Leirum Street, N1

Place Name

In 2013 residents in one half of Muriel Street woke up to discover that their address had been changed to Leirum Street. Leirum being Muriel backwards. Confused residents were told that it was no joke nor a mistake. It came following talks with the local residents’ association which had apparently complained that taxi drivers and delivery men were confused because Muriel Street was cut in half by a block of flats. It would also, said Islington Council, make it clearer to emergency vehicles to know which end of the road to go to. The Evening Standard quoted Kath Wardely, who has lived in the street for 16 years, as saying: “It is ridiculous and it looks like a big balls-up. I think they got the stencil the wrong way round and now they are trying to cover it up. It is giving me the giggles just thinking about it.” Her husband Ray said: “I have lived around here for more than 60 years and it has always been Muriel Street.” The Barnsbury Estate’s Tenant Management Organisation said it had requested the name change to make it less confusing for emergency services and visitors. Monika Baker said: “The main story here is that the emergency services did not know where to go. The name change and the choice was not random. It was a thought through and the organisation put out some form of consultation. Whether 100 per cent of the residents got a chance to respond I have no idea. The name wasn’t picked out of a hat like a rabbit – there was a process.” Prior to the post-war flats breaking it up Muriel Street ran all the way from Wynford Road to Copenhagen Street. Transposing a name is nothing new in street names, backslang was very popular in the 1920s and 1930s.

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