London Trivia: Frozen Thames

On 20 December 1688, according to Samuel Pepys’ diary, a very violent frost began which lasted until 6 February. Its extremity was so great that the pools were frozen at least 18in thick. The Thames was also so frozen that a great street from Temple to Southwark was built with shops and all manner of things were sold. There was also bull-baiting and a great many shows and tricks to be seen. London would see many more freezes.

On 20 December 1606 Virginia Company settlers left London to establish Jamestown Virginia, on board were 105 men, including 40 soldiers

Bricks from the world’s first modern prison, Millbank Penitentiary, demolished in 1892 were used to build Millbank Estate, Westminster

London’s City Hall at Tower Bridge is nicknamed ‘The Testacle’ and the Swiss Re: Building in the City is known as ‘The Erotic Gherkin’

In 1829, with London running out of space to bury its dead, architect Thomas Wilson proposed building a 94-storey pyramid on Primrose Hill, interning 5 million corpses

Playwright Richard Sheridan first described The Bank of England as “The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street” in a 1797 Commons speech

Charles Dickens based the haunted doorknocker seen by Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol on one he had seen in Craven Street

In December 1662 ice skating was first seen in St. James’s Park when exiled cavaliers from Holland donned their skates on the frozen lake

Dulwich and Sydenham Hill Golf Club is the closest 18-hole golf course to the City of London at 5 miles distant

Savoy Place leading to The Savoy Hotel is the only 2-way street in England that you must by law drive on the right hand side of the road

There is a gasholder in Southall with the letters ‘LH’ and a large arrow painted on it to guide pilots towards Heathrow airport

For £750,000 you can buy the remains of the Grade II Baltic Exchange damaged by the IRA and now stored in a Kent barn, the Gherkin replaced it

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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