"The Shard," a $700 million office building in London set to open today in a blaze of laser-light, joins The Gherkin and The Wobbly Bridge in a long list of irreverent nicknames given by the British over the years to various buildings, structures and towns.
Although the The Shard, a towering 1,016-foot office building, gets its moniker from the building's Italian architect, Renzo Piano, he may have aimed to head off the likelihood of an even less flattering alternative.
The Telegraph notes that Piano "referred to it during the planning stages as a 'shard of glass.'" So, The Shard it is.
Still, it could have been much worse, as some place nicknames on this list will attest. Here's a small sample:
The Big Smoke - London
Where-Upon-Earth - Wath-upon-Dearne, South Yorks
The Wobbly Bridge - The Millennium Bridge, London
Amazingstoke - Basingstoke, Hants
Swindump - Swindon, Wilts
Stanford-No-Hope - Stanford-le-Hope in Essex
Old Men's Gardens - The Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London (home to the Chelsea Pensioners)
Smelly Alley - Union Street, Reading (because it is near the market)
The Gherkin - 30 St Mary Axe, in the City of London
The Drain - the Waterloo & City underground line in London
The Mutant Mile - Shirley High Street, Southampton
The Curry Mile - Wilmslow Road, Manchester (because of its Indian restaurants)
The Pregnant Pin - Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth
Sex Shop Hill - Fore Street, Exeter, Devon (location of the city's first sex shop)