London Trivia: Killed by a turnip

On the 14 July 1989 a turnip killed 56-year-old Leslie Mervy whilst shopping in East London, the turnip was thrown from a passing car, he suffered a punctured lung and a rib broken in three places. After being discharged from hospital his condition deteriorated and he died of a ruptured spleen on 23 July. Detective Superintendent Graham Howard said the death was being investigated as a murder, London’s only case of death by turnip.

On 14 July 1921 The Times reported that cocktails drunk before meals were harmful, and shockingly that 50 per cent of consumers were women

At 6ft 7ins Bank of England clerk William Jenkins fearing bodysnatchers offered a 200 guineas advance to the Bank of England to be buried in the Bank’s garden

Huge flocks of starlings are now rare, called ‘murmuration’ as 100,000 birds choose where to sleep, they once stopped Big Ben by perching on the hands

In 1653 Old Parr was buried at Westminster Abbey at the reputed age of 152, Charles I accorded this honour having met the world’s oldest man

Should a whale become stranded on the Thames foreshore the King may claim its head, his Queen the body – presumably to make her corset stays

Prince Albert lent Thomas Thorneycroft the horses on which to model those being reined in by Queen Boudicca sculpture on Victoria Embankment

Buck’s Club founded in 1919 by returning army officers was said to be the place where Buck’s Fizz was invented by its barman called McCarry

The Lamb and Flag in Rose Street was called The Bucket of Blood as hidden away in an alley made it the ideal venue for illegal prize fights

Opened in 1863 the Metropolitan Railway between Paddington and Farrington was the world’s first urban underground passenger-carrying railway

London’s first drive-in bank for lazy motorists was installed by Drummond’s Bank housed in a building adjacent to Admiralty Arch

Battersea Dogs’ Home was founded in Holloway in 1860 by Mary Tealby as ‘The Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs’

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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