London Trivia: Strong Man of Islington

On 28 May 1741, to celebrate the taking of Portobello by Admiral Vernon, Thomas Topham ‘the Strong Man of Islington’ performed at the Apple Tree Inn, formerly opposite Coldbath Fields prison, in the presence of the admiral and numerous spectators. Here, standing on a wooden stage, he raised several inches from the ground three hogsheads of water weighing 1,336 pounds, using for the purpose a strong rope and tackle passing over his shoulders.

On 28 May 1759 Britain’s youngest Prime Minister Pitt the Younger was born. He grew up to be so thin that he was known as the Bottomless Pitt

Serial billiard ball thief Harry Jackson received seven years jail for two convictions – how times have changed

The house numbering in Downing Street used to be different. Number 10 was originally No 5 and did not acquire its present number until 1779

Henry Campbell-Bannerman has been the only British Prime Minister to die at 10 Downing Street. He died there in April 1908

While Cromwell never readmitted Jews a London colony of Sephardic Jews was identified in 1656 and allowed to remain – first time since 1290

In Elizabethan theatre different coloured flags were used to advertise the play’s theme – black flag tragedy, white comedy and red history

Until 1983 women could not be served at the bar in Fleet Street’s El Vino – only when seated at a table served, presumably by a subservient waiter

On 28 May 1742 the Bagnio the first indoor swimming pool opened Lemon Street, Goodman’s Fields, for a guinea gentlemen only could use the 43ft pool

The tallest escalator on the Underground is at the Angel with a length of 197ft (making it the world’s longest) and a vertical rise of 90ft

London Scientist Christopher Merret invented sparkling wine in 1662, Champagne didn’t come on the scene until 1697

17th century diarist John Evelyn proposed moving smoky industries out of London and then encircling with ‘sweet-smelling plants and hedges’

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.

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