As the massive commercial and residential development on the former Royal Mail delivery centre in Fitzrovia nears completion, developer Great Portland Estates appears to have run out of ideas for street names.
The Rathbone Square development will have office space for Facebook, 142 private residential apartments, cafes, shops and restaurants surrounding a central square within 50 metres of Tottenham Court Road station.
Pedestrian walkways running through the site and linking Newman Street to Rathbone Place have now been labelled with those instantly recognisable and iconic vitreous enamel street signs.
There’s Rathbone Square, Rathbone Passage, and… Newman Passage.
But hang on a moment. Isn’t there already a Georgian alleyway further up the road called Newman Passage? Yes, there is. And it’s quite well known.
Westminster City Council’s guidelines — and commonsense — on street and building naming states that new street names should not duplicate any similar name already in use in the borough or neighbouring boroughs.
So we’re not quite sure what Great Portland Estates are getting at here. We’ll drop them a line and get back to you once we’ve understood the joke.
Update, 27 September 2017: Great Portland Estates got in touch to thank us for pointing out the mistake and said the signs would be replaced.
“The signs are incorrect and not approved and have been put up in error. They will be replaced with signs titled Rathbone Square which is the name approved by Westminster City Council,” said Piers Blewitt of Great Portland Estates.