IT’S blog-a-go-go on the puzzling attempts to re-brand that bit of London between King’s Cross and Holborn as a brand new place called: ‘Midtown’. You know where I’m talking about. Bloomsbury. Right there.
The idea comes from InHolborn, a business interest group looking to draw in more investment to a so-called ‘no man’s land’ between High Holborn and New Oxford Street. Boris Johnson is apparently backing the rebrand and hotels in the area are already marketing Midtown to American tourists.
Bloggers like The Guardian’s Dave Hill and Jane’s London have already raised the eyebrows on this. For me, it reminds me of two ultimately ill-fated attempts in Camden to conjure up a new name for existing neighbourhoods of London. Recently, there was NoHo – a northern Soho, if you will. That was based around the NoHo Square development on the site of the former Middlesex Hospital building, which was later abandoned as the credit crunch gripped. Estate agents had been the only people who were really using the label anyway. The one reminder of this short-lived name for the area is the plan to use the scorched land for allotments: a great idea which some residents suggested could be called ‘Grow-Ho‘.
Then there was the Camden Broadway project a few years back, dreamed up by earnest Labour councillors who wanted to brighten up the bit around Camden Road overground station. Rather hopefully, a kebab shop even opened called ‘..On The Broadway’. Sadly, as well-meaning as this attempt at re-branding a shabby crossroads was, all involved found that convincing people to start using a new name for area they’ve always known as just another bit of Camden Town is a tall order.
The kebab shop closed down after only a few months and whenever the name Camden Broadway is mentioned now, it’s in planning paperwork rather than in the talk in the cafes by the railway bridge.
There’s a bit more muscle down in Bloomsbury Midtown, but you still wonder if the new moniker will stick..