All posts by Gibson Square

A Licensed Black London Cab Driver I share my London with you . . . The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

London in Quotations: Wendy Steiner

London is a museum world, and the museum, like the cathedral or the palazzo in their day, is the dominant symbol of our postmodern times. A museum is an imposing assemblage of bits and pieces, history for attention-deficit amnesiacs.

Wendy Steiner (b.1949), The Scandal of Pleasure: Art in an Age of Fundamentalism

London Trivia: Held aloft

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

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.

London in Quotations: Leo Hollis

London is a city that has reinvented itself upon the remains of the past.

Leo Hollis (b.1972), London Rising: The Men Who Made Modern London

London Trivia: Square bullets for Turks

On 15 May 1718 James Puckle patented a revolver type of firearm, it was ‘a portable gun or machine that discharges so often and so many bullets, and be so quickly loaded as renders it next to impossible to carry any ship by boarding’. The unusually clear drawings showed an early machine gun. His specifications were that round bullets be used on Christians and square ones on Turks.

On 15 May 1855 three London companies, sent a 91kg box of gold bars from London Bridge station to Paris. On arrival in Paris, the boxes only contained lead

In 1517 ‘Evil May Day’ saw riots against traders from Flanders, Italy and France led by John Lincoln he and other ringleaders were later hanged

Christopher Wren had originally wanted a stone pineapple on the dome of St Paul’s he saw them as a symbol of peace and hospitality

The first baby to be born on the underground was born at Elephant and Castle in 1924, she was named Marie Cordery

Harold Wilson lived at 5 Lord North Street, during his last term serving as Prime Minister spurning the official residence in Downing Street

With over 45 million visitors since it opened in May 2000 Tate Modern has become the most visited modern art gallery in the world

Waterstone’s Piccadilly London’s largest bookshop claims to be Europe’s biggest, 6 floors, over 8 miles of shelves, with over 200,000 titles

Henry VIII played tennis at Hampton Court in silk or velvet drawers (the first shorts) slashed with ‘cuttes’ and edges sewn with gold cord

As Princess Elizabeth, the Queen travelled on the Underground for the first time in May 1939, when she was 13 years old, with her governess Marion Crawford and Princess Margaret

One of the Crossrail tunnelling machines is named Phyllis, in honour of Phyllis Pearsall who invented London’s A to Z map

London’s Camden Square has twice returned Britain’s highest recorded temperatures May 1949 – 29.4C and in June 1957 – 35.6C

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.

London in Quotations: H. V. Morton

Behind everything in London is something else, and, behind that, is something else still; and so on through the centuries, so that London as we see her is only the latest manifestation of other Londons, and to lover her is to plunge into ancestor-worship.

H. V. Morton (1892-1979), In Search of London