London Trivia: Midnight express

On 8 October 1952 at 8.18 am the Perth to Euston sleeper express overshot signals at Harrow and ploughed into a stationary local train waiting at the station. A northbound train then ran into the wreckage, 112 died and 150 were injured, it remains the worst peacetime rail crash in the United Kingdom. The accident accelerated the introduction of Automatic Warning System informing drivers they had passed an adverse signal.

On 8 October 1965 Britain got its tallest building when the Post Office Tower (renamed BT) topped out at 580ft plus 70ft for the radio mast

Shad Thames was known as Jacob’s Island a notoriously dangerous place, featured in Oliver Twist where Bill Sikes meets his end hanging by a rope above Folly Ditch’s mud

The 1.8km long Limehouse Link tunnel cost £293 million to build in 1993, around £163,000 per metre, making it Britain’s most expensive road scheme

Cock Lane opposite Bart’s is where John Bunyan, author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, died of a fever in 1688

Catholic monarch Mary Tudor watched Protestant martyrs burn at the stake at Smithfield from the gatehouse of St Bartholomew-the-Great

In An American Werewolf in London (1981) its lycanthropic protagonist, David meets his timely end in Winchester Walk, Borough

The Savoy Hotel’s Chef Escoffier created the dish Peach Melba for opera singer Dame Nellie Melba who was a regular guest

Oldest surviving regular contest in the World Doggett’s Coat and Badge Race rowing up the Thames between two Swan pubs: London Bridge to Chelsea

The London taxi must have a turning circle no more than 25 foot to enable it to U-turn from a cab rank and to complete a single turn outside the Savoy Hotel

The toothbrush was invented in Newgate prison by William Addis in 1770. Inspired by a broom, he inserted bristles into an animal bone

Petticoat Lane is not on any London map as it was renamed Middlesex Street in 1830, though known to Londoners it doesn’t officially exist

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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