Houston, we have a problem

These might be the most memorable, if incorrect, words that were spoken during the Apollo years. Tom Hanks was the first to speak them, playing Jim Lovell in Apollo 13. But it was Lovell’s fellow astronaut on the Apollo 8 mission who’s quote has changed the world. Bill Anders, who took the famous Earthrise shot, now a pillar of today’s environmental movement, would like to say: “We came to explore the moon and what we discovered was the Earth”.

In keeping with astronauts being at the forefront of the green movement you can find them nailed to planes, London plane trees, that is.

American astronauts are commemorated along the western side of Kennington Road, some fifteen name tags could once be found up the half-mile stretch from the Imperial War Museum to Kennington Lane.

Some mystery surrounds the placement of the nameplates. The much-lamented Smoke magazine noted that the names had been present for at least 20 years, and that was 9 years ago.

Predictably conspiracy theories have speculated that the trees might have been planted with seeds brought back from the moon, completely dismissing the fact that these mighty specimens are well over 50 years old.

For the record, here are the 15 names, but alas not Lovell or Anders are commemorated on Kennington Road, maybe they once were as those nailed to trees are down from 17 at the time of the Smoke article.

Eugene A Cernan

John W Young

Neil A Armstrong

Edwin E Aldrin

Alan L Bean

Fred W Haise Jr

John L Swigert Jr

Stuart A Roosa

Alan B Shepherd

David R Scott

Edgar D Mitchell

Alfred M Worden

James B Irwin

Charles M Duke Jr

Frank Borman

London in Quotations: Count William Combe

High Lords, deep Statesmen, / Duchesses, and Whores, / All ranks and stations, Publicans and Peers, / Grooms, Lawyers, / Fiddlers, Bawds, and Auctioneers; / Prudes and Coquettes, the Ugly and the Fair, / The Pert, the Prim, the Dull, the Debonair; / The Weak, the Strong, the Humble and the Proud, / All help’d to form the motley, mingled Crowd.

Count William Combe (1741-1823)

London Trivia: A family affair

On 24 January 1907 William Whiteley was shot dead outside the office of his own store by 29-year-old Horace George Raynor, who then turned the gun on himself. Raynor, who survived, claimed to be the illegitimate son of the store’s owner by his Whiteley’s long-term mistress, former shop girl, Louie Turner. Raynor’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He was released in 1919 on licence.

On 24 January 1965 Winston Churchill following a stroke died at his home at Hyde Park Gate aged 90, he ordered his coffin leave London from Waterloo just to annoy General de Gaulle

Acid Bath Murderer Haigh dissolved his victims in a house now occupied by the Kentucky Fried Chicken Gloucester Road

On 24 January 1956 plans were unveiled for homes in Barbican a public inquiry considered plans to build in the area left devastated by war

During the plague of 1665 Londoners lived on huge rafts floating on the Thames in an attempt to escape the pestilence

The howitzer sculpture at Hyde Park Corner is pointed at the Somme – but if it was a real, its range would mean it would hit Crystal Palace

The Travellers Club in Pall Mall is the fictional start to Jules Verne’s story Around The World In Eighty Days

Hidden under the Ministry of Defence are Cardinal Wolsey’s wine cellars from the Whitehall Palace which burned down in 1698

The Racing Driver’s Handbook on how to behave on a racetrack is called The Blue Book the same as the Knowledge book of runs for cabbies

Only five Underground stations have ‘X’ in their names: Uxbridge, Brixton, Oxford Circus, Vauxhall and Croxley

The Bowler Hat is named after Mr Bowler who made it but Locks the Hatters call it the Coke after Mr Coke who ordered it

London cabbie George King founded the Aetherius Society to prevent the annihilation of Earth by improving cooperation with alien species

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.

London’s oldest

Sykes & Son Limited based on Essex Street, just off Strand since 1759 Is moving. As London’s oldest builder Sykes & Son was formed by John Willis in 1759 and its earliest records show that it worked at St Clement Dane’s Church in 1759 – where it worked again some 250 years later. Other clients include the Tower of London, Victoria & Albert Museum, the Royal Albert Hall and English Heritage.

They haven’t remained in the same Essex Street building [featured]: 1759-1799 at number 23; 1799-1881 at number 47; 1881-1895 at number 9; 1895-1949 at number 10; 1949-1969 at number 8; 1969-2020 they moved to 23 Devereux Court which is a small turning off Essex Street.

They have worked on Royal palaces, world-renowned museums, galleries and universities but a new possible client for the company has been uncovered, ironically at the same time, Sykes moved to Bloomsbury.

At 54A High Street, High Barnet a crown post timber roof was found intact dating to 1397, or perhaps earlier, which would make it the oldest known surviving timber structure in London. To put it into perspective Westminster Hall with its huge hammer-beam roof, commissioned by Richard II was completed in 1401.

This shop was being converted from a hairdresser to a florist when the discovery was made. Built-in the days when High Barnet was on the route of animal drovers who stopped the night at taverns or perhaps sold animals at a fair. Barnet fare is one of the most well known and oldest in the country.

At some point, it is thought the building was amalgamated into a group of taverns that became the Mitre, which was established in 1633 and is Barnet’s oldest former coaching inn.

Analysis by Historic England has shown that the oldest timbers were from trees felled between 1330 and 1362, those mature trees would have been saplings at the time of the Norman Conquest.

Blind Fred

Iam re-reading my old copy of Curious London by cabbie Hugh Pearman, retailing in 1951 at the very reasonable price of 2/6d (12½p) and reminded of the days when I would kick my heels in St. John Churchyard while waiting for my cab to be fixed in a nearby garage.

Written in braille a memorial tablet is affixed to the church’s railings. It is in memory of ‘Blind Fred’, apparently a cheery match seller who for many years had his pitch on this spot.

⠠⠕⠝⠑ ⠞⠓⠊⠝⠛ ⠠⠊ ⠅⠝⠕⠺⠂ ⠞⠓⠁⠞⠂ ⠺⠓⠑⠗⠑⠁⠎ ⠠⠊ ⠺⠁⠎ ⠃⠇⠊⠝⠙⠂ ⠝⠕⠺ ⠠⠊ ⠎⠑⠑. ⠠⠚⠕⠓⠝ ⠊:⠃⠑

The above braille reads: “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. John 9:25.”.

As Hackney churchyards had been closed for burials since the second half of the 19th century, Fred was buried in Bow (Tower Hamlets) Cemetery.

More about Fred including his picture selling matches can be found on the Love East site.

In the graveyard of St. John, buried in the vault of the household she served is Elizabeth Brown, a domestic servant who, so the inscription on the tomb informs us, worked for the Jubbs, a local family, for 89 years, surely a world record for long service.

Taxi talk without tipping

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