Category Archives: London trivia

London Trivia: Deadly smog

On 4 December 1952, a deadly smog created by the smoke soot and sulfur dioxide from factories, cars and coal fires in local homes began to hover over London, which continued for four days, leading to the deaths of at least 4,000 people.

On 4 December 1947 the first Norway spruce was presented to London by way of gratitude for Britain’s support in World War II

Workhouse Rule 15: No person of either sex be allowed to smoke in bed or in any room of the house upon pain of being put in the dungeon 6 hours

London’s biggest private home is Witanhurst, on Highgate West Hill: 65 rooms, including 25 bedrooms, a gym and a library, and plans underground cinema, beauty parlour and car park

The Bethlehem Royal Hospital is world’s oldest institution specialising in mental health was founded in 1247 near Bishopsgate, in 1800 the hospital moved to Lambeth, it now houses the Imperial War Museum

Queen Victoria was offended when a 14-storey tower blocked her view of Houses of Parliament it led to a Bill capping all buildings to 80ft

The ArcelorMittal Orbit, a 115-metre-high (377 ft) sculpture and observation tower in the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London, is Britain’s largest piece of public art

London’s first sandwich bar, Sandy’s, opened in Oxendon Street in 1933, the greater informality of eating soon spread throughout the capital as the culture of fast-food was established

Spurs’ first competitive match was versus St Albans in the London Association Cup in 1885, Spurs won 5-2

Harry Beck’s map was considered too big a departure from the norm, but the public liked it and it became official in 1933

Founded in London in 1670, the Hudson’s Bay Company is the world’s oldest chartered company and Founded in 1694, the Bank of England was the first privately owned national bank in any country

During he 1920s and 1930s Aberdeen based shepherd George Donald would bring his flock down to Hyde Park grazing his sheep to keep grass level

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: Record Breaker shot

On 27 November 1975: Guinness Book of Records co-founder and editor Ross McWhirter was shot dead outside his Enfield home. The well-known author and BBC Record Breakers presenter had recently offered a reward of £50,000 for information leading to the arrest of IRA bombers.

On 27 October 2000 schoolboy Damilola Taylor died after being stabbed in the leg by a gang of hooded attackers in Peckham

The first man to wear a top hat in public caused so much hysteria and commotion in St James’ that he was arrested for disturbing the peace

London’s thoroughfares once had Thieving Lane; Whores Nest; Pissing Alley; Cutthroat Lane; Foul Lane; Blowbladder Street; and Cats Hole

Love them or loath them W. S. Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan operatic fame was born in London on 18 November 1836, S stands for Schwenck

When Napoleon was thinking of invading England his failed attempt was mocked by an unusual ale house sign: ‘My Arse in a Bandbox’

Established in 1902, Ealing Studios in West London are the oldest continuously working film studios in the world

Opened in 1652, Pasqua Rosee’s was the first coffee house in London located on St Michael’s Alley was burned down during the Great Fire 1666

In 1577 John Northbrooke’s Treatise deplored blasphemous swinge-bucklers, tossepots, loitering idle persons and the governing of football

In 1890 the City and South London Railway was the world’s first deep-level underground railway and the first railway to use electric traction

In 14th century London employed rakers to rake the excrement out of toilets, notably one Richard the Raker died by drowning in his own toilet

Margaret Thatcher went to the same Mayfair hairdresser, Evansky as Barbara Castle, while Thatcher sat in main area Castle had a private room

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: Windsor Castle fire

On 20 November 1992, a fierce fire raged through Windsor Castle, threatening one of the world’s greatest collections of art, the fire started in a private chapel on the first floor of the north-east wing and caused damage costing millions to repair.

On 20 November 1947 The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh were married in Westminster Abbey at 11.30am with 2000 invited guests

During the 1860s, London’s most notorious prison, Newgate, became a kind of theatre, visitors could tour the prison being briefly locked in a windowless cell was one of the highlights

On Blackfriars Bridge the side facing out to sea is decorated with marine birds, the inland side is adorned with freshwater birds

41 people drowned in 1867 after they decided to ignore warnings and skate on thin layer of ice on the lake in Regent’s Park

The City of London has never been under the authority of the monarch. The Queen may only enter the Square Mile of the City if she is given permission by the Lord Mayor

The bronze statue of Peter Pan was erected in Kensington Gardens in 1912. It marks the spot where J M Barrie first met Jack Llewellyn Davies, the boy who was the inspiration for Peter

By 1870 there were 20,000 public houses and beer shops in London, today according to the Campaign for Real Ale at least 10 are closing every week

The Oval held a particular attraction for the United States billionaire philanthropist, J. Paul Getty II, who built a replica of the ground at his estate at Wormsley Park in Buckinghamshire

London Heathrow Airport is the world’s busiest airports by international passenger traffic, and the third for total traffic

Over 800 members of staff are based at Buckingham Palace, some of the more unusual jobs include fendersmith, clockmaker and flagman

South Kensington is still sometimes referred to as ‘Little Paris’ the area is not only known for its Francophile bookshops but also its French doctors and dentists

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: The Thunderer returns

On 13 November 1979 The Times newspaper was published for the first time in nearly a year, following a dispute between management and unions over manning levels and the introduction of new technology. It was the first break in the production of the Times, known affectionately to its readers as “the Thunderer” since it was founded in 1788.

On 13 November 1969 Britain’s first live quintuplets born this century at Queen Charlotte’s maternity hospital. The five girls were born to Irene Hanson and her husband John from Rayleigh in Essex

An old police box aka TARDIS can be found outside Earl’s Court station. The same station that had the Underground’s first escalator on 4 October 1911

Records show that the site of OXO Tower, bought for £75,000 by the Leibig Extract of Meat Company in the 1920s, was once used as a butchery!

Charles II, encouraged by Nell Gwyn, founded Chelsea Royal Hospital in 1682 for injured Civil War veterans. Soldiers over the age of 65 may apply to become a Chelsea Pensioner

In 1796 a Commons Committee spent days debating a plan to dig a channel across the Isle of Dogs to save sailing time around the peninsular

In his study at Harrington Gardens SW7 W S Gilbert saw a Japanese sword fall from the wall and inspired him to write The Mikado

Piccadilly may take it’s name from Piccadilly Hall so called home of Robert Baker, a tailor who sold piccadillies, a form of collar or ruff

London has more professional football clubs than any other city in the world except Buenos Aires. In 2013 the Football Association celebrated the 150th anniversary of its formation in a tavern in Holborn

The average speed on the Underground is 20.5 miles per hour including station stops but on the Metropolitan Line trains can reach over 60mph

From his Wapping soap factory John Knight produced the famous Knight’s Castile soap, which won a medal at the Great Exhibition of 1851

In 1995 Holborn had a bizarre claim to fame as the most commonly mispronounced word in the English language. Remember the l is silent

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: Sex Pistols first gig

On 6 November 1975, the Sex Pistols gave their first public concert at a London art school but not surprisingly after only playing for ten minutes they were told to pack up and go home.

On 6 November 1963 British European Airways opened an air terminal on Cromwell Road, unfortunately it was some distance from the nearest Underground station.

It is illegal in London to have sex on a parked motorcycle, beat a carpet in a public park, or impersonate a Chelsea pensioner

The Ritz hotel in Piccadilly was built on a site previously occupied by The Old White Horse Cellar, one of the most famous coaching inns in London

The remains of a Roman teenage girl were unearthed during the construction of The Gherkin, she was reburied near where she was found

Lenin, during his time in London, enjoyed taking trips on the top decks of buses as a means of observing the proletariat

The Lanesborough Hotel had 3 original Reynolds and boasts the largest collection of 18th century paintings in the world outside any gallery

The Fox and Anchor-Smithfield and Market Porter-Borough are licensed to serve alcohol from 7am to fit in with the hours worked by market porters

Tennis legend Fred Perry is commemorated by to plaques in Ealing. His ashes are buried near his statute at Wimbledon

Just outside Temple Tube station is an original pre-Beck map in a glass case. (In other words its lines are bendy rather than straight.)

The only London-based gin distillery left today is Beefeater Gin, which is based on Kennington in the former Haywards pickle factory

The River Thames is two hundred and fifteen miles long, has 47 locks and carries some 300,000 tonnes of sediment a year

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.