This month’s quiz is rather eclectic. I’ve posed these questions before so that should give you a fighting chance. As before the correct answer will turn green when it’s clicked upon and expanded to give more information. The incorrect answers will turn red giving the correct explanation.
Paris is a woman, but London is an independent man puffing his pipe in a pub.
Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), Lonesome Traveler
On 2 May 1997 at 43 years of age, Tony Blair became the youngest British prime minister since 1812 and moved into Downing Street. By September he attained early personal popularity, receiving a 93 per cent public approval rating, after his public response to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. After winning 3 terms he stepped down on 24 June 2007 for Gordon Brown, after his popularity had waned.
On 2 May 1952 the first jet airliner, Britain’s De Havilland Comet I, made its maiden flight from London Airport to Johannesburg
On 2 May 1905 at Old Bailey brothers Albert and Alfred Stratton became the first in Britain convicted of murder based on fingerprint evidence
English Heritage have recorded over 600 garden squares in London, more than 400 are protected by the London Squares Preservation Act of 1931
On 2 May 1975 Footballer David Beckham was born at Whipps Cross Hospital. He lived at 150 Norman Road, Leytonstone as young boy
On 2 May 1536 Mary Queen of Scots was sent to The Tower she was subsequently executed her little dog was later discovered under her skirts
In 1898 the Gramophone Company opened the first British studio on Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, producing some of the world’s earliest recordings
On 2 May 1953 Elizabeth II attended her first Wembley FA Cup Final as Queen. Blackpool beat Bolton 4-3. In February 2010 the boots worn by Stanley Matthews in the match were auctioned for £38,400
On 2 May 1964 West Ham won the FA Cup but as the Hammers celebrated manager Ron Greenwood and the disguised FA Cup headed home on the tube!
Described as ‘gloriously ugly’, with disgusting toilets and limited parking, Thurrock Services was voted the worst motorway stop in Britain
In 1855 Robert Yeates of 233 Hackney Road give us a dedicated tool for opening the tins. Before that the instructions had read: ‘Cut around the top near the outer edge with a chisel and hammer.’
On 2 May 1933 the Inverness Courier reported a London tourist sighting a strange spectacle in Loch Ness. The legend had begun
In 1947, as I lay in my cot ruminating upon what this life malarkey was all about, engineers in Chiswick were chewing their pencils over a new project.
During the war, Associated Equipment Company (AEC) had been given over to the manufacturer of parts for the Hadley Page Halifax Bomber and now this expertise was to be put to use. They copied the riveted aluminium fuselage of the wartime plane to create a bus that was considerably lighter than its predecessors, thus increasing its passenger capacity and economising on fuel. It could be assembled and taken apart with ease, much like Lego. The open platform enabled passengers to hop on and off the vehicle whenever it was stationary. Provision had been made for large pieces of luggage in a cubby hole beneath the stairs, and the conductor (there always was one) could stand in front of this recess away from alighting passengers. An innovation in mass transit vehicles was a heating system, the wheels had independent suspension, much needed with the post-war roads, and there was a fully automatic gearbox.
These vehicles along with the black cab defined London amongst the drab greys of the 1950s.
It was some time before the bus took to the roads, but by its launch in 1956 the years of research, design and planning was borne out and the iconic Routemaster was a great success.
Between 1954 and 1968 they built 2,875, so many vacancies were created to crew them London Transport actively recruited drivers and conductors from the West Indies, thus playing a part in immigration that was to transform and diversify London.
By the turn of the century, hundreds of Routemasters were still to be found on the streets of London, but their eventual demise can be traced back to a decision by the government in the 1960s, to pour money into British Leyland, in the hope of keeping the doomed business alive. The result, as AEC had been swallowed up by British Leyland, who now manufactured the successor to the Routemaster was a bus – as Boris Johnson as Mayor of London put it – having lorry engines and lorry gearboxes, more suited to carry 32 tons of gravel than a complement of passengers.
The Routemaster was the last bus on London’s streets to be built by Londoners, for Londoners, in London, and with specific regard to the needs of London passengers.
As I write this, Transport for London has announced that, due to a fall in demand, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 15H Heritage Route with the last 10-strong Routemasters running between Tower of Hill and Trafalgar Square will be withdrawn.
Featured image: 1959 AEC Routemaster bus – RM140 © London Bus Museum