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'The Shard'? It Could Have Been Worse

"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)

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.

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