London Trivia: Big Ben’s little brothers

On 4 November 1964 the Fortnum & Mason clock, designed by Berkeley Sutcliffe positioned above the store’s Piccadilly entrance was officially started, 4ft high mechanical figures, Mr Mason and Mr Fortnum emerge every hour from separate pavilions to make half a circuit before ‘ringing’ their respective bells. The 18 bells from the same foundry as Big Ben ring every 15 minutes a selection of airs.

On 4 November 1852 The House of Commons press gallery where journalists may observe and write was opened. 300 are accredited by the Serjeant-at-Arms

An old police box aka TARDIS can be found outside Earl’s Court station. The same station that had the Underground’s first escalator on 4 October 1911

Records show that the site of OXO Tower, bought for £75,000 by the Leibig Extract of Meat Company in the 1920s, was once used as a butchery!

Charles II, encouraged by Nell Gwyn, founded Chelsea Royal Hospital in 1682 for injured Civil War veterans. Soldiers over the age of 65 may apply to become a Chelsea Pensioner

In 1796 a Commons Committee spent days debating a plan to dig a channel across the Isle of Dogs to save sailing time around the peninsular

In his study at Harrington Gardens SW7 W S Gilbert saw a Japanese sword fall from the wall and inspired him to write The Mikado

Piccadilly may take it’s name from Piccadilly Hall so called home of Robert Baker, a tailor who sold piccadillies, a form of collar or ruff

London has more professional football clubs than any other city in the world except Buenos Aires. In 2013 the Football Association celebrated the 150th anniversary of its formation in a tavern in Holborn

The average speed on the Underground is 20.5 miles per hour including station stops but on the Metropolitan Line trains can reach over 60mph

From his Wapping soap factory John Knight produced the famous Knight’s Castile soap, which won a medal at the Great Exhibition of 1851

In 1995 Holborn had a bizarre claim to fame as the most commonly mispronounced word in the English language. Remember the l is silent

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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