“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Why is Leyton Orient Called Leyton Orient?

Posted: November 26th, 2009 | 4 Comments »

I don’t know why this has never occurred to me before given that I’ve had a lifelong fascination with China and the Far East and am a Londoner – why is Leyton Orient Football Club called ‘Orient’? Well, the The O’s are the second oldest Football League club in London behind Fulham and the 24th oldest club currently playing in the Football League.

History books written on the Club by its Historian Neilson N Kaufman suggest that the choice of the name Orient came about at the behest of a player (Jack R Dearing) who was an employee of the Orient Shipping Company. The club’s name was changed again to Clapton Orient in 1898 to represent the area of London in which they played. However, some historians think the name Orient was simply chosen due to its oddity and has no connections to them being an East-End club. There are a few other theories too.

The Orient Shipping Company was acquired by the Peninsula and Oriental line in 1918 meaning that they gained control of the England-Australia mail route.

So now you know – that’s why Leyton Orient are known as Leyton Orient.


By the way – the dragons on the club’s crest are apparently not dragons but two wyverns . If, like me, you are ignorant of the history of wyverns, they are mythical creatures – half dragon, half serpent. These were chosen to highlight the ‘eastern mystery’ of the Orient and the club’s history with  the Orient Shipping Line.

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4 Comments on “Why is Leyton Orient Called Leyton Orient?”

  1. 1 Jimmy Wales said at 5:02 pm on November 26th, 2009:

    The wyvern symbol was introduced in 1976 and is believed to incorporate Orient’s links with the City of London (the wyvern is the symbol of the Thames, it is believed to be the defender of the Thames) and with the sea, through the old Orient Shipping Company.

  2. 2 OldChinaHand said at 11:36 pm on November 26th, 2009:

    Hi, Paul. I enjoy your posts, but am I missing something with this one? Why are Leyton Orient called Leyton Orient?

    You mention various theories, but no definitive answer.

  3. 3 Paul French said at 12:42 am on November 27th, 2009:

    the link is to the Orient shipping line that later became part of P&O

  4. 4 prettypenny said at 12:26 am on February 6th, 2019:

    Orient is East. Oriental is Eastern, Leyton is East 10 or E.10 Leyton is where Orients home ground is therefore why its called Leyton orient fc.

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