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TV Names: Upstairs, Downstairs & Downton

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At last, at last, the third season of Downton Abbey has finally launched, a further opportunity for those of us who love vintage British names to spend time with the Crawley clan et al.  We’re now lucky enough to have had two recent TV period imports with great examples of character names, both for the aristos upstairs and the servants below.  The time frame of both Downton Abbey and the recently updated Upstairs, Downstairs is the early decades of the twentieth century: Downton now picks up in 1920; the second series of Upstairs in 1936, six years after the initial one ended.

And if there seems to be a preponderance of girls’ names, it’s because so many of the male characters, both upstairs and down, have such common names as Thomas, Robert, Matthew, William, Joseph and John.

Here are some of the most interesting names in both series; and it’s worthy of note that the British TV names that are being revived today come equally from both social strata, as in, for example, Isobel and Ivy, Edith and Elsie.

UPSTAIRS CHARACTERS

AgnesUpstairs, Downstairs

BlancheUpstairs, Downstairs

CasparUpstairs,Downstairs—Caspar Landry is a Jewish outsider character

CoraDownton Abbey

EdithDownton Abbey

Evelyn (male)—Downton Abbey

HallamUpstairs, Downstairs—A titled character, born in India

IsobelDownton Abbey

KieranDownton AbbeyKieran Branson is, not surprisingly, an Irish character

LaviniaDownton Abbey

LotteUpstair, Downstairs

MaudUpstairs, Downstairs

PersephoneUpstairs, Downstairs—more commonly known as Lady Persie

PortiaUpstairs, Downstairs

RosamundDownton Abbey

SybilDownton Abbey

VeraDownton Abbey

VioletDownton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs

DOWNSTAIRS CHARACTERS

BerylDownton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs

ClariceUpstairs, Downstairs

DaisyUpstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey

ElsieDownton Abbey

Ethel—Downton Abbey

EuniceUpstair, Downstairs

IvyDownton Abbey & Upstairs, Downstairs

MarigoldDownton Abbey

RubyUpstairs, Downstairs

Warwick—Upstairs,Downstairs

For a look back at the original 1971 -75 Upstairs, Downstairs series, which spanned the years from 1903 to 1930, here are some of the Upstairs names used:

Dolly

Georgina

Hazel

Hamish

Henrietta

Julius

Marjorie

Prudence

Virginia

And then there are the surnames, heard on the three series, that might be conceivable firsts:

Bates

Bellamy

Branson

Bryant

Carson

Crawley

Dillon

Hale

Harris 

Holland

Hudson

Hughes

Landry

Morris

Pearce

Thackeray

Wallace

Do you think any of these names have influenced baby naming?  Could the lovely Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) help revive the name Mary?  What’s your favorite upstairs and downstairs name?

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