Lock Down London Quiz

London is now a ghost town, and places where we dined, drank and danced are closed, but how much do you know about London’s places of entertainment?

Questions

1. The 2 I’s coffee bar on Old Compton Street is often called the birthplace of British rock ‘n’ roll, hosting early performances by Cliff Richard and Tommy Steele. But what did the ‘I’ stand for?

(a) Iranians
(b) Italians
(c) Intellectuals


2. What is the connection between Dirty Dick’s pub opposite Liverpool Street Station and Charles Dickens?

(a) The famous novelist’s father drank himself to death there
(b) The pub’s collection of stuffed cats inspired the novelist to write The Old Curiosity Shop
(c) Its namesake provided the basis for Miss Havisham in Great Expectations


3. Norman Balon, the proprietor of Soho’s Coach and Horses for over 60 years, was celebrated as ‘the rudest landlord in London’. Under what name did he often appear in the satirical magazine Private Eye?

(a) Bally Balon, the benign friend of the boozer
(b) Monty Balon, the genial mine host
(c) Norman Nice, the kindly landlord


4. Since 1820, what has a sailor done each Good Friday at the Widow’s Son pub in Bow?

(a) Rung the Bow Bell kept behind the bar
(b) Poured a pint to celebrate Christ’s resurrection
(c) Placed a hot cross bun in a basket hanging from the ceiling


5. The Prospect of Whitby in Wapping is London’s oldest remaining riverside inn. What was it originally named?

(a) The Smuggler’s Rest
(b) The Devil’s Tavern
(c) The Damn Your Eyes


6. What ‘first’ opened in Portman Square in 1810?

(a) London’s first dance hall
(b) The first kitchen to offer takeaway food
(c) The first Indian restaurant in London


7. Which famous London building stands on the site where the French chef Alexis Soyer opened a restaurant complex called the ‘Gastronomic Symposium of All Nations’ in 1851?

(a) Royal Albert Hall
(b) Victoria & Albert Museum
(c) Natural History Museum


8. Which area of London supposedly takes its name from that of the landlord of a pub in the early seventeenth century?

(a) Parsons Green
(b) Pentonville
(c) Pimlico


9. What caused the death of 8 people in the Tottenham Court Road area on 17 October 1814?

(a) One of London’s first recorded food poisoning incidents
(b) A second-floor dance hall floor gave way
(c) The Great London Beer Flood


10. In what unusual location did 14 men gather to dine on 23 October 1843?

(a) Inside a model dinosaur at Sydenham Hill
(b) Under the Thames in a tunnel dug by Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s father
(c) On top of Nelson’s Column


Answers

1. The 2 I’s coffee bar on Old Compton Street is often called the birthplace of British rock ‘n’ roll, hosting early performances by Cliff Richard and Tommy Steele. But what did the ‘I’ stand for?

(a) Before two Australians involved in the world of wrestling acquired the lease of the cafe in the early 1950s, it was owned by three Iranian brothers and they called it the 3 I’s. Apparently one of them left and so it ended up as the 2 I’s.


2. What is the connection between Dirty Dick’s pub opposite Liverpool Street Station and Charles Dickens?

(c) The original Dirty Dick was a young dandy called Nathaniel Bentley who owned a warehouse on Leadenhall Street. On the eve of his wedding his bride-to-be died, grief-stricken, he gave up washing, neglected his appearance, and rarely would be seen in public for the rest of his days. Charles Dickens edited Household Words, a magazine in which a poem based on Bentley’s squalid life appeared.


3. Norman Balon, the proprietor of Soho’s Coach and Horses for over 60 years, was celebrated as ‘the rudest landlord in London’. Under what name did he often appear in the satirical magazine Private Eye?

(b) Private Eye’s journalists would lunch regularly in the upstairs room of the pub. At Balon’s retirement, Private Eye’s editor paid tribute to the landlord as: “The only man grumpier than me.” Balon’s autobiography, fittingly, was entitled You’re Barred, You Bastards!


4. Since 1820, what has a sailor done each Good Friday at the Widow’s Son pub in Bow?

(c) A widow lived in a cottage which once stood on the site. Her sailor son was due to arrive home on Good Friday. She put a hot cross bun aside for him on his return. Each year she kept a bun, but he never returned. The ritual was subsequently taken up by the pub after her death.


5. The Prospect of Whitby in Wapping is London’s oldest remaining riverside inn. What was it originally named?

(b) The Devil’s Tavern. Built-in 1520, it was a popular haunt of smugglers. Its current name derives from a ship that traded between London and the North Yorkshire fishing town of Whitby.


6. What ‘first’ opened in Portman Square in 1810?

(c) The Hindostanee Coffee House opened off Portman Square in 1810. Its owner, Dean Mahomed, offered in the words of his advertisements ‘India dishes in the highest perfection’ but, sadly, the public wasn’t ready for them and the Hindostanee wet bust in 1812.


7. Which famous London building stands on the site where the French chef Alexis Soyer opened a restaurant complex called the ‘Gastronomic Symposium of All Nations’ in 1851?

(a) Soyer bought Gore House, a mansion which stood where the Royal Albert Hall now stands, attempting to improve Londoner’s culinary habits. Extravagantly furnished, the venture was a disaster, losing Soyer £7,000 in five months.


8. Which area of London supposedly takes its name from that of the landlord of a pub in the early seventeenth century?

(c) Ben Pimlico was supposedly a publican famous for his ‘nut-brown ale’.


9. What caused the death of 8 people in the Tottenham Court Road area on 17 October 1814?

(c) On that date a huge vat burse its hoops in the Horseshoe Brewery in Tottenham Court Road. This ruptured other vats and eventually more than a million litres of beer swept through the brewery walls and into the streets. The sea of beer carried away neighbouring houses and drowned eight people. The site of the Horseshoe Brewery is now occupied by the Dominion Theatre.


10. In what unusual location did 14 men gather to dine on 23 October 1843?

(c) Fourteen of the stonemasons who had worked on the construction of the column ate a meal on the platform at its top just before the statue of the admiral was placed upon it. The large model of a dinosaur was the setting for a dinner 11 years earlier. The reconstruction of an iguanodon, together with others, can still be seen today. Marc Brunel’s tunnel under the Thames was used for a banquet or 150 people in 1827.

 

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