Old-fashioned names for babies make a comeback

Ray Deakin with baby Matilda Joan
Ray Deakin with baby Matilda Joan

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, while others disappear as quickly as they were created.

Craig Gavin with baby Ralph John

Craig Gavin with baby Ralph John

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 surge of old-fashioned baby names coming through.

Jennifer and Ray Deakin, of Pemberton, called their firstborn Matilda Joan. Jennifer, 34, said: “Joan was my grandmother’s name, and as she was no longer with us, it was something I wanted to do for her.

Joan was my grandmother’s name, and as she was no longer with us, it was something I wanted to do for her

Jennifer Deakin

“We like older names and we thought Matilda was a bit unusual. We have not come across many Matildas and for that reason we chose it.

“Also, we realised we could have a few variations, such as Tilly, Tilda and Mattie.

“We also didn’t want to pick a trendy name that would go out of fashion. We wanted something timeless and classic.”

Craig Gavin and Roxanne Spencer, of Hindley, opted for Ralph John. Craig, 32, said: “We were looking through lots of baby name books and trawling through the internet. We found that a lot of names were still going round.

Adrian Lowe and Lucy Levick with baby Bertie Edward

Adrian Lowe and Lucy Levick with baby Bertie Edward

“We were looking for something less common, but not dated. Walter and Geoff are a bit old fashioned, but dated.

“We thought about Rupert, but it didn’t fit very well.

“When we came across Ralph it seemed to fit.

“I was not 100 per cent sure until we saw him. I was not sure, but the name seemed to grow on him. I didn’t realise how uncommon it was until people said they don’t know of many Ralphs.

“It is not easy naming a child, as you don’t want them to be bullied at school.

“We didn’t have any family members we wished to name our child after, so we came up with Ralph through research and elimination.”

Adrian Lowe, 31, of Marsh Green, was planning on naming his firstborn Beatrice, after his late grandmother. But as he was a boy, a compromise of Bertie was found.”

His middle name is Edward, also an old-fashioned name, which means he coincidentally bears the name of the hospital in which he was born – The Albert Edward.

Mum Lucy Levick, 27, said: “We didn’t choose Bertie for a traditional reason, but because Adrian wanted to use his late grandmother’s name.

“When we found out we were having a boy, we thought Bertie was the closest and it was a coincidence that it was also a traditional name.”