I am now, legally, Charles Céleste Hutchins. (But you can keep calling me Les). I changed my name via a device called a statutory declaration. Rather than hiring a solicitor to draft the document, I used a web form at Press for Change and added a spot at the bottom for me to sign. I printed it out and then called around Solicitors in my area. One of them told me to just pop by.
A woman there looked at the form and had me sign it in front of her. My signature is wonky as I've never signed "Charles" before. Then, she she asked me to raise my right hand and swear that the contents of the form were true and correct, so I did so, feeling kind of goofy. She then filled out her part and stamped it. I paid £7 for this, which is apparently the going rate.
There are several ways you can change your name in the UK, but this kind is the only one recognised by the US embassy. I also need to show that I've been using the new name, so I called my phone company and will need to mail or fax them a copy of the form. Tomorrow, I'll go to my bank for a new checque book and then my GP for a new NHS card. Those three documents should be enough for me to get a new passport with my new legal name. I will also need to inform my university and documents that they send me would also count for the embassy.
This is a lot easier than changing at home would have been. I'm quite pleased.