London Trivia: A shot in the dark

On 24 March 1918 a bigamist and American conman died at the Wood Green Empire. For years he had masqueraded as Chung Ling Soo the most famous – and wealthiest – ‘Chinese’ magician on London’s stage. His famous trick of being shot backfired when a real bullet hit him. His first English words since reaching Britain were “Oh my God, something’s happened, bring down the curtain”.

On 24 March 1877 the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race ended in its only dead heat with a time of 24 minutes, 8 seconds

Bow Street Police Station was the only Victorian London police station with a white light outside rather than a blue light

Smithfield Market was designed by Sir Horace Jones who also designed Billingsgate and Leadenhall Markets and Tower Bridge

On 24 March 1947 businessman Alan Sugar (The Apprentice, Amstrad) was born in Hackney, East London

The Wiener Library, Russell Square contains 1 million items relating to the Holocaust, it is the world’s oldest library of related material

The 100th anniversary of the roundel (the Tube Logo) was celebrated in 2008 by TfL commissioning 100 artists to produce works that celebrate the design

Early 1980s – Burlington Arcade beadle tells someone off for whistling – they turn round – it’s Paul McCartney – beadle exempts him from whistling ban for life

In March 1950 a ski-jump contest was held on Hampstead Heath with 45 tons of snow brought from Norway in wooden boxes cooled by dry ice

St James is the only Underground Station to have Grade-I protected status. It includes 55 Broadway, the administrative headquarters of London’s Underground since the 1930s

Daniel Defoe wrote Robinson Crusoe in Stoke Newington where he also ran a civet farm in the grounds of his house

London boasts over 300 different spoken languages, more than any other city in the world, 78 per cent cite English, followed by Polish and Bengali

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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