On 4 October 1911, Earls Court opened to the public the first underground escalator. To reassure passengers ‘Bumper’ Harris, a clerk of works, was assigned to assuage passenger’s anxiety by demonstrating the escalator’s convenience and its safety. He had, unfortunately, a wooden leg leading to the speculation of having lost it in a previous escalator journey, the leg had been crushed between two carriages carrying rubble.
On 4 October 1936 The Battle of Cable Street took place as Eastenders battled with Oswald Mosley’s marching fascists the Blackshirts
Sumptuary law prescribed precisely what different echelons of London society were permitted to wear only aristocrats could wear pointy boots
The 6,000-year-old timber piles visible at low tide in front of MI6’s building are remnants of a Mesolithic structure beside the River Effra
Below Greenwich Park at Croom Hill Gate is a Bronze Age cemetery, excavations in the 18th century found glass beads, wool and hair, as well as shields and swords
More than 1 million bees were evacuated from London during World War II, as their hives were disrupted by the shocks of the Blitz
Whitechapel’s Marcus Samuel sold painted seashells, which is why he called his later oil industry concern Shell
The Thames has frozen completely 24 times the last Frost Fair in February 1814 an elephant was led across the river below Blackfriars Bridge
Richmond Golf Club’s 1940 rules: ‘During gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play . . .
On 4 October 1911, the Public Carriage Department, assigned to regulate cabs, took possession of the new police offices in Great Scotland Yard
Gentleman’s Magazine was the world’s first magazine, it was printed at St John’s Gate, Clerkenwell, it ran uninterrupted for almost 200 years, until 1922, and was the first to use the term ‘magazine’
London’s oldest shrub is the 200-year-old wisteria at Fuller’s Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, planted in 1816, its twin at Kew Gardens died
Trivial 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.