By Eleanor Nickerson
COMEBACK AWARD: ADA
Ada has made a comeback in a big way in Britain in 2018, and it is little wonder why. On the one hand, is it a Victorian darling with a short and sweet style, and on the other, it also makes a great twist on longstanding top 10 favourite Ava.
Familiar, yet a little bit different.
Not only did Ada surge up into the Top 100 for 2018 in Scotland (according to NRS provisional data) but the two main UK parenting sites that track baby name registrations — BabyCentre and Bounty – reported increases of 67 and 61 places respectively into their top 100 as well.
KEY STYLE: POCKET POWERHOUSES
For boys, short, high scrabble value names with crisp consonants have been all the rage.
Kit, Rex, Jax, Rafe and Quinn have littered UK birth announcements this year. Quinn shows unisex appeal as it is also rising for girls – reaching #98 in Scotland’s provisional top 100 for girls.
HOTTEST ERA: 1930S
Forget the 100 year rule, some Brits are pushing the envelope even further by reviving names of their grandparents’ generation.
Birth announcements this year have been full of previous 1930s UK favourites such as Eric, Robin, Walter, Sidney and Chester for boys, and Daphne, Betty, Dottie and Nellie for girls. We have even had the odd little Harold, Dennis and Roland.
BIGGEST INFLUENCE: ROYALTY AND SPORTING HEROES
With two royal weddings and two royal great-grandchildren, it was a busy year for the Queen in 2018. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third child, Prince Louis Arthur Charles, was born in April, followed by Lena Elizabeth, daughter of Zara Tindall, in June.
Louis has long been in the top 100 in England but has been in decline since its 2004 peak of #38. The spelling Louie, however, has seen a steady rise to #46 in 2017. Since the arrival of Prince Louis, the spelling Louis is making signs of a change in direction. Certainly, it has made a comeback to the Scottish top 100 in 2018, after it fell out in 2008, overtaking Louie.
Lena is perfectly on-trend for British parents being not only vintage choice, but also having the ever-so-stylish two syllables -a ending. It has appeared in many English birth announcements, and it broke into provisional Scottish top 100 for 2018, rising a whopping 55 places.
World Cup fever also gripped the nation this summer, with a surprising impact on baby names. BabyCentre have reported a rise in registrations for a number of names for the England football squad, including , Marcus (Rashford), Jamie (Vardy) and Jesse (Lingard) as well as Gareth for England manager, Gareth Southgate.
ON-TREND CELEB BABIES
As always, 2016 has seen a wide range of styles and trends in British celebrity baby names, from popular choices such as Isla Elizabeth Anne, Bonnie Raye and Delilah Ruby, to more off-beat choices like Hilda, Johnny and Allegra Portia.
Here are some celebrities whose choices fit current British trends:
Aurelia Honey – In January, former Sugar Babes member, Heidi Range welcomed her daughter Aurelia Honey. Aurelia is a rising favourite in Britain, following on from Aurora’s debut into the top 100 across Britain last year.
Axel Charles – Welsh Footballer, Gareth Bale and fiancée Emma welcomed their third child and first son, Axel, in May, joining big sisters Alba Violet and Nava Valentina. Thanks to its being pocket powerhouse, Axel is on a steep rise in Britain, but (as the Bale’s live in Spain) it also has pan-European appeal like his sister’s names.
Boo & Walt – Radio and former TV presenter Chris Evans and wife Natasha welcomed girl and boy twins Boo and Walt in September, joining their sons Noah (9) and Eli (6). Definitely avant-garde, both Boo and Walt nevertheless fit with the British fondness for twee vintage names and cute diminutives.
Cass Mac – With older brothers Kai, Klay and Kit, footballer Wayne Rooney and wife Coleen (nee McLoughlin) broke away from their K theme with the birth of Cass Mac Rooney in February. Despite not being spelled Kass, all four names fit the pocket powerhouse theme nicely. It has been reported that the middle name Mac honours Coleen’s family name.
Chiara Sapphire / Grayson Jax – 2018 was a good year for JLS babies, as former band mates Aston Merrygold and JB Gill welcomed new additions. Aston’s son was born in January with the very on-trend name Grayson Jax and JB named his daughter Chiara Sapphire – joining brother Ace Jeremiah – in September. Both Grayson and Jax are rising massively in Britain at the moment (both are in the Scottish top 100). The Italian Chiara is a low-ranker, but anglicised spelling Kiara is on a steep rise.
Cooper Alf – Like JLS, former members of the British band McFly also had a baby boom this year. Danny Jones and his wife Georgia welcomed Cooper Alf in January, combining the fashion for occupational surnames with vintage twee diminutives.
Later, Tom Fletcher’s son Max Mario joined big brothers Buzz Michelangelo and Buddy Bob in August. Both Buddy and Max not only share alliterative names, they both have a middle name from one of their grandfathers. Adding to the brood, Buzz, Buddy and Max’s cousin, Parker Jax (born to reality TV star Mario Falcone) followed in November.
Cruze Joshua – Ex on the Beach star Lillie Lexie Gregg and footballer Josh McEachran welcomed their first child in November and gave him the pocket-powerhouse choice of Cruze. This spelling is a rarity, but traditional Spanish Cruz has risen massively from obscurity since the birth of Cruz Beckham in 2005, and it continues to rise steeply.
Patricia Charlotte – Former football star Frank Lampard and TV presenter Christine Lampard (nee Bleakley) welcomed their first child together in September, a sister for Frank‘s daughter’s Luna and Isla. Patricia is the name of Frank‘s late mother, and the Lampards made the bold move of using this retro honour name in first place, rather than reserved for the middle spot.
Olympic diver, Tom Daley, also named his son, Robert Ray “Robbie Ray“ after his late father in June.
Truly Rose – British actor Tom Hopper welcomed daughter Truly in July, a sister for brother Freddie Douglas. Truly is rare in England and Wales but it has had regular use in recent years and has a delightfully retro feel thanks to the character Truly Scrumptious, played by Sally Ann Howes in the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.