On 22 May 1896, a 300ft high Ferris wheel installed at Earls Court with 40 cars, furnished with easy chairs and settees for first-class passengers, stopped at around 9pm. Most of the passengers spent the night aboard, the passengers were finally released at 7am the next morning, they were recompensed with a £5 note each!
On 22 May 1659 the earliest known cheque was drawn on bankers Clayton & Morris in Cornhill for £10 later auctioned at Sotheby’s for £1,300
William Wallace, commemorated in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, was the first to suffer the ignominious fate of being hanged, drawn and quartered
The oldest church in the City All Hallows by the Tower was founded in 675 the undercroft has Roman pavement dating from the 2nd century
Tube has a unique species of mosquito identified by Queen Mary and Westfield College it feeds off rats and humans is unable to breed with other species
The night before the 1911 census suffragette Emily Davison hid in a cupboard in the House of Commons so she could claim that was her address
Eric Morecambe comic advice to Denis Norden was that there are two words with which you can’t go wrong: “kippers” and “Cockfosters”
Simpson’s-in-the-Strand was known as the home of chess, its serving practise-wheeling food out under silver domes-originates avoiding disturbing a game of chess
The Surbiton Club hired a ‘marker’ for its billiard room with an allowance of 18 gallons on beer a month, the first recruit, unsurprisingly was sacked for drunkenness
In cockney rhyming slang the Underground is known as the Oxo (Cube/ Tube), and there are only two tube station names that contain all five vowels: Mansion House, and South Ealing
By 1883 Fleet Street’s newspapers produced 15 morning dailies, 9 evening papers and 383 weekly publications, of which 50 were local rags
Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, was so taken with the Lambeth Walk that he hired an English girl to teach him the dance in Milan
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.
3 thoughts on “London Trivia: Held aloft”
£5 was a lot of money in 1896. My dad earned less than that a week when I was born.
I just checked, and the equvalent value in 2022 is £500.
That’s not bad for spending a night under the stars. Oh yes! I earned £5 per week when I started work.
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