Stars of the silver screen inspire top girls' names

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The Independent Online

Names reminiscent of a bygone era, including Ruby, Millie and Grace, have made a comeback as favourite choices for modern parents.

The names, apparently inspired by turn-of-the-century actresses and singers including Grace Kelly, Gracie Fields and Ella Fitzgerald, as well as the suffragette Millicent Fawcett, are back in vogue, according to an annual survey by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

Ruby, another name dating back more than half a century, was the biggest riser among girls' names, shooting up the ONS list to 12th place, compared to its 45th position a year ago. Meanwhile, Olivia, which only entered the top five last year, knocked Jessica off the number one spot.

Floral names featured prominently this year, with Daisy, Poppy, Lily and Jasmine appearing among the top 50.

There was more consistency among the most popular boys' names in England and Wales, with Jack claiming the top position as the nation's favourite name for the 12th consecutive year.

The traditional choices Joshua, Thomas, James and Daniel led the list for boys, which was based on the registrations of 380,000 babies born in Britain this year.

A spokeswoman from the ONS said the list showed a marked return to " old-fashioned, girlie names" as well as more unusual choices such Erin, Keira, Madison and Scarlett.

But this could be put down to the celebrity cachet that many of these less traditional names carry, with the raised international profiles of actresses such as Scarlett Johansson and Keira Knightley, and the model Erin O'Connor.

The boy's name growing fastest in popularity was found to be Preston, with suggestions that the choice could have been inspired by the singer of The Ordinary Boys, who shot to fame by appearing on Celebrity Big Brother. It was the 304th favourite boys' name after being placed 1,650th last year.

There were three new entries in the girls' top 50 - Imogen, up 17 places to number 48, Sophia, up 13 to number 49 and Anna, which dropped out last year, but climbed back two places to number 50.

New boys' names to emerge in the top 50 this year included Muhammad, which climbed 12 places to number 44, while Mohammed rose one place to number 22, Noah climbed up five to number 46, Oscar went up seven to number 47, Lucas rose 10 places to number 48 and Rhys was also up 10 to number 49. Evie, at number 21, also gained popularity among girls' names as well as Freya, at number 23, and Poppy, at number 30.

In Wales, Megan remained the top girls' name while Dylan, Rhys, Ffion, Seren and Cerys were all in the top 10.

In Scotland, Jack and Sophie were the most popular names for new babies. Jack returned to dominate the list after replacing Lewis, last year's number one name, while Sophie retained its top spot for a second year in the girls' list.

The General Register Office for Scotland revealed that parents were not only choosing a diverse variety of names but also deciding to spell them differently, with combinations including Callum/Calum and Aimee/Amy.

In Northern Ireland, Katie topped the list for girls' names with Jack again coming in first place for boys.

The top 20 names


1 Olivia
2 Grace
3 Jessica
4 Ruby
5 Emily
6 Sophie
7 Chloe
8 Lucy
9 Lily
10 Ellie
11 Ella
12 Charlotte
13 Katie
14 Mia
15 Hannah
16 Amelia
17 Megan
18 Amy
19 Isabella
20 Millie


1 Jack
2 Thomas
3 Joshua
4 Oliver
5 Harry
6 James
7 William
8 Samuel
9 Daniel
10 Charlie
11 Benjamin
12 Joseph
13 Callum
14 George
15 Jake
16 Alfie
17 Luke
18 Matthew
19 Ethan
20 Lewis