London Trivia: Diary’s last entry

On 31 May 1669 bad eyesight forced Samuel Pepys to give up his diary. He was just 36 years old. It read ‘And thus ends all that I doubt I shall ever be able to do with my own eyes in the keeping of my journal, I being not able to do it any longer, having done now so long as to undo my eyes almost every time that I take a pen in my hand; and, therefore, whatever comes of it, I must forbear. . . all the discomforts that my being blind’

On 31 May 1915 a German bomb hit Stoke Newington, the dubious distinction of the first building attacked by a foreign power in 1,000 years

In May 1726 a stand erected at Tyburn collapsed as reviled Catherine Hayes was burnt at the stake six spectators predeceased her as a result

On 31 May 1859 the Great Clock on Big Ben started telling the time. The Great Bell and the quarter bells chimed later that year

Many Londoners died in the Black Death of 1348, it raged in London until spring 1350, and is generally assumed to have killed between one third and one half of the populace

Avenue House in High Holborn stands on the site of the First Avenue Hotel destroyed in WW2 below is built the first Atomic air raid shelter

The Savoy Hotel built by Richard D’Oyly Carte in 1889 on profits from Gilbert and Sullivan operas he produced at the adjoining Savoy Theatre

Old Bond Street predates New Bond Street by only 14 years and became popular after the Duchess of Devonshire boycotted smarter Covent Garden

Every July the Soho Waiters’ Race takes place, contestants run around the streets carrying a tray, a napkin, bottle of champagne and glass

In 1920 the world’s first passenger airport opened in Croydon adding the world’s first airport terminal and airport hotel 8 years later

The Ritz Hotel named after the great César Ritz although he never worked there, actually he was the first manager of the Savoy Hotel

St James’s Park is home to one example of every native waterfowl – the Swiss-style cottage is a hide and has a steam heater egg incubator

CabbieBlog-cab.gifTrivial Matter: London in 140 characters is taken from the daily Twitter feed @cabbieblog.
A guide to the symbols used here and source material can be found on the Trivial Matter page.

The color magenta

I think it has to be me, or at least my age, for I like to first express my thoughts on – shock – paper.

Using a propelling pencil, mine being a rather fine monogrammed Visconti Vincent van Gogh Starry Night Pencil, I can jot down ideas making alterations as I go along.

So why should I discuss this rather pointless snippet from my writing life?

Well, the manufacturers of the archetypal diary once beloved of the 1980s yuppies – The Filofax – produced a quite impressive accoutrement for the writing man.

The FiloFLEX, sold in a range of sizes and colours had a pen/pencil holder, provision for a writing pad and an additional jotting pad, five pockets to save jottings and paper scraps and somewhere to secure credit cards.

In this digital world, you won’t be surprised to learn that this cleverly designed accessory is now not manufactured by Filofax.

So the only way I could purchase an A5 example (already owning the pocket version) was to buy secondhand. Enter eBay.

Hence the rather fetching shade of pink described as magenta. But at £12, no questions asked Squire, it was a bargain.

Having collected my writing essentials the question now is, what today’s missive should be, and now needs writing, so if you’ll excuse me . . .

Return to the litter – part two

When I was a lad we had a local road sweeper by the name of Charlie, he had developed breathing problems, probably as a result of the war, and preferred to work outdoors. Armed with just trolley containing his bins and brushes he kept the neighbourhood clean. Now today my local street cleaners have arrived, after an absence of many months, not for them one man and his barrow, one drives the lorry, the second holds the bin while the third has a broom. Could that be the reason why I pay over £1,500 Council Tax?

Ethnic Enclaves Quiz

I find it interesting as to why certain ethnic groups have congregated into different areas of London, turning the capital into a series of ‘villages’. You can understand the attraction once the pioneers have landed on a location, others near you are speaking your mother tongue, sharing cultural and religious values, and there is an abundance of ingredients to make your cultural dishes. But why these areas in the first place?

So today’s quiz is relatively easier than before, with the nickname of an area (sometimes derogatory, I’m afraid) you have to name the precise area of London and the group that at some time inhabited its environs.

Questions

1. Paddy Fields


2. Kangaroo Valley


3. Asia Minor


4. Korea Town


5. OK Yardie


6. Swone-one


7. Trustafarian Suburb


8. Italian Hill


9. Goldberg’s Green


10. Gantville Cowboys


Answers

1. Paddy Fields
They used to call it Ireland’s 33rd county. Kilburn went ‘green’ in the mid-20th century when Irish migration to north west London hit its peak. For the young men (typically) who came here to build roads and railways, this was a home from home. You couldn’t beat the emerald isle, but at least the High Road offered a substitute — lined as it was with pubs, dance halls, and other diversions designed to swallow up navvies’ earnings. Ian Dury named a band after it; and the IRA -it’s alleged – openly fundraised on it.


2. Kangaroo Valley
A former nickname for the Earl’s Court area on account of its popularity as a place to flat-share for Antipodeans spending a year or two while working in London. Popular in the 1960s to 1980s it had faded from use as Earl’s Court has become more heterogeneous. The area has also been known as the Polish Corridor.


3. Asia Minor
A snide nickname applied to Belgravia in the mid-19th century, on account of the large number of wealthy Jews who lived there, as a favoured area for retired military professionals with south Asian experience, who preferred fruits and vegetables redolent of their time abroad. By the mid-1880s it had transferred to Bayswater and Kensington.


4. Korea Town
With around 10,000 Korean residents living east of Kingston upon Thames, it has the largest and most concentrated Korean population in Europe. On explanation for the area’s popularity is that 1970s Korean expatriates followed the example of their ambassador and settle in Wimbledon, but when prices there rose excessively they decamped to nearby New Malden. Several local churches hold services in the Korean language.


5. OK Yardie
A nickname invented in the 1990s for a Sloane Ranger living in a multicultural and supposedly ‘edgy’ area such as Ladbroke Grove. The term is a blend of “OK, Yah” and “Yardie”.


6. Swone-one
Pronounced ‘swunwun’ in the 1970s and 1980s for Battersea, an area to which Sloane Rangers had recourse if they could not afford to live on the opposite side of the Thames. The area has also been referred to as South Chelsea, a nod to the diaspora from the more chic address.


7. Trustafarian Suburb
Notting Hill has been described as ‘London’s Trustafarian Suburb’, with its population if young, usually white, inhabitants who enjoy a bohemian lifestyle financed by a trust fund or other unearned income. The term was successfully imported into London from New York in the mid-1990s.


8. Italian Hill
Because I spent my first 6 years working here, this Italian enclave in Clerkenwell is my favourite of all of London’s villages. The strong Italian connections whose boundaries encompass Clerkenwell Road, Roseberry Avenue and Farringdon Road have lasted well over two centuries. The Processione della Madonna del Carmine, held on the Sunday after 16th July from the church of St. Peter’s has taken place every year, except wartime, since 1896. The Italian School was founded in 1841 in the street where I worked, and nearby there is even at Italian driving school the Scuola Guida Italiana.


9. Goldberg’s Green
Like our trade, this area of Golder’s Green has a large Jewish presence. This pun, once used by cabbies in the second half of the 20th century, may also refer to this wealthy area being ‘paved with gold’ and hence having an abundance of customers needing cabs.


10. Gantville Cowboys
Gants Hill, Newbury Park and Clayhall once had a large number of cabbies living in this area, far few nowadays with many going to the cab rank in the sky.

Taxi talk without tipping

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