London Trivia: Self-service debut

On 1 September 1951 the Premier Store opened in Streatham High Street, which at the time was the longest, busiest shopping strip in South London. Arguably Britain’s first supermarket, when competitors were pulling in £100 per week, Premier racked up £1,000 as 1,500 housewives descended on the store in its first day. Jack Cohen of Tesco bought the chain in 1960 having opened their first self-service store at St. Albans in 1956.

On 1 September 1875 Lambeth’s 14-year-old swimming prodigy Agnes Beckwith swam the six miles from London Bridge to Greenwich in 69 minutes

The 16th century bawdy courts were held at St Paul’s Cathedral and dealt with cases of sexual assault and described intercourse as occupying

All Christopher Wren’s churches are replacements after The Great Fire of London except one St. James’s, Piccadilly- built 1676 on a new site

An elephant is buried under Castle Bar Hill, Ealing the animal died whilst being moved and was interned where it fell

On 1 September 1939 Big Ben’s clock faces were unlit for the first time as war with Germany was impending

When Smithfield superintendent found a gold wedding ring he said the statute of a woman there should be married and soldered to her finger

Gordon Selfridge installed a secret lift in the store so his girlfriends, twins who eventually bankrupted him, could arrive unobserved

Dash to Pope’s Road, Brixton in September to watch the Brixton Bolt, see if you can beat Usain’s 100 metre time of 9.58

On 1 September 1968 the Walthamstow-Highbury Victoria Line extensions opened, giving a considerable uplift to local house prices

Cable Street is named after the local 18th century ropes and cable industry and was originally 608ft, the same length as a nautical cable

It wasn’t until an Act of 1765 that street names were made compulsory, traditional colourful shop signs having to give way to street numbers

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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