How Brixton got its name

Did you know each London Tube station has a unique design? Many have patterns worked into the tiles that reference the name of the area, or a local legend. So Regent’s Park station is all about the greenery, Oxford Circus features a maze, and Baker St station has Sherlock Holmes silhouetted in the tiles:

Brixton Station, however, in South London, really puts you wrong. Based on this design you’d think the name had something to do with ‘town of bricks’ – or even ‘tonne of bricks’ – yet in reality the name is far more interesting and ancient.

Modern Brixton has strong associations with David Bowie, who was born there…

…with Mohommed Ali, whose visit in 1974 drew such huge crowds of adoring fans that the place came to a standstill…

…And even Vincent Van Gogh gets a look in (he lived in Brixton as a young man)…

But in ancient times Brixton was all about one guy: The Saxon lord Brixi. He’s believed to have erected a standing stone that marked a gathering place where his clan chieftains would meet – think of Ned Stark summoning his bannermen and you’ll not be far off. So anyway, Brixi’s Stone became ‘Brixistane’, which became Brixton, and the place where the great stone stood is now known as – you guessed it – Brixton Hill.

So there you have it. Full marks to Transport for London’s pun-inspired tiles though.


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