Category Archives: London trivia

London Trivia: First cheque

On 8 December 1660, the earliest extant cheque held by the Bank of England Museum is for £200 and was drawn by Vanacker on his account with Clayton & Morris. They were the leading bankers of the Restoration, with offices at Cornhill, their business was centred in the private market of lending money to landowners, a unique contribution to banking history integrating the mortgage as a form of long-term security for banking loans.

On 8 December 1995 head teacher Philip Lawrence was stabbed to death outside St George’s Roman Catholic School, Maida Vale, while protecting a pupil who was being assaulted

Watchhouse Coffee Shop, Bermondsey Street is a room where Victorian police once spied on grave robbers it overlooked an affluent graveyard

At 103 Borough High Street once stood the Queen’s Head Inn owned by the Harvard Family, the ones that set up Harvard University in the USA

Inventor of the pedestrian refuge Colonel Pierpoint left his club in St James’s Street stepped back to admire his work was run over by a cab

At the base of Big Ben is a cell to incarcerate any agitators causing trouble in The Houses of Parliament last used for Emmeline Pankhurst

On 8 December 1660 a Mrs. Hughes scandalised the public becoming the first woman actor to take to the stage in London

From 1934 to 1971 with the blessing of George V 1,500 bargeloads of sand were dumped by Tower of London creating at beach attracting 100,000

Laid out in the 1980s the Wood Lane Estate, Sudbury Hill has 11 streets named after sportspeople: Lilian Board Way; Mary Peters Drive etc

Maida Vale was the first Tube station to be manned without men – opened in 1915 with an all-female staff because of the First World War

The Greenwich Time Ball has several dents after renovations, builders assumed the historic ball was for the skip and played football with it

On 8 December 1954 a huge tornado ripped through Chiswick, Gunnersbury, Acton, Golders Green and Southgate

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 Trivia: Hyde Park sold

On 1 December 1652 the Act of Parliament which ordered the sale of the Crown lands, after the execution of Charles I excepted Hyde Park from its provisions, but on this day it became the subject of a special resolution namely, ‘That Hyde Park be sold for ready money’. The Park’s sale realised £17,068 2s. 8d. The purchasers of the three lots were Richard Wilson, John Lacey, and Anthony Deane.

On 1 December 1930 Matt Munro was born Terence Edward Parsons in Shoreditch. He also sang as Terry Fitzgerald, Al Jordan and Fred Flange

Traitors’ Gate at the Tower of London is not the original, in the 19th century they were sold to a Whitechapel shopkeeper for 15/-

Original Waterloo Bridge was to be named Strand Bridge, during construction the famous victory over Bonaparte took place so Waterloo it was

Just below Tower Bridge, marked by a sign, is ‘Dead Man’s Hole’ where bodies thrown into the river from the Tower and surrounding districts were retrieved and stored in a mortuary before burial

The Imperial War Museum has sections of the original Berlin Wall outside in the gardens, a stark piece of history that anyone can visit

London’s smallest statute in Philpot Lane is a lifesize mouse. It depicts the mouse that would regularly eat the builder’s lunch in 1700

You can drink a Churchill Martini at Browns Hotel where the war leader frequented. It’s rumoured they built a bomb shelter for his use

In 1879 rugby club Saracens named after mediaeval Muslim warriors merged with a club called the Crusaders

On 23 December 1865 Aldersgate Street Tube Station opened. It wasn’t until 1 December 1968 that it was renamed Barbican

Threadneedle Street was once part of the medieval red-light district of London and, as the haunt of prostitutes, rejoiced (if that is the right word) in the name of ‘Gropecuntelane’

The Old Kent Road is the only Monopoly property located south of the River and likewise Whitechapel is the only east London property

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 Trivia: Farrokh Bulsara dies

On 24 November 1991 Farrokh Bulsara better known as Freddie Mercury died at his home at 1 Logan Place. The Queen lead singer died from bronchial pneumonia from AIDS. Mercury was diagnosed with HIV in 1987 but kept his condition private until he released a public statement just a little over 24 hours before he passed away just 45 years old. The outer walls of his house have become a shrine to Mercury.

On 24 November 1434 a severe frost began continuing until 10 February. During the freeze the Thames froze over

On 24 November 1740 William Duell was hanged at Tyburn, bought to Surgeon’ Hall, he recovered before dissection and was transported for life

Having the world’s first failsafe system, raised 1,000 times a year taking 90 secs Tower Bridge has to give precedence to shipping over road

According to The Secret History of London Clubs from 1709, a Mr. Crumpton invited those in the final stage of syphilis, which destroys bone and tissue, to join the ‘No-Nose’d Club’ in the Dog Tavern

Ships surmounting lamposts on The Mall depict Nelson’s fleet who defeated the French and his statue faces towards his fleet in Portsmouth

On 24 November 1952 Agatha Christie’s story The Mousetrap reached the West End, it is still running and is now the world’s longest continual play

The Grade II listed chapel at Claybury Hospital, Woodford Green, a former asylum, has been converted into Virgin Active’s swimming pool

In June 1939 92,000 watched the greyhound racing Derby at White City, only football and cinema drew larger audiences during the 1930s

The Tube is the world’s oldest underground with 290 miles of track and 275 stations were each visited in 16 hours, 20 minutes and 27 seconds by Geoff Marshall and Anthony Smith in 2013

After the Wall Street Crash Buckingham Palace ordered five Daimler Double-Six limousines to help unemployment in the Midlands

The Constable of The Tower of London is entitled to 4p for an animal falling into the moat and all livestock which fall from London Bridge

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 Trivia: Religious zealot

On 17 November 1558 England’s first Queen, Mary I died. She is best known for her aggressive attempt to reverse the English Reformation. During her five-year reign, Mary had over 280 religious dissenters burned at the stake in the Marian persecutions, in her pursuit of the restoration of Roman Catholicism in England and Ireland which led to her denunciation as ‘Bloody Mary’ by her Protestant opponents.

On 17 November 1750 at midnight Westminster Bridge opened to pedestrians and horses to the sound of drums, cannons and trumpets

In 1961 after crashing his Rolls-Royce in London Lord Derby successfully escaped prosecution claiming the long bonnet obstructed his view

The last thatched cottage in inner London survived in the Paddington area until 1890s when it was demolished for St. David’s Welsh Church

Captain Thomas Coram appalled by the number of abandoned babies set up the world’s first incorporated charity in 1739 the Foundling Hospital

The world’s oldest military corps is the Queen’s Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard officially founded in 1485

The Cranbrook Estate, Bethnal Green was used as a location for Lew and Andy’s flat on TV show Little Britain

Peach Melba created at the Savoy for soprano Nellie Melba used her favourite ingredients to reduce the cold of ice cream on her vocal cords

Wembley London’s largest stadium’s roof covers 90,000 spectators during match days, at other times remain open giving sunlight for the turf

On 17 November 1876 Aldgate tube station opened, the station features in the Sherlock Holmes’ mystery The Adventure of Bruce-Partington Plans

Cabbies face a daily £1 fine should he take two consecutive days off ‘without just cause’ according to The London Hackney Carriages Act 1853

Fleet Street hack Woodrow Wyatt when asked by a French hotelier to spell his name replied Waterloo-Ypes-Agincourt-Trafalgar-Trafalgar

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 Trivia: Lady Chatterley’s Lover

On 10 November 1960 after a six-day trial at the Old Bailey in which the prosecution was unable to make a substantial case against Penguin wishing to publish sexually explicit Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence, Foyle’s sold 300 copies in just 15 minutes taken orders for 3,000 more copies; Hatchards in Piccadilly sold out in 40 minutes and also had hundreds of orders pending; and Selfridge’s sold 250 copies in minutes.

On 10 November 1913 John Richard Archer was elected as Mayor of Battersea, the first mixed-race man to become a mayor in London

The Seamens’ and Soldiers’ False Characters Act 1903 makes it an offence to walk London’s streets in military fancy dress – fine £500

The Savoy was the first hotel with electric lifts known at the time as ascending rooms – it boasted en-suite rooms with hot and cold water

Postman’s Park near the site of the old General Post Office has a memorial to those dying – many of them children – trying to save others

On 16 September 2010 the Pope visited London and became only the second Pontiff to have visited England since the Reformation

In 1925 George Gershwin’s premier performance of Rhapsody in Blue was broadcast from the Savoy Hotel by the BBC

Princess Elizabeth (before becoming Queen) was first seen with Philip Mountbatten in public at the recently re-opened Savoy Hotel in 1946

Battersea Park was one of the first to have a grass tennis court, by 1963 there were 2,918 tennis courts across London, today 1,000 remain

North End (nicknamed Bull and Bush) Station on Northern Line between Hampstead/Golders Green closed in 1907 before seeing a single passenger

Horse drawn Hansom Cabs gained a renaissance in the Great War as petrol cabs slumped by 60% due to petrol shortages – 1947 saw the last horse

When opened in 1928 the owners of the Piccadilly Theatre claimed that the bricks used if laid end to end would stretch from London to Paris

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.