London Trivia: Flexible friend

On 10 September 1963 the American credit culture hit the streets. American Express arrived, the first credit card was soon to be accepted at nearly 3,000 hotels, restaurants, shops in this country, the Bank of England gave permission for the scheme to go ahead – on condition users do not spend more than £75 on any one item purchased abroad, until then, Amex card holders had been able to use their cards in this country, but only if they could settle their accounts in dollars.

On 10 September 1897 cabbie George Smith crashed into a Bond Street shop and became the first person convicted of drunk-driving, fined £1

Francis Towneley executed for the Jacobite Rising his family stole the head returning to family home and kept it for years in a basket at Towneley Hall

St. Etheldreda’s Church built c.1250 is the oldest Catholic church in England the only surviving building in London dating from this period

According to a 2002 study air quality on the Underground was 73 times worse than at street level, with 20 minutes on the Northern Line having the same effect as smoking a cigarette

Portobello Road takes its name from the 1739 sea battle where the English captured the Portobello naval base in Panama from the Spanish

The “local palais” mentioned in The Kinks’ “Come Dancing” was The Athenaeum, Fortis Green Road replaced by a Sainsbury’s store in 1966

On 10 September 1973 designer Barbara Hulanicki and husband Simon Fitzsimon opened Art Deco department store-Big Biba-on Kensington High Street

Arsenal Station is London’s only station named after a football club originally opened as Gillespie Road in 1906 and renamed Arsenal in 1932

In Central London the deepest station below street level is on the Northern line. It is the DLR concourse at Bank, which is 41.4 metres below ground

Cheapside get its name from the Saxon word for market – ‘chepe’ as this was London’s main market in medieval times

In 1708 Upminster witnessed an experiment by Rev William Derham to calculate the speed of sound, his calculation was only 4.8 per second out

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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