling or small settlement) is found in other settlements in the north east. ... Newbottle is the only one in Tyne & Wear and formerly within the boundary of County Durham." :)

I went to school in Walbottle.  The "Wal" is an old wall that runs through the school grounds and stretches all the way from the Solway to Wallsend, and it was built by the military a couple of thousand years ago to keep them Durham lot out of Northumberland. 

 

Bottle is indeed commonly part of place names in the north east where the military tended to attract female "camp followers" and the term derives as I understand it from the same source as brothel.

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Many place names occur more than once across the country and sometimes close by, there is a Wath north of Ripon in North Yorkshire and a few miles west beyond Pateley Bridge another famed for being on the Nidd Valley Light Railway and which tries to differentiate itself as Wath in Nidderdale. Elsewhere in North Yorkshire there is, just south of Northallerton, Londonderry which most people would expect to be on Northern Ireland.

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One resource that is helpful is the large scale mapping from the National Library of Scotland (which covers England and some parts of Wales as well). This goes down to farm names which might be the nearest habitation to a possible station/location on a route. When I built Balbeggie Sidings that took its name from the nearest farm. 

 

If I am developing an idea, I tend to sketch out a rough route of a line, then have a look at what names are available nearby. Local landowners often had stations built as concessions to the railway using their land so I keep an eye out for big houses, estates etc. as these would often be used to name the station, even if a little distant from the line itself.

 

I have certainly found that scrutiny of large scale maps can led to more naturally suitable names as someone has already done the work for you. I used this for my Auchenreoch layout which was based on the existing Inchbare Station, but as it wasn't an actual model of the location I wanted to change the name. On the map the station is of course shown as Inchbare but right above it in large lettering is Auchenreoch. Job done!

 

Edited by sulzer27jd
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I think that carefully choosing a name can help to place a layout (a bit like using a bus on a bridge). 

For example in Devon and Cornwall there are many 'St' names, like St Austell or Ottery St Mary.

 

One of my very early posts on this forum that I made some years ago I made the point about a well known layout (Charmouth) and how it instantly made me think of Devon. Of course Charmouth is a few miles inside Dorset - oops!

 

cheers

 

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20 hours ago, sir douglas said:

our club had an O16.5 layyout based on Tywyn Wharf on the Talyllyn, and it was named Eastgate wharf, here in Wakefield, there is a Northgate, Westgate and a Southgate but no Eastgate.

According to Roger Daltrey, ‘the north side of my town faced east and east was facing south’.  

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I chose my station's name using the river which a portion of the Midland Manchester line ran near - the Derwent. It was also the name of a village which the Duke of Devonshire had demolished so he could have views on his Chatsworth estate and as the track layout is base on Buxton Midland, a spa town, it had to be Derwent Spa (Midland).

 

Edensor was Derwent's replacement.

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