London Trivia: A perfect storm

On 7 January 1928 a perfect storm hit London. Heavy snow, followed by a sudden thaw with heavy rain combined with a high spring tide and a storm surge raised the water levels on the Thames. A massive flood ensued, water overflowed from the City to Putney and Hammersmith, fourteen people drowned and 4,000 were made homeless. The disaster contributed to the eventual building of the Thames Barrier.

On 7 January 1618 Sir Francis Bacon, one of the cleverest of his generation, was made Lord Chancellor of England by his patron King James I.

A punishment in London’s Victorian prisons was oakum picking. Prisoners were given old ships’ rope with the task of unpicking the strands

On Admiralty Arch is a small nose said to be Lord Nelson’s second nose – it’s not. Placed there in 1997 by an artist as a form of protest

In 1924, the first baby was born on the Underground, on a train at Elephant and Castle on the Bakerloo Line

Harold Wilson always drank Lucozade during speeches – but from a blue glass, as he worried that in a clear one it would look like Scotch

Victorian poet Swinburne and artist Rosetti  shared 16 Cheyne Walk Chelsea with Rosetti’s menagerie including a pet wombat

London’s oldest hotel Claridge’s opened as Mivart’s Hotel in 1812 by French chef Jacques Mivart. He sold out to William Claridge in 1838

Charlton means ‘homestead belonging to the churls’. Churls were the lowest rank of freeman during medieval times

On the Metropolitan line, trains can reach over 60mph but the average is a mere 20.5 miles per hour including stops

Inventor Richard Arkwright who with John Kay invented the spinning-frame that produced a strong cotton thread lived at 8 Adam Street, Strand

There is evidence to show that in medieval London, off Cheapside, there was a road, probably frequented by prostitutes, named Gropecunt Lane

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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