Back to Midtown

Regular readers of 66000 may recall a piece about the launch of the inmidtown brand identity. I am not a fan. It’s good to help people understand more about what’s on offer in this underappreciated part of London, but why smear a fake brand identity over three historically rich areas – Bloomsbury, St Giles and Holborn? Writing in The Telegraph, Robert Colvile responded to the initiative like this:

‘“Midtown” is the geographical equivalent of Nick Clegg’s plans for the Lords: an act of moronic vandalism that sweeps away centuries of history in favour of something shiny and soulless. But let them try it. From King Lud to Red Ken, the mighty have attempted to leave their mark on our capital. Sometimes, if we’re feeling very charitable indeed, we actually let them.’

I’m not against new names for areas. I don’t insist on calling our capital Londinium, for example. I remain unruffled that some people have abandoned Fitzrovia (itself a neologism in the 1940s) for Noho. I even leave my metaphorical revolver unmolested when people refer to Silicon Roundabout. I just feel Midtown – which works perfectly in north America – is out of place in London.

The new gotomidtown banners haven’t done much to soften that feeling. If you wish to promote the area’s links with great writers (OK, good writers when on form), you have to do better than this:

The Bloomsbury Set, based in the area included Virginia Woolf and E.M. Forster.

It doesn’t even make sense. The AWOL comma aside, the copy reads like something a cheap content farm would produce for an awful listings magazine’s website for students with English as a third language. May Woolf’s ashes rise from the garden at Monk’s House and catch in the throat of whoever produced that banner copy, until they write something worthy of the area.


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