Little Venice, London- one of at least four Little Venice's in Europe- was allegedly first given its name by no lesser man than Lord Byron. Unfortunately, Byron didn't mean it as a compliment, but as an insult to the real Venice.
'There would be nothing to make the canal of Venice more poetical than that of Paddington were it not for its artificial adjuncts,' he is reported to have said.
And Paddington is what Little Venice was once part of before real estate agents seized upon Byron's words, and the words of fellow poet Browning, to give the area its snazzy new name.
'Come Buy A Home In Your Very Own Little Venice'
Shortly after WW2, estate agents began to refer to the area as 'Little Venice', as means of selling houses. And who could blame them? Venice had canals, and so did Little Venice. Could they be any more alike?
In all seriousness, that's about as far as the similarities go. That is not to say, however, that Little Venice doesn't have it's own charms. It is a beautiful neighbourhood in its own right.
The Prehistory Of Little Venice
In the early 1800s, Paddington was little more than a village on the outskirts of London, but the area was soon to grow to prominence with the development of Regent's Canal. This was completed in 1816.
Not long after, a host of Georgian/Regency style buildings were built alongside it, later joined by the picturesque Rembrandt Gardens. Along with a large pool where the canal branches off in multiple directions, this forms the heart of the Little Venice of today. That is not to say, however, that there isn't a lot more going on besides it.
The Little Venice Of Today
There is a floating seafood restaurant, a canalside theatre, a plaque commemorating mathematician and codebreaker Alan Turing, a puppet theatre, and of course a whole host of colourful barges.
All in all it's a great place for a walk, a drink, a meal, a show or just a laugh at the audacity of estate agents throughout history.
Interested in finding more places like this? Try one of our Treasure Hunts in London - untangle cryptic clues as a team, as you are taken on a journey to the most unique, unusual and bizarre corners of London.
Or earn more about strange developments in major world cities in our posts on Culture House DC, Ditmas Park and Southmere Lake.