This chunk of American Suburbia is named after London’s tube stations for no apparent reason

This wholesome American suburban home, which for no obvious reason is on Regents Park Circle. In America. Image: Google Maps

It turns out that pound isn’t the only sterling worth watching if you’re a worldly-minded Brit.

Sterling is a town in Virginia, in the US, about a 45-minute drive away from Washington, D.C (as measured from the White House, because why not).

And while it has several claims to fame – part of Washington Dulles International Airport sits within its boundaries; former US President James Buchanan had a summer house there; it used to be one of the many US towns that explicitly only allowed whites to live there pre-1960s – it has one quirk that is most interesting from a CityMetric point of view..

In one corner of the town, between the Walmart and the centre-of-town shopping mall, is a cluster of streets named after tube stationsAs in: the stations on the London Underground (and, indeed, Overground) network.

Click to expand. Literally, no joke. Image: Google Maps

You can turn right off Blossom Drive onto Waterloo Station Square, which has a pretty array of colourful, multi-storey, terraced houses, and then continue across the Cabin Branch brook to the intersection of Regents Park Circle and Paddington Station Terrace.

The charming houses of Waterloo Station Square. Image: Google Maps.

The left turn onto Regents Park Circle will then take you past Victoria Station Drive, Cheswick Park Court (as in, Chiswick Park, but they spelt it wrong), Ruislip Manor Way, Turnham Green Court, Ladbroke Grove Court and Tottenham Hale Court.

Regents Park Circle here, obviously. Image: Google Maps.

And down Paddington Station Terrace you can turn left onto Mornington Crescent Terrace, which connects up with Willesden Junction Terrace (I mean, really, of all the stations to choose), take a later left onto Brondesbury Park Terrace (hello, Overground, don’t quite know what you’re doing here).

This is Tottenham Hale Court. Of course it is. Image: Google Maps.

Or pull into the cul-de-sac of Wembley Central Terrace for a quick, quiet, in-car cry because honestly WHY are these roads named after tube stations.

I would say it’s some kind of train-themed neighbourhood – there’s Livingstone Station Street, Railway Terrace, Locomotive Terrace, Conductor Terrace, and Grand Central Square all in the area – but then there’s randomly an Indian Summer Terrace just across the way from Wembley Central Terrace.

Where Regents Park Circle meets Turnham Green Court. Image: Google Maps.

Seriously, though, this is about as weird as weird gets, and if anyone knows the answer to this one, please do let us know.


In the meantime, we’ll just sit here like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and see if there are any cheap flights to Washington going for a cheeky pilgrimage.

If you’re after something cheaper, though, there’s a small clump of streets in Amsterdam named after airports – namely Gatwickstraat (London Gatwick, obviously), La Guardiaweg (New York’s La Guardia), and Changiweg (Singapore Changi airport, god amongst airports).

What a world. 

(Hat tip: Oliver O'Brien of UCL.)

Jack May is a regular contributor to CityMetric and tweets as @JackO_May.

Want more of this stuff? Follow CityMetric on Twitter or Facebook.

 
 
 
 

A growing number of voters will never own their own home. Why is the government ignoring them?

A lettings agent window. Image: Getty.

The dream of a property-owning democracy continues to define British housing policy. From Right-to-Buy to Help-to-Buy, policies are framed around the model of the ‘first-time buyer’ and her quest for property acquisition. The goal of Philip Hammond’s upcoming budget – hailed as a major “intervention” in the “broken” housing market – is to ensure that “the next generation will have the same opportunities as their parents to own a home.”

These policies are designed for an alternative reality. Over the last two decades, the dream of the property-owning democracy has come completely undone. While government schemes used to churn out more home owners, today it moves in reverse.

Generation Rent’s new report, “Life in the Rental Sector”, suggests that more Britons are living longer in the private rental sector. We predict the number of ‘silver renters’ – pensioners in the private rental sector – will rise to one million by 2035, a three-fold increase from today.

These renters have drifted way beyond the dream of home ownership: only 11 per cent of renters over 65 expect to own a home. Our survey results show that these renters are twice as likely than renters in their 20s to prefer affordable rental tenure over homeownership.

Lowering stamp duty or providing mortgage relief completely miss the point. These are renters – life-long renters – and they want rental relief: guaranteed tenancies, protection from eviction, rent inflation regulation.

The assumption of a British ‘obsession’ with homeownership – which has informed so much housing policy over the years – stands on flimsy ground. Most of the time, it is based on a single survey question: Would you like to rent a home or own a home? It’s a preposterous question, of course, because, well, who wouldn’t like to own a home at a time when the chief economist of the Bank of England has made the case for homes as a ‘better bet’ for retirement than pensions?


Here we arrive at the real toxicity of the property-owning dream. It promotes a vicious cycle: support for first-time buyers increases demand for home ownership, fresh demand raises house prices, house price inflation turns housing into a profitable investment, and investment incentives stoke preferences for home ownership all over again.

The cycle is now, finally, breaking. Not without pain, Britons are waking up to the madness of a housing policy organised around home ownership. And they are demanding reforms that respect renting as a life-time tenure.

At the 1946 Conservative Party conference, Anthony Eden extolled the virtues of a property-owning democracy as a defence against socialist appeal. “The ownership of property is not a crime or a sin,” he said, “but a reward, a right and responsibility that must be shared as equitable as possible among all our citizens.”

The Tories are now sleeping in the bed they have made. Left out to dry, renters are beginning to turn against the Conservative vision. The election numbers tell the story of this left-ward drift of the rental sector: 29 per cent of private renters voted Labour in 2010, 39 in 2015, and 54 in June.

Philip Hammond’s budget – which, despite its radicalism, continues to ignore the welfare of this rental population – is unlikely to reverse this trend. Generation Rent is no longer simply a class in itself — it is becoming a class for itself, as well.

We appear, then, on the verge of a paradigm shift in housing policy. As the demographics of the housing market change, so must its politics. Wednesday’s budget signals that even the Conservatives – the “party of homeownership” – recognise the need for change. But it only goes halfway.

The gains for any political party willing to truly seize the day – to ditch the property-owning dream once and for all, to champion a property-renting one instead – are there for the taking. 

David Adler is a research association at the campaign group Generation Rent.

Want more of this stuff? Follow CityMetric on Twitter or Facebook