London Trivia: A Dickens of a prison

On 2 April 1884 Marshalsea Prison the last of London’s debtors prisons closed. A parliamentary committee reported in 1729 that 300 inmates had starved to death within a three-month period. The prison became known around the world through the writings of Charles Dickens, whose father was sent there in 1824 for a debt to a baker. Dickens was forced to leave school at the age of twelve for a job in a blacking factory in order to help keep his family at the Marshalsea.

On 2 April 1962 The 1st Panda crossing was opened in York Road near Waterloo Station The crossings were abandoned as they were too confusing

Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain after being convicted of the murder of her lover, David Blakely, once lived at 44 Egerton Gardens, Ealing

It’s believed as long as there’s ravens at the Tower of London Britain will be safe from invasion a Raven Master still looks after the birds

Owner of the Titanic, Joseph Bruce Ismay, was buried at Putney Vale Cemetery in 1937, 25 years after surviving the disaster

A London by-law of 1351 prohibited boys (girls were presumably exempt) from playing practical jokes on Members of Parliament

The Lanesborough Hotel had three original Reynolds and boasts the largest collection of 18th century paintings in the world outside any gallery

During the Great Exhibition 827,280 male visitors paid 1d each to use the ‘Reading Rooms’, giving rise to the expression ‘to spend a penny’

Sir Jack Hobbs, the first professional cricketer to be knighted, lived at 17 Englewood Road, Clapham, known as ‘The Master’, he is regarded by critics as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket

Heathrow’s Terminal 4 has gates 12 and 14 at opposite ends of the building, so superstitious travellers wouldn’t notice the absence of gate 13

Isaac Newton lived at 87 Jermyn Street, St. James when he worked at the Royal Mint where he was tasked with prosecuting counterfeiters

TV cables at Buckingham Palace were installed by a ferret the narrow underground duct meant luring the animal with bacon whilst attached to a line

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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