On 1 November 1848, the first WH Smith bookstall opened at Euston station. In 1792 Henry Walton Smith and his wife Anna had opened a small newsvendors in Little Grosvenor Street, Henry died soon after and Anna went into partnership with Zaccheus Coates. When Anna died the business transferred to her two sons, one being William Henry Smith and taking advantage of ‘railway mania’ the Euston outlet opened.
On 1 November 1604 Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello was performed for the first time by the King’s Men Company at Whitehall Palace
On 1 November 1959 the M1 Britain’s first motorway opened from London to the North its 70 limit imposed after an AC Cobra was clocked at 196
The sarsen that stands outside the Guildhall in Kingston is known as the Coronation Stone, 7 Saxon kings are said to have been crowned there
The only former Prime Minister to die in 10 Downing Street was Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman saying: “This is not the end of me” – it was!
During Tony Blair’s tenure, 37 computers, 4 mobiles, 2 cameras, a mini-disc player, a video recorder, 4 printers, 2 projectors and a bicycle were stolen from 10 Downing Street
The Tabard Inn which once stood in Talbot Yard behind Guy’s Hospital was the 65-mile fictional starting point of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales
Covent Garden’s Stukeley Street was formerly Coal Yard where Samuel Pepys saw pretty resident Nell Gwyn standing in a doorway
The German Gymnastic Society, now a restaurant, at King’s Cross established in London in 1861, was Britain’s first purpose-built gymnasium
A signalling box in Tottenham Court Road’s ticket hall sealed in 2013 to be opened in 2063, it contains an Oyster Card and a Baby on Board badge
The King’s cockle-strewer was employed to spread powdered cockleshells on Pall Mall so paille maille could be played in the 17th century
In November 1903 The Daily Mirror was launched from 2 Carmelite Street the paper started well until the owner Alfred Harmsworth allegedly said, “Women can’t read and don’t want to read”
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.
2 thoughts on “London Trivia: Read all about it”
Love the trivia pages, but wasn’t our first motorway the Preston by-pas?
Just consulted the Oracle (Wikipedia) and yes the first section of motorway in the UK was the Preston Bypass. The M1 was Britain’s first full-length motorway and opened in 1959. Thanks for pulling me up on my mistake.