London Trivia: Balcombe Street Siege

On 6 December 1975, three armed IRA men on the run from police burst into a flat in in Balcombe Street taking two people hostage. Officers sealed off the corner of Dorset Square and Balcombe Street, in Marylebone, after a car chase through the West End during which shots were fired. The gunmen were members of an IRA hit squad which has been behind a number of attacks including the shooting dead TV presenter Ross McWhirter.

On 6 December 1994 some £1bn of oil was discovered beneath Windsor Castle, the Queen gave permission for drilling to commence, but overruled

In 1736 gravedigger Thomas Jenkins received 100 lashes for selling dead bodies from St Dunstan & All Saints, Stepney High Street

The Strand (technically just “Strand” – look at the signs) was originally the north shore of the much-wider Thames – “strand” means “bank”

Dame Cicely Saunders founded St. Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham, the world’s first hospice, eventually she died there herself in 2005

Pains Fireworks, still making fireworks, founded in the 15thC in the East End, sold the light gunpowder used in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605

The ArcelorMittal Orbit is the UK’s tallest sculpture, at 684ft, the structure incorporates the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide

The Grand United Lodge of England on Great Queen Street, founded in 1717 is the oldest Masonic Grand Lodge in the world

Henry VIII played tennis at Hampton Court in silk or velvet drawers (the first shorts) slashed with ‘cuttes’ and edges sewn with gold cord

Below the control box on a puffin crossing is a little ridged bobbin which swivels indicating to the visually impaired it’s safe to cross

A ‘Seven Dials Raker’ was a Victorian prostitute who lived in the vicinity of Seven Dials but plied her trade elsewhere in London

The oldest living thing in London is the 2,000-year-old Totteridge Yew in St. Andrew’s churchyard, which stands on the ‘Tott Ridge’

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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