Category: Eleanor Nickerson
By Eleanor Nickerson, British Baby Names Are Amelia and Alfie the most popular British A names? You would be forgiven for thinking so, but the answer depends on where you live. Scots would say it’s Ava and Alexander, while Northern Ireland would quote Aoife and Adam. Though we are all held together by common trends, each part of the UK has its own regional favourites. Sophie, for example, holds sway as the most popular S girls’ name in most of Britain except Wales, where Seren is favourite. Northern Ireland likes Finn better than Finley, and Scotland prefers Brodie to Benjamin.
Even though they didn’t make the top 20 list of names which had moved up the most in 2013, one thing I particularly noticed about the recent England and Wales data release was the number of “Dol” names that had shot onto the scene.
What names are quintessentially ‘British’?
I see this question a lot but it’s a hard one to pin down. Do we mean solely British in origin, or only British in use? When Prince George was born our media heralded it as a “quintessentially British” name — and why not? We’ve had numerous kings bear the name, and it’s even the name of the patron saint of England. But George was originally a Greek name, brought late into our Royalty by German Hanovarians. Ask many Americans and the first George they think of is Washington or Bush.
For me, the quintessentially British names are those which are very familiar to us as a nation, that have been or are currently popular, but are little used in America, Canada, Australia and other English-speaking countries. Names such as Nicola – our darling of the 70s – Darcy, Imogen, Poppy, Freya, Alfie, Jenson, Gareth, Alistair and Finlay.
It’s official! The number 1 names in 2013 for England and Wales were Amelia, for the third year running, and Oliver, last at #1 in 2010. Steep climbers Ava and Isla both made it to the Top 5 and Oscar and Poppy were in the Top 10 for the first time.
According to a study on baby name trends by the Office of National Statistics , the Prince George Effect on names has been so far overrated — though the names of royals Harry, William, and George all now rank in the Top 10 for boys.
Here is a list of the Top 30 names:
The major headline for British baby names in the last decade has undoubtedly been the rise of diminutives as given names. Alfie, Archie, Charlie, Tommy, Evie, Millie, Maisie and many others are boundless in our playgrounds as parents opt for cheerful and breezy short forms. But this phenomenon is certainly not confined to the English language — Wales has also been getting in on the act of reviving vintage pet forms and putting them ‘up front’ on birth certificates.