The most commonly mispronounced places in South London

Sylvia Johnson, Head of Methodology at language learning platform, Preply, has provided set the record straight on some of the capital’s pronunciation pitfalls.

A main reason we find these places so difficult to pronounce, Sylvia Johnson explained, is “historical linguistic evolution”.

Ms Johnson said: “Several place names often reflect a mix of old languages such as Old English, Norman, Norse, and Celtic, which have unique letter combinations that don’t follow typical pronunciation rules.

“Variations in local dialects also contribute to the complexity of pronouncing certain place names, which make them tricky to pronounce correctly even for English speakers who are unfamiliar with the region.”


One place that often trips people up is Erith in Bexley .

Despite its seemingly simple spelling, the correct pronunciation is “Ee-rith”, not “Eh-rith”.

Ms Johnson said: “The first syllable should be pronounced like ‘ee’ as in ‘see’, with the second half of the name rhyming with ‘myth’.”

Mayow Park

Next is Mayow Park in Lewisham .

Known formerly as Sydenham Recreation Ground, the ‘w’ at the end of the word is silent, often causing confusion.

Ms Johnson said: “It should actually be pronounced ‘May-oh’ – like the condiment!”

Magdalen Road

Magdalen Road in Earlsfield, Wandsworth, is another place that many often mispronounce.

Despite the spelling, the road name should be pronounced ‘Mawd-lin’, the silent ‘g’ tripping a lot of people up.


People also often slip up with the pronunciation of Carshalton in Sutton. 

This town should be pronounced ‘Car-shawl-tun’, rather than ‘Carsh-aual-ton’.

Ms Johnson said: “When pronouncing this picturesque town, the ‘shal’ in the middle of the word should sound like ‘shawl’ – like the garment.”

Cholmondeley Walk

Lastly – and perhaps most difficult – is Cholmondeley Walk in Richmond upon Thames.

Located along the world-famous River Thames, its spelling leads many to say ‘Chol-mon-del-ee Walk’ but it should actually be pronounced ‘Chum-lee’.

Ms Johnson explained: “This discrepancy is due to the name originating from old English and its subsequent evolution over time.”

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