Your RDA of Irony

Name-Dropping and Adding

Melbourne, Australia was named for the British Prime Minister at the time: William Lamb. And Australia has been known for its sheep ever since.

However, since the British are status conscious, Lamb (1779-1848) is better known by his title: Lord Melbourne. (Actually, Viscount Melbourne would have been the name sewed in his underwear when he was at Cambridge.) His father was the intriguingly-named Peniston Lamb, Lord Melbourne. However William apparently inherited only his dad’s title because Mrs. William flagrantly cheated on her husband. She had a notorious affair with Lord Byron–exhausting and intimidating the omnisexual poet.

Lord Melbourne was Prime Minister from 1835 to 1841. And he finally found a woman who appreciated him. She was a shy, awkward teenager named Victoria who found herself in a complicated and very public job. The kindly Melbourne guided and encouraged a grateful Victoria. She would think him as a father-figure, and would remember him as one of her two favorite prime ministers (the other being the charming Disraeli).

I don’t know of any town named for Disraeli, although it would be appropriate for a suburban development on Chicago’s North Shore.

  1. Hal Gordon says:

    Maybe in your next post you’ll tell us how Adelaide got its name.

  2. Hal,

    Why would I want to discuss a perfectly respectable person?

    In fact, I have talked about Queen Adelaide in a previous pedantic:


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