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British Baby Names 2013: The next big things

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Eleanor Nickerson, of the wonderful blog British Baby Names, offers her predictions of the names that will succeed today’s trendiest in England and Wales.

The Next Olivia

Olivia was the supreme queen of girls’ names in 2008, 2009 and 2010 in England and Wales, and was only marginally beaten by Amelia to the number 1 spot in 2011. It entered the Top 100 for the first time in the late 1980s, and has been in the Top 10 since 1999. Further down the ranks, Eliza stands at #62.  Like Olivia before, Eliza has not ranked in the Top 100 for a century, but is now steadily rising.

The Next Amelia

Quite a stir was caused earlier this year when it was announced that Amelia was the most popular girls’ name of 2011. In hindsight, we perhaps should have seen it coming, considering its Top 10 status for four years, but Amelia’s rise has not only been steady, it was also stealthy . Look further down the ranks and unassuming Florence (who appears in the illustration with her father, PM David Cameronis following much the same pattern.  After only three years in the Top 100, Florence has quietly risen to #43.

The Next Ruby

Ruby is another name that is no stranger to the top spots, managing to bag the Number 1 spot in 2007, and second place in 2008 and 2009. Its popularity swelled rapidly, thanks in part to characters on popular TV series Cutting It and Eastenders, and Ruby’s sweetly-sassy vintage style.  Similarly styled Lola is the perfect successor, as Ruby (now #7) slowly begins to decline. Lola sits at #31, the same position Ruby occupied in 2004, and it too is rising.

The Next Evie

It’s no secret that Brits love diminutive –ie names. Indeed, they are so well established that many have moved completely away from their pet-name past. Evie, at #11, is the highest ranking girls’ name that still proudly retains its sweet diminutive-style.  Its most likely successor comes in the form of an old Scottish pet-name for Elizabeth.  Elsie was a new entry to the Top 100 last year at #87 and, like Evie, it’s been on a steep incline over the last decade.

The Next Poppy

Floral favourite Poppy has been in the Top 100 in England and Wales for over 15 years. It is now #14, its highest rank to date, and could easily be in the Top 10 soon. Willow was new to the Top 100 in 2011 (rising 37 places to #75) but, given its steep upward curve so far, looks set to storm the top ranks over the next decade.

The Next Isla

Since it hit the Top 100 in 2006, sleek Scottish darling Isla has been a big hit. It’s now at its highest rank of #15, and still rising. Another similar-sounding Scottish gem, Esme (#72), is also on the upswing.

The Next Freya

Freya isn’t British in origin – we shamelessly lifted it from the ancient Norse pantheon – but our shores are where the name flourishes more than in any other country in the world. Last year it was #19, the highest rank of its fourteen years in the Top 100. Like Freya, Maya is an exotic import, also taken from a goddess, which has the same bouncy syllables. It currently ranks at #58, almost the same position as Freya ten years ago.

The Next Alfie

Nine years ago, I remember watching local birth announcements in fascination as Alfie seemed to pop up everywhere. The sudden spike that year (from #49 in 2002 to #17 in 2003) was mostly thanks to a new character on Eastenders, Alfie Moon, putting the name in a prime-time slot. Since then, this happy chap has become a firm favourite in England and Wales, and currently ranks at #4. Equally endearing Bobby has only been in the Top 100 for the last two years but already it’s at #76, and has been noticeably visible in this year’s birth announcements.

The Next Ethan

Ethan (#11) started making waves in Britain in the 1990s, inspired by Hollywood actor Ethan Hawke, and Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible.  Two new celebrity-inspired names entered the Top 100 for the first time in 2010, and both are on a steep upward curve. Jenson (#67) is inspired by British F1 racing driver Jenson Button; Dexter (#78) has been boosted by the US TV series and its use by British celebrities.

The Next Riley

Riley, of all the boys’ names registered in England and Wales, saw the greatest rise in birth count in 2011. It increased by 1,536 births (from #25 to #13 – or #9 with combined spellings); more than double that of the runner up. It’s only been in the Top 100 for seven years, winning hearts with its Irish charm, surname pedigree, and fashionable –ley ending. Fellow Gael Finley (#34) fits the same profile, and it too is on the rise.

The Next Oscar

If you were looking for a name that feels both stately and jovial at the same time, Oscar would be your man. It’s certainly been a big hit in England and Wales over the past decade, rising steadily up from #90 in 2000 to #17 in 2011. Affable Arthur broke into the Top 100 in 2009 and has already reached #68 as he storms up the charts.

The Next Archie

Popular TV series Monarch of the Glen gave a hefty boost to the already rising Archie in 2000; and we Brits fell for its turn-of-the-century charm. A decade later, Victorian favourite Stanley (#80) is new to enjoy an upswing revival since it entered the Top 100 in 2009.

The Next Leo

Leo leapt into the Top 100 in 2002 and has been rising ever since. In 2011 it reached #27: its highest rank to date. Equally sleek Theo is hot on Leo’s heels at #50. It, too, has been continually rising since its debut in 2006. The best contender for their successor is steadily ascending Hugo, currently at #139.

The Next Freddie

Freddie is very much a rising star. Having entered the Top 100 in 2004, it has progressively grown to #42, and has not nearly reached its full potential yet. Another perky choice – Frankie (#84) – shot into the Top 100 for the first time last year and looks set to chase after Freddie’s success. Keep an eye out for Teddy, also. It is #156 at the moment, but is picking up speed rapidly.

Eleanor Nickerson, better known to nameberry message board visitors as Eleais a primary school teacher living in Coventry, England and author of the excellent, highly recommended blog British BabyNames

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