Traditional names are making a comeback. NATALIE WALKER meets five families who went ‘old school’ when deciding upon names for their babies.
“What’s in a name?” Shakespeare asks. Just as his famous line in Romeo and Juliet is a timeless classic quoted over and over, some names live on, whilst others disappear as quickly as they were created.
Monikers like William, Thomas, Robert, Harry, Sarah, Ann, Emma and Elizabeth have stood the test of time.
But others, like Ralph, Walter, Frank and Albert, or Florence, Ethel, Martha and Nellie are not heard in many playgrounds today.
However, it seems there is a resurgance of old fashioned baby names.
Laura and Ian Walmsley, of Hoghton, opted for Oscar Walter for their second son who was born last April.
The traditional theme runs through their family, as their first-born is called Oliver Michael.
Laura, 33, said: “We chose Oscar because we loved the name and thought it went really well with Oliver. Ian’s grandad was called Walter and we liked it, Ian wanted Walter for his first name, but I said no, as I wasn’t brave enough.
“We chose Oliver because we liked it and we thought it was quite a strong name. It doesn’t really go out of fashion ever. His second name is after my grandad, which has been passed down to my brother. Ian’s brother’s middle name is also Michael.”
As a school teacher, Joanna Robinson, of Lostock Hall, found picking a name quite hard, as many reminded her of her pupils.
So going back in time seemed a perfect place to find inspiration and Sebastian was selected.
Joanna, who is 32, said: “As a high school teacher, the decision to name our unborn child was always going to be a challenge.
“Not wanting to choose a ‘common’ name or one which reminded me of previous pupils, I already had a small pool of names to choose from.
“We chose Sebastian because, as one doctor’s receptionist remarked, it was a ‘proper’ name, but we also loved Seb for short.
“I’ve always liked names which can be adapted throughout a child’s life. Seb seemed trendy enough for a youngster growing up, but Sebastian seemed more professional for when he’s a grown adult.
“I was prepared for people to think it was an unusual name, but we’ve actually had a lot of positive comments about it. And with friends like Noah, Theo and Emmett, we knew he’d be in good company.”
When Emily Naylor, 26, of Walton-le-Dale, was pregnant, she read Roald Dahl’s books and thought Matilda Alice was the perfect choice.
She said: “I primarily chose Matilda because I love the book by Roald Dahl. I love to read and I hope Matilda will too, so the book has a strong message.
“I used to read Roald Dahl to her while I was pregnant and read Matilda to her when she was only weeks old and she’s grown into an amazing little character, full of life and mischief. She is a very extraordinary little girl with a name to match. And I love the fact her name is timeless and the book has made it even more so.
“Her middle name, Alice, has been in the family for generations and I just love it.”
Martha is another old-fashioned moniker which has been revived and is proving to be very popular.
Gina Fletcher, 33, of Walton-le-Dale, said: “We had always leaned towards traditional names and we needed something to go with Freddie who is Martha’s big brother.
“We had a couple of names and when Martha was born in January we were chatting to the midwives about the names and they said that they had loads of babies with the other name that we had chosen. So we decided on Martha which was Jonathan’s great grandma’s name.”
Louise Kennedy, also of Walton-le-Dale, has a 21-month-old daughter, Martha Jean.
She said: “I’ve always liked the name Martha, as I love the old names, and her middle name is after my mum.”