Weird list. Apart from Phyllis and Myrtle (and maybe Gertrude) I don't see problems with any of these names. Gretchen is adorable! Mildred (although not my fav) has nickname Millie which is cute, Ethel and Blanche are quite pretty, and I know a very cute little Martha. Rose and Beatrice are just wrong to even mention here!
First thoughts: I doubt Barbara and Gertrude will ever come back into fashion but I wouldn't say 'never see them again'. Everything else is being used currently... no?
Next I thought I'd check my gut instinct against DarkGreener's name table (a name search engine for Britain with data going from 1996 - 2010) and tried the names listed here. I've included the most recent births available:
Martha - 714 in 2010.
Rose - 651 in 2010. (Interestingly, both Martha and Rose were Doctor Who companions…)
Beatrice - 492 in 2010.
Ruth - 103 in 2010.
Agatha – 40 in 2010.
Barbara - 32 in 2010. (wow!)
Gretchen - 6 in 2010.
Myrtle – 5 in 2010.
Opal - 5 in 2009.
Mildred - 4 in 2008.
Ethel - 3 in 2010.
Phyllis - 3 in 2010.
Blanche - 3 in 2009.
Gertrude - 3 in 2008. (only other mentions = 4 in 2006 and 3 in 1999)
Marge - no ranking
I was surprised I was wrong about Barbara!
Apparently Barbara is quite popular (in the top 100) in Poland (http://www.behindthename.com/top/name/barbara/pl), as well as Slovakia and Hungary. I remember hearing on Nameberry that there are quite a lot of Poles in Britain. Perhaps the large Eastern European population is keeping it higher in the charts.
Originally Posted by renrose
That's true, Maggie! There are lots of Polish people here... Let's take a stroll in Shepherd's Bush and see if we can spot some Barbara's...
Barbara in Polish can sound kind of glamorous (Var-vah-ra). In North American English, all I can picture is a middle-aged woman named Barb.
Originally Posted by ottilie
Haha. Now I'm imagining you, Otter, going round London pushing Roo in a buggy and shouting 'BARBARA?!' at the top of your voice.
Originally Posted by ottilie
Wow that's crazy! I love Beatrice and Rose... and definitely don't think they're going away!! Rosebud, maybe (my great grandmothers name). I think Hagar and Rhonda could make the list (although it'll take awhile for Rhonda not to be seen again).
I know five little girls under 5 named Beatrice. Five.
A couple of Agathas and an Ethel too.
And ROSE?! 'Never see again'? That is literally the most timeless name I can think of.
This was obviously written by somebody who doesn't know a huge amount about what's 'trendy' at the minute.
I can see why they would count Myrtle, Ethel, Barbara, Phyllis, Marge, Ruth, Gretchen and Gertrude out as being too dated, but the rest? What were they thinking? It's absolutely beyond me why Beatrice and Rose are on the list, and I definitely wouldn't count Agatha or Martha out either. I'm also secretly hoping for the return of Mildred.