Missing London Quiz

These past weeks London has been missing much. Traffic is almost non-existent, the Tube is empty, and there is a noticeable absence cabs on the road. So for today’s quiz, the questions are about something missing. For the first question, I’ll start with a favourite pub quiz question and something slightly disingenuous.

Questions

1. What is missing from the name of St. John’s Wood tube station?

(a) The signage is not in the Underground’s familiar typeface
(b) The word ‘mackerel’ cannot be made from the station’s name
(c) Although near Lord’s Cricket Ground no sign indicates in which direction to find it


2. Most know of Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth, but why was it empty?

(a) They run out of money before commissioning a statue
(b) The committee couldn’t decide a worthy to surmount it
(c) The chairman of the board was assassinated before a statue was decided upon


3. Why are there no electricity pylons visible on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park?

(a) The pylons are in underground utility tunnels
(b) The pylons would interfere with City’ Airport’s flight path
(c) The pylons would have to have been painted in the Olympic colours


4. What did Ray Davies of The Kings nearly call ‘Waterloo Sunset’?

(a) Muswell Hill Daybreak
(b) Waterloo Sunrise
(c) Liverpool Sunset


5. The Theatre, Shoreditch, opened by James Burbage in 1576, was one of London’s earliest playhouses. It was taken down in 1598, but what happened to its timbers?

(a) They were used to build The Globe on Bankside
(b) They were used to burn Burbage and his company of actors at the stake for heresy
(c) They were used in the construction of the warship The Mary Rose


6. The U.S. Army’s signal centre was based in an unused deep tunnel beneath which tube station?

(a) St. John’s Wood
(b) Hampstead
(c) Goodge Street


7. There are many mythological rivers and streams supposedly running under London, but which of the following holds no water today?

(a) Beverley Brook
(b) Walbrook
(c) Houndsditch


8. There are over 40 ‘ghost stations’ in the Underground network, but what makes Bull and Bush between Hampstead and Holders Green especially unusual?

(a) It never opened
(b) It was built for the exclusive use of Frank Pick, the first chief executive of London Transport
(c) It was closed when a ceiling collapsed revealing the remains of a plague pit


9. CH N. Katz was one of the last Jewish businesses to continue trading on Brick Lane. What did Mr Katz sell?

(a) Boxes and crates
(b) String and paper bags
(c) Cigars and tobacco


10. What did the 19th-century trader Charles Jamrach sell from his long-vanished store on Radcliff Highway in the East End?

(a) Opium and cannabis
(c) Wax models of famous people of the period
(c) Exotic animals


And as a bonus: Why do cabbies sometimes call the junction of Kensington Gore and Exhibition Road ‘Hot and Cold Corner’?

(a) The wind blows along Kensington Gore but Exhibition Road is sheltered, making it a better place to get a fare
(b) The Royal Geographical Society building on the corner has two statues, one of David Livingstone and one of Ernest Shackleton
(c) Cabbies travelling up Exhibition Road face the dilemma of going north to Paddington or west to Kensington High Street for their next fare


Answers

1. What is missing from the name of St. John’s Wood tube station?

(b) The word mackerel cannot be made from the letters of St. John’s Wood station, bizarrely, a surprising number of people care about this question, ever since a group of Cambridge students came up with it after an evening in a pub about 30 years ago, the mackerel-tube question has been a meme that refuses to die.


2. Most know of Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth, but why was it empty?

(a) When Sir Charles Barry designed Trafalgar Square in the 1840s he included four plinths. One carries a statue of George IV while two others have statues of two generals Sir Charles James Napier and Sir Henry Havelock. The fourth plinth, in the north-west corner, was intended to hold a statue of King William IV on horseback but the money ran out. To this day no agreement has been reached on who should be celebrated there. True to British propensity to compromise, in the mid-Nineties the Fourth Plinth Commissioning Group was set up to fill the gap with a series of temporary art commissions.


3. Why are there no electricity pylons visible on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park?

(a) Decontamination and beautification work to prepare the site for the London 2012 Games (and future use as a park) included digging two 3.7-mile tunnels to conceal fifty-two less-than-lovely electricity pylons. Spoil sufficient to fill Wembley Stadium was dug out and you may be shocked to learn that all that electrical cable would stretch from London to Nottingham, a distance of 127 miles.


4. What did Ray Davies of The Kings nearly call ‘Waterloo Sunset’?

(c) The Muswell Hill-born Davies had originally composed a song heralding the demise of the so-called Merseybeat groups from Liverpool. However, after The Beatles released ‘Penny Lane’, he transformed it into a homage to his home city instead. Spending time in his childhood at St. Thomas’ Hospital as a seriously ill youngster he would often look out on the Thames, and also met his first girlfriend who became his wife along the Embankment at Waterloo.


5. The Theatre, Shoreditch, opened by James Burbage in 1576, was one of London’s earliest playhouses. It was taken down in 1598, but what happened to its timbers?

(a) Shakespeare had a share in this Bankside theatre and acted there. Many of is most famous plays, including Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Macbeth and King Lear were first performed at The Globe, which was reconstructed from the original Theatre after a dispute with the landlord.


6. The U.S. Army’s signal centre was based in an unused deep tunnel beneath which tube station?

(c) Near the American church, Eisenhower’s command centre has long been used as a secure storage space. Its entrance can be seen on the north side of Store Street.


7. There are many mythological rivers and streams supposedly running under London, but which of the following holds no water today?

(c) According to Stow, the area, once a most that bounded the City wall, got its name ‘from that in old time, when the same lay open, much filth (conveyed forth of the City), especially dead dogged were there laid or cast’.


8. There are over 40 ‘ghost stations’ in the Underground network, but what makes Bull and Bush between Hampstead and Holders Green especially unusual?

(a) the establishment of Hampstead Garden Suburb in 1907 imposed restrictions on further building in the area, making the station unviable. It was abandoned before it was finished. Frank Pick did, however, live not far away, there is a blue plaque on his former home at 15 Wildwood Road.


9. CH N. Katz was one of the last Jewish businesses to continue trading on Brick Lane. What did Mr Katz sell?

(b) Katz followed a long line of immigrants into Spitalfields and was trading until the late 1990s, travelling from his home in Stamford Hill. Today the shop at 92 Brick Lane is Gallery SO, above the door is the inscription ‘CH N Katz, String and Paper Bags’. It is one of the few reminders of the time when Brick Lane was full of Jewish traders, rather than the Bangladeshi and hipsters of today.


10. What did the 19th-century trader Charles Jamrach sell from his long-vanished store on Radcliff Highway in the East End?

(c) Charles Jamrach ran a business importing tigers, rhinos and other exotic animals. At the north entrance of Tobacco Dock, Wapping, there is a statue of a small boy in front of a tiger. This records an incident in which a fully grown Bengal tiger escaped from Jamrach’s and began to make its way down Commercial Road. The large cat seized a small child in its mouth but was eventually persuaded by Charles Jamrach himself to release the boy unharmed.


And as a bonus: Why do cabbies sometimes call the junction of Kensington Gore and Exhibition Road ‘Hot and Cold Corner’?

(b) The two statues, one of Ernest Shackleton who explored the icy Antarctic faces Kensington Gore, while David Livingstone who opened up Africa can be seen facing Exhibition Road.

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