Children’s Landscapes

What do children call the places that matter to them? 

Children invent all sorts of names for places that matter to them.  Some of these are simple and descriptive (‘the climbing tree’) – others can be exotic and adventurous (‘the South Pole’).  All of them are interesting but they are rarely written down and, amazingly, have never been systematically researched.

This project, led by Dr Jeremy Burchardt (P.H. Ditchfield Fellow at the Museum of English Rural Life), aims to collect examples of children’s invented place names.  If you recall any place names you or your friends invented in childhood, please complete the short form below. Read Jeremy’s introduction to the project here.

Restrictions on Submission

Please read the information below before submitting the form. 

  • Please do not submit photographs or videos 
  • Please do not include any identifiable information (e.g. surnames, addresses) in the written description 

This application has been reviewed by the University Research Ethics Committee and has been given a favourable ethical opinion for conduct.

If you have any questions about the research please email 


Who is doing the research?

The Children’s Landscapes research project is being conducted by Dr Jeremy Burchardt together with partners at the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL).  

What will happen to the material I upload?

We will conduct initial checks to ensure that the information uploaded is consistent with the restrictions on submission detailed above.  In particular, we will check that no identifiable information has been included, and will remove any that we find, to ensure we comply with Data Protection legislation.

If we have any questions we will contact you using the email address provided.

Once your uploaded information has passed these checks we will: 

  • add your materials to the Children’s Landscapes Archive, which will form part of the digital archives of The MERL 
  • store your email address in a separate secure document with a unique reference number that allows your materials to be identified by the research team.  

Once the project is complete, the Children’s Landscapes archive will be made accessible (see below). 

Who will have access to the Children’s Landscapes archive?

Our aim is to create an archive of children’s place names (toponyms) and associated contextual information so that researchers, historians and any interested members of the public or other groups, can access the collection. The aim is that the collection should be as open as possible and you should only upload materials that you are happy to be shared openly with a public audience.

Access to the MERL archives requires registration, although this is free and open to all. Users will be able to access this collection via both the physical and virtual reading rooms. Registration includes agreement to a data protection statement. See

Therefore anyone can request to see the archives and there will be limited controls regarding onward use. If you have a concern regarding your information you can contact us.

Do I have a right to withdraw?

Taking part in the research is entirely voluntary and you have a right to withdraw your materials up to the point where they are entered into the archive. If in the future you request to have the materials removed from the archive we would endeavour to support this request but it may not be possible if the materials form an important part of the collection.

Consent to participate

I agree to participate in the Children’s Landscapes project being conducted by Dr Jeremy Burchardt and the Museum of English Rural Life at The University of Reading. I have seen and read the Participants Information above and have been given the opportunity to ask questions about the study and these have been answered to my satisfaction. I understand that my email address will remain confidential to the Investigator and arrangements for the storage and eventual disposal of this information have been made clear to me. I understand that the materials shared by me in this study will be preserved and made available as part of the Children’s Landscapes archive at MERL, so that they can be consulted and re-used by others.

I understand that participation in this study is voluntary and that I can withdraw without having to give an explanation.