London Trivia: Hibernian duel

On 22 August 1809 according to the London Gazette a duel took place in a field between Highgate and Hampstead Heath between two Hibernians, not by pugilism, but with cudgels, their national weapons. They fought for an hour and five minutes with the greater desperation until O’Reilly fell to the ground covered in contusions.

On 22 August 1854 magistrates spent three hours dealing with cases arising from the fair at Camberwell, including numerous children, as young as nine or ten, who were charged with pickpocketing

Robert Peel’s new Metropolitan Police Force nicknamed ‘Blue Devils’ wore blue to avoid confusion with the red coats of the army

St Bartholomew’s Hospital is the oldest hospital in London having been founded in 1123 by a monk named Rahere

Covent Garden is believed to be haunted by the ghost of William Terris who met an untimely death near the station in 1897

In 1966 Russian spy George Blake escaped Wormwood Scrubs and a 42 year stretch by making use of a ladder made of knitting needles

During World War II a branch of the Piccadilly line Holborn/Aldwych was closed and British Museum treasures were stored in the empty spaces

18th century Shepherd Market Mayfair was home to courtesan Kitty Fisher who, insulted by a low value note given for services given, ate it!

West Ham’s I’m forever blowing bubbles was inspired by trialist schoolboy Billy Murray who resembled the boy used to advertise Pears soap

When Paddington Underground Station, as the western terminus of London’s first underground, opened in January 1863 it was called Bishop’s Road

Marc Isambard Brunel came up with his idea on how to dig the Thames’ Tunnel whilst in debtors’ prison watching a shipworm bore through wood

In 1792 Lady Braddock and Mrs Elphinstone duelled Braddock’s hat got shot off and Elphinstone wounded in the arm by a sword – later they had tea

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.

6 thoughts on “London Trivia: Hibernian duel”

  1. William Terriss was a very popular and glamorous actor (1847-97). He was actually stabbed by the stage door of the Adelphi Theatre on the Strand. I wonder why he haunts Covent Garden station – it’s quite a stretch from the theatre! I once attempted to ‘meet’ him at Covent Garden station by using the stairs instead of the lift – no joy!


  2. I had read about Terris, knew about St Bart’s, and I was 14 when Blake escaped, so read sensational reports in the newspapers. Thanks for educating me about the rest.
    Cheers, Pete.


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