London Trivia: Saved by a poet

On 1 October 1868 one of London’s greatest buildings was opened to little fanfare. George Gilbert Scott’s Gothic masterpiece St. Pancras. Years later it took pressure from a group led by poet laureate John Betjeman to save it from demolition. Betjeman, a founding member of the Victorian Society and a passionate defender of Victorian architecture, on the reopening of St Pancras station in 2007, a statue of Betjeman was unveiled.

On 1 October 1985 police in riot gear closed off parts of Peckham in an effort to contain continued outbreaks of violence and vandalism as gangs of youths threw petrol bombs and set shops alight

Robert Peel’s new Metropolitan Police Force nicknamed ‘Blue Devils’ wore blue to avoid confusion with the red coats of the army

St Bartholomew’s Hospital is the oldest hospital in London having been founded in 1123 by a monk named Rahere

Covent Garden is believed to be haunted by the ghost of William Terris who met an untimely death near the station in 1897

In 1966 Russian spy George Blake escaped Wormwood Scrubs and a 42 year stretch by making use of a ladder made of knitting needles

During World War II a branch of the Piccadilly line Holborn/Aldwych was closed and British Museum treasures were stored in the empty spaces

18th century Shepherd Market Mayfair was home to courtesan Kitty Fisher who, insulted by a low value note given for services given, ate it!

West Ham’s I’m forever blowing bubbles was inspired by trialist schoolboy Billy Murray who resembled the boy used to advertise Pears soap

When Paddington Underground Station, as the western terminus of London’s first underground, opened in January 1863 it was called Bishop’s Road

Marc Isambard Brunel came up with his idea on how to dig the Thames’ Tunnel whilst in debtors’ prison watching a shipworm bore through wood

In 1792 Lady Braddock and Mrs Elphinstone duelled Braddock’s hat got shot off and Elphinstone wounded in the arm by a sword – later they had tea

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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