On 5 December 1952, the Great Smog of 1952, formed by a sharp cold snap, lack of wind and a combination of industrial and domestic smoke, engulfed London for four days, resulting in the death of upwards of 12,000 people.
On 5 December 1766 thirty-six-year-old James Christie held his first auction sale in London
Thief-Taker General Jonathan Wild sent more than 120 men to the gallows but was hanged at Tyburn for running gangs of thieves
When Camden’s Egyptian style cigarette factory opened in 1927 the road was filled with sand and opera singers performed Aida
In 1907 William Whiteley was shot dead in his Bayswater store by a young man claiming to be his illegitimate son
When Napoleon was thinking of invading England his failed attempt was mocked by an unusual ale house sign: ‘My Arse in a Bandbox’
The Grapes, Limehouse was the inspiration for Charles Dickens’ ‘Six Jolly Fellowship Porters’ in Our Mutual Friend
On 5 December 1863 at Freemasons Arms, Great Queen Street modern footy was codified, Freemasons Arms, Long Acre displays old football boots
Queen Victoria’s husband, Albert, saved the Oval cricket ground from closure only six years after it opened, desperate for funds they had considered adding poultry shows to the venue’s activities
Before CrossRail was named the Elizabeth line, Belsize Park was the only part of the London Underground to use a Z in its name
Wall’s Sausages used to be located at 113 Jermyn Street, where the meat for their products was ground by a donkey operating a treadmill
‘Hobson’s Choice’ comes from the livery stable owner Thomas Hobson who would drive from Cambridge to the Bull Inn, Bishopsgate Street
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: The Great Smog”
I was 10 months old at the time of the big London smog. Years later, my parents were still talking about it.
I lived close to the Black Cat (former cigarette factory) building in Camden, one of my favourite buildings in London. I love the Art Deco style.
Yes I can remember being sent home from school, and we lived in leafy north London suburbia, it was that bad.
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