London Trivia: Fig-uring it out

On 18 June 1822 the ’countrywomen of England’ had an embarrassing surprise having contributed to a 18ft tall figure of Achilles as a way of honouring the Duke of Wellington living close by in Apsley House. Said to be in the Duke’s likeness, it was the first nude public statue in London. Standing an impressive 36ft on its plinth his manhood was equally notable. The women had a touch of the vapours and a fig leaf was attached. The organic codpiece has twice had attempts at removal.

On 18 June 1583 Richard Martin, an Alderman arranged an insurance policy for William Gibbons, a salter. At 8 per cent over 8 months it was the world’s first known insurance policy

The Old Bailey’s Blind Justice roof statue is unusual in not having a blindfold. Her impartiality is said to be shown by her ‘maidenly form’

In Gough Square off Fleet Street is a statue of Hodge, the pet cat of Dr Samuel Johnson, writer and lexicographer who lived nearby

A macabre statistic is that the most popular suicide time on London’s Underground is around eleven in the morning

Greek Street is named after mass of Greek Christians who arrived in London around 1670 after being persecuted under Ottoman rule

The nude cover shot for John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s 1968 album ‘Two Virgins’ was taken at their flat at 38 Montagu Square

The Prospect of Whitby pub dates from 1520 and is named after ‘The Prospect’ a Whitby registered coal boat moored there in the 18th century

Tim Berners-Lee appeared in the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony – a US TV commentator had no idea who he was so suggested viewers Google him

The station with the most platforms is Baker Street with 10 (Moorgate also has 10 platforms but only six are used by Tube trains – others are used by overground trains)

Harry Beck produced the well known Tube map diagram while working as an engineering draughtsman at the London Underground Signals Office. He was reportedly paid 10 guineas (£10.50) for his efforts

Colehearne Court in Brompton Road was Princess Diana’s home in the early 1980’s when she charged two flatmates £18 a week rent

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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