This thread was originally written and published in May 2018. It has been lightly edited and corrected as applicable for this post.
The Toponymy (etymology of place names) for Scottish Railway Stations; makes you think about folk getting all hot under the collar about bilingual station signs.
I thought that this will be an interesting one to map out. So I did. The sources used are noted in the graph below.
This is a useful reference tool for when playing @gaelicbingo with the “never spoken here” lot. I’ve had a bash importing in to a Google My Map, so you can all have a look and turn layers on/off
And if anyone fancies filling in a few gaps, I couldn’t find a reliable reference for the root of these place names…
- Coatbridge (Central & Sunnyside)
- Priesthill & Darnley
And a few more unusual railway station names include IBM (I believe the only station in the UK which has an acronym for a name), Singer (after the Sewing Machine works) and a couple of biblically rooted names like Jordanhill.
There was a 17th and 18th century thing for giving out fanciful names from the bible. See also Joppa, Canaan, Egypt and Jordan in Edinburgh (Portobello and last 3 in Morningside areas)
Back to the map. Brittonic appears mainly across the lowland river valleys and up the east coast. No surprises there.
Norse, unsurprisingly, is mainly in the northeast
English across the central belt (this is old, middle and modern. Generally, where English appears in the Gàidhealtachd, it’s a modern origin. The Victorians weren’t averse to renaming places to give a more suitable Anglicised station name (see also Tayport)
Scots mainly appears in the lowlands too. It seems to depend on the source author’s preference if a place is classified as being of a Scots or Old English root. I’ve not tried to put my own interpretation on this, just gone with the source.
And Gaelic appears where you might expect it to (people are always surprised just how many stations there are in the Highlands), and heavily around Glasgow and the west coast. Which is why it’s so well represented in station names.
Anyway, do have a look (Scottish Railway Station Toponymy – Google My Maps) you can toggle the layers on and off (worth doing where there may be a compound derivation) and click on points to get station name.
In May 2018 an article was published in The Scotsman newspaper based on this map and the data behind it. They managed to get my name wrong in it…
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