Who do they think I am?

Who am I?

In the past few days, I have received correspondence addressed to:

Professor Lord Norton of L

N. O. F. Louth

Mr Norton O. Louth

Mr Louth

I know software has enabled mass mailings, but some organisations do seem to have problems coping with anything out of the ordinary.

At least I know who I am.  I think.

UPDATE: I caught the train last night to London.  My ticket has my name as PROF L LOUTH.

About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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29 Responses to Who do they think I am?

  1. Jonathan says:

    At least they have spelt the parts of your name correctly that they’ve included. When my father was a school teacher, one year we counted 12 incorrect spellings of his name amongst the Christmas cards he received from his class.

    I seem to remember a previous Lord Chancellor called you both Lord North and Lord Norton of Looth on occasions.

  2. ladytizzy says:

    N. O. F. Louth?

    Since panic buying of postage stamps has become news (whatever next?) I have been checking my mail to see who uses Royal Mail. So far, the only ones who have used other than Royal Mail is…the Government.

  3. franksummers3ba says:

    Mysterious Lord Norton Of Fine Louth and L,

    Perhaps this is progress of a kind. It does have a certain ring to it although the ring is presumably not you personal signet ring. I have no idea if my experience is relevant but in the days when I got a good bit of mail a computer would take so ordering of a part of my name, a membership designation or an honorific and create a new erroneous name. Then a whole group of other errors would follow for a year or so as this worked its way through the mailing list markets. Eventually this would include new inventions as the people in some groups sought to repair the patently absurd combinations they had been presented with in some mailing list purchase or referral.

    • Lord Norton says:

      frankwsummers3ba: Indeed, I suspect some of the mangled names have come through the name being passed on from one body to another, each with different software, and the first having got it wrong in the first place.

  4. maudie33 says:

    What’s important to me is, I know who I am, but, nobody else does!

  5. I worked in a call centre for a while and actually came across a couple of peers with their titles mangled in the inflexible pro forma we are forced to use. I’m afraid these systems are simply not up to the task. It’s all ‘title’, ‘forename’ (can’t say Christian name any more) and ‘surname’. Quite how one renders a hereditary peer using that is anyone’s guess. I did come across a certain viscount (whom I’m legally unable to name) whose forename was down as ‘Viscount’ and his title was his surname but the prompter still wanted me to address him as ‘Mr’.

    • Lord Norton says:

      A. P. Schrader: Thanks for that. I encounter some of those problems when filling in online forms. I do, as a result, get some material addressed to Mr Lord Norton of Louth.

  6. Princeps Senatus says:

    A large part of the reason for the issue you mention is because the software is designed by Americans, for whom titles would not have been a concern.

    Indeed, there is often subtle in-built prejudice in software and indeed other procedural documentation. For instance, documentation required in many countries in Arabia require a father’s (or husband’s) name as a part of the person’s name, because it is thus in Arabia. Were they to design our software, I’m sure that it would have required the relevant male’s name in the system.

    @Lord Norton,
    Could I request you to persuade your noble colleague, Lord Selsdon, to look at at respond to this post? He is extremely eloquent on this very topic and has asked some questions in the House that the Leader Lord Strathclyde, (otherwise Thomas Galbraith) could not respond to in detail.

    I will attempt to locate links to the Hansard excerpts for those questions, but I would look forward, with relish, to his comments were you to succeed in tempting him to respond to this post.

    P.S.: I recall that this particular pet-topic of his was mentioned in the Evening Standard a while ago (definately in the last two years).

  7. Princeps Senatus says:

    Here’s the link to the Evening Standard article on Lord Selsdon.


  8. Edward Brunsdon says:

    Lord Louth of Norton St Philip


  9. Chris K says:

    What’s the formatting on your passport and driving licence?

    I imagine the new(ish) Euro-format photocard is most certainly not designed for non-standard name fomats. But maybe an old paper one had a bit more leeway.

  10. Princeps Senatus says:

    The reason that I ask is because I have a disagreement with the House of Lords Information Office. They have advised me that the appelation “The Right Honourable” is reserved for Privy Counsellors, even in the House of Lords. Thus a peer not sworn of the Council is, in their opinion, not entitled to that appelation.
    My contention is that it is applicable to all members of the Privy Council and the House of Lords (of the rank of Earl, Viscount and Baron i.e. all but two in the current House of Lords).
    I would be interested in your opinion.

    • Croft says:

      I must admit this issue puzzles me. Peers for centuries used and had applied to them ‘The Right Honourable’. Search the London gazette for ample evidence. So I’m puzzled as to what G V could possible have to do with it?

      • Lord Norton says:

        Croft: I have not had a chance to explore the claim, but the style has certainly been employed for some time.

      • JH says:

        The HLIO’s stance is puzzling. I thought peers (below Dukes) used the suffix PC to distinguish those sworn from those who were Right Hon by virtue of the title (Dukes being Most Noble and Marquesses Most Hon and the suffix being redundant for most other people). Perhaps the reform agenda is sweeping through there too.

        I see that Peers’ Letters Patent do not seem to use the the style (if style it is) at all and I had thought the Right Honourable applied to the title rather than the personal name but following Croft’s reference to the London Gazette, and Lord Norton’s passport entry, I can see that isn’t the case.

        To add to the non-PC Right Hons, some prestigious Lord Mayors take the honorific such as Cardiff (granted on 26th October according to the London Gazette) as did, when it existed, the Chairman of London County Council – the honour being granted by George V on 31 May 1935 to ‘mark the occasion of his silver jubilee (‘Royal Guests Of L.C.C. – The Queen At The County Hall – Honour For Chairman’ The Times (Jun 01, 1935, pg. 16)).

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