London Trivia: Planting the first seed

On 7 March 1804, the Royal Horticultural Society was formed by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood. Its first meeting chaired by John Wedgwood was held at Hatchards bookshop in Piccadilly, committed the society to ‘the encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture’. The Society’s first garden was in Kensington, from 1818–1822. Wisley is now the society’s oldest garden.

On 7 March 1895 out of work plasterer Frank Taylor from Fountain Road, Tooting murdered his wife, and six of his seven children by slitting their throats

Until 1886 City of London police used rattles not whistles, helmets were strengthened top hats, so could stand on them to look for villans

Dukes Hotel, once part of St. James’s Palace, has knee height locks on doors because the staff used to have to enter and exit whilst bowing

The finest dentures of 19th-century London contained real human teeth, some gleaned from casualties of the Battle of Waterloo

Parliament’s jail was last used in 1880 imprisoning atheist Charles Bradlaugh for refusing taking oath of allegiance to the Queen on a Bible

Douglas Adams based characters of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe on Islington where he lived, Hotblack Desiato was an estate agent

Until recently Londoners consumed a prodigious amount of champagne, by volume they equalled the entire amount exported by France to America

London Fives is a dartboard game with 12 large segments counting down from 505, players standing 9ft away. Henry VIII was said to play it

The term ‘tube’ was first coined in 1890 when the first deep level electric line was commissioned 17 years before the brand name was adopted

When John Noakes climbed Nelson’s Column (removing pigeon poo) for Blue Peter a sound engineer didn’t record the stunt Noakes had to reclimb

On 7 March 1926 the first transatlantic telephone call was made between London and New York, the following year it was available with an initial capacity of one at a time costing $75 for 3 minutes

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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