The BBC is in search of UK babies named Derek.
Alfie, Ruby, Archie, Jack, Evie, Florence, and Ava are all in fashion and conjure up nostalgic thoughts of working-class Britain between the wars.
But there are some names that seem immune to rehabilitation.
Derek is one of those names.
Derek, originally a short form of Theodoric, was brought to Britain during the Middle Ages by settlers from the Low Countries. Theodoric comes from a Germanic name meaning “ruler of the people.” (It’s not related to Theodore, despite the resemblance.)
The name Derek remained rare in Britain until the very end of the 1800s. Even as late as 1881, Great Britain only had 6 males named Derek and 15 named Derrick.
Yet in 1934 Derek was the 14th most popular baby name in England and Wales. In 1944 it had fallen to 27th in the list. In subsequent decades it fell from 37 to 43 before reaching 100 in 1974. It has not reappeared since.
In 2011, only 22 baby boys in England and Wales were named Derek. Even fewer were named Derrick (6) and Derick (3).
So far, the BBC has heard from just one UK parent — Lee Woollard of Luton, who welcomed a son named Derek in July. (Baby Derek is named after his great-grandfather Derrick.) Lee says:
We have had ‘interesting’ reactions to his name, some people like it while others look and say “are you serious?” or mistake it for Eric. The anaesthetist at our hospital said she had been working there 10 years and it’s the first one she had seen delivered.
If you know any other UK babies named Derek, forward this post (or the original article) to their parents!
Source: Redmonds, George. Christian Names in Local and Family History. Toronto: Dundurn, 2004.