London Trivia: Jumbo binge

On 2 February 1255 the Royal Menagerie, housed at The Tower of London received a male African elephant. It had been a diplomatic gift from King Louis IX of France to Henry III. The only elephant in England was thought to have come from the Crusades in Palestine. The keepers appear to have been too enthusiastic plying the elephant with copious bottles of red wine, consequently, it died three years later, very happy.

On 2 February 1101 the king’s tax collector and embezzler, Bishop Ranulf Flambard, the Tower’s first prisoner, became its first escapee after getting his captors drunk

The Clink a small prison whose name entered the English language as slang term for gaol it was for those who ran amok in Bankside’s brothels

Strand was the first road in London to have a numbered address Charles II’s Secretary of State residence was No 1 near Northumberland Avenue

On 2 February 1852 the first public toilets opened at 95 Fleet Street. Selfridge’s was the first shop to have ladies’ toilets

The night before the 1911 census suffragette Emily Davison hid in a cupboard in the House of Commons so she could claim that was her address

Outstanding movie The Long Good Friday with Bob Hoskins features scenes filmed at Wapping and West India Quay

Simpson’s-in-the-Strand was known as the home of chess, its serving practise-wheeling food out under silver domes-originates avoiding disturbing a game of chess

Set up in1869 the Hurlingham Club originally hosted pigeon shooting before becoming a major venue for tennis

One early name proposed for the Victoria Line was the Viking line; the Central Line used to be nicknamed as the ‘Twopenny Tube’ for its flat fare

By 1883 Fleet Street’s newspapers produced 15 morning dailies, 9 evening papers and 383 weekly publications, of which 50 were local rags

The City of London has had city status for time immemorial – i.e. no historical information exists to show that it wasn’t a city at any point in known London history

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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