Category Archives: London trivia

London Trivia: Tottenham own goal

On 23 January 1909 two anarchist Latvian immigrants snatched the wages from a factory in Tottenham, making their escape using first a tram, then a milk float and finally a greengrocers van, but could not force the horse into more than the slowest of ambles because they had omitted to release the brake, they killed PC William Tyler and 10-year-old Ralph Joscelyne. The robbers shot themselves rather than face the hangman.

On 23 January 1552 the 2nd version of Book of Common Prayer became mandatory in England, the Second Prayer Book of Edward VI, more radical than the first, was authorised by a second Uniformity Act

It is illegal in London to impersonate a Chelsea pensioner – the offence is still theoretically punishable by death

On 23 January 1571 The Royal Exchange was opened by Elizabeth I who awarded the building its royal title and license to sell alcohol

When King George VI died in 1952 the code ‘Hyde Park Corner’ was used to inform the Government of his death

On 23 January 1985 the proceedings of the House of Lords were televised for the first time – as with nowadays not many tuned in to watch

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

Almost every day at exactly one o’clock Oscar Wilde would sit down to lunch at the lavish Cafe Royal, 68 Regent Street

Footmen whose job was to run alongside carriages by 1700 were raced against each other for high stakes a pub in Mayfair is named after one

Colonel Pierpoint designed the world’s first ever traffic island in St James’s Street he tripped showing his creation and killed by a cab

Edward Turner, designer of Triumph motorcycles, the Ariel Square Four and the Daimler V8 engine once lived at 87 Rye Hill Park, Southwark

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

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: Defending one’s honour

On 16 January 1668, Samuel Pepy’s would write of a duel ‘. . . when the Duke of Buckingham . . . is a fellow of no more sobriety than to fight about a whore’. The incident recorded a duel between George Duke of Buckingham who had taken a mistress Anna Brudenell Countess of Shrewsbury and her husband Francis Talbot 11th Earl of Shrewsbury. Talbot was mortally wounded, dying two months later.

On 16 January 1661 King Charles II appointed Henry Bishop as the country’s first Postmaster General he introduced postmarks usually on the back of the letter used in the Chief Office in London

In 1840 butler Francis Courvoisier was hanged for cutting his master’s throat later P.G. Wodehouse wrote about Jeeves next door in Dunraven Street

Ely Place a little cul-de-sac by Holborn Circus is not part of London but an enclave of Cambridgeshire for the Bishops of Ely

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

During World War II and the Nazi occupation of Holland Queen Wilhelmina moved her Dutch government into her London home at 77 Chester Square, Belgravia

Dr Fu Manchu, Chinese master criminal created by writer Sax Rohmer was as a result of his encounter with a Chinese man in foggy Limehouse

The world’s first magazine, The Gentleman’s Magazine, began publication with the January 1731 issue and was printed at St John’s Gate, in Clerkenwell

Millwall is the only football club in the top 4 divisions whose name, when written in capitals, requires no curved lines

In the 1800s the slang for a cabbie was Jervey a dubious derivation in the OED is: jarvey ‘from a coachman named Jarvis who was hanged’

In 1953 Fashion designer Laura Ashley started her business in her flat at 83 Cambridge Street, Pimlico where she hand printed fabrics

There are over 23,500 jewels at the Tower of London. The total value of the jewels is estimated to exceed £20 billion

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: Hezza hops it

On 9 January 1986 Michael Heseltine quit as Defence Secretary in a row with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher he flounced out of a meeting at Number 10 saying his views on the future of the Westland Helicopter Company were being ignored. The final straw came when Mrs Thatcher insisted all Heseltine’s public comments on Westland would have to be vetted by officials before release.

On 9 January 1864 the first ‘official’ exhibition football game under FA Rules was at Battersea Park, players were selected by the FA

’Monkey Suckers’ perfected the art of drilling into barrels stored at East End docks then using tube to suck out a bottle, or two, of rum

The lions heads along Victoria and Albert Embankments are a Victorian flood warning system – hence ‘When the lions drink, London will sink’

Both Elizabeth I and Henry VIII were born at the Palace of Placentia in Greenwich, Sir Walter Raleigh was said to have thrown his cloak over a puddle here to prevent Queen Elizabeth getting her feet wet

During the war, special supply trains ran, providing seven tonnes of food and 2,400 gallons of tea and cocoa every night to people staying in the Tube

On 9 January 1951 the first film to receive an X certificate from the British Board of Censors opened in London called Life Begins Tomorrow

If you lunch or dine at the Garrick Club, at the end of the meal the waiter brings in a silver box filled with charcoal biscuits. Why?

Fulham FC are the oldest professional football club in London having been derived from St Andrew’s Church team

On the 9 January 1863 the world’s first underground train travelled its 3.5 mile maiden journey from Paddington to Farringdon

Founded in London by English royal charter in 1670, the Hudson’s Bay Company is the world’s oldest chartered company

On 9 January 1768 the first modern circus was staged in London by Philip Astley following the success of his invention of the circus ring

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: Churchill’s finest hour

On 2 January 1911, a botched attempt by Latvian thieves at Houndsditch jewellers and a gunfight resulted in the death of a police officer. They made their escape with its leader the well-known anarchist Peter The Painter and holed up at 100 Sidney Street. A gun battle ensued between 200 police and the fugitives. Home Secretary Winston Churchill was filmed directing police in the operation to apprehend the criminals.

On 2 January 1954 Eddie Calvert started a 9 week run at No.1 with Oh, Mein Papa, the first No.1 to be recorded at Abbey Road Studios

Moll Flanders Daniel Defoe described Newgate Prison as ‘that horrible place’, he should know he was imprisoned there in 1703

You can find Britain’s smallest police station, designed in 1926 to monitor demonstrations, in the south-east corner of Trafalgar Square

In 1906 Messrs Spillberg, Nabian and Aaroris of Nelson Street, Stepney were convicted of smuggling saccharin which then was considered a drug

In 1938 it was found the Woolsack in House of Lords actually contained horsehair rather than wool – it was duly rectified

The on-set voice of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey was provided by a crew member, so the actor playing Dave had to respond to broad Cockney

Did you know: Cafe Rouge originally launched (in Richmond, 1984) as Cafe Bleu, but then switched colour?

The longest Rugby drop goal (85 yards) was kicked by Gerry Brand for South Africa against England at Twickenham on 2 January 1932

When Paddington Underground Station, as the western terminus of London’s first underground, opened in January 1863 it was called Bishop’s Road

Fortnum and Mason’s head of bakery is known as ‘Groom of the Pastry’ a tradition dating back two centuries

On 2 January 1608 Limehouse sea-captain Christopher Newport and Virginia settlers arrived in Jamestown, Virginia onboard the Susan Constant

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: Olympia opens

On 26 December 1886, Olympia opened, it was the country’s longest covered show centre. A suite was tacked onto the north side was named the Prince’s Apartments, and was reputedly for Prince Edward’s dalliances.

One hundred years ago on 26 December 1910 the London Palladium was opened – headlining was an actor playing scenes from Shakespeare

Parliament’s jail was last used in 1880 imprisoning atheist Charles Bradlaugh for refusing taking oath of allegiance to the Queen on a Bible

The City of London is the historical core of the English capital. It roughly matches the boundaries the Roman city of Londinium

8 people drowned and 15 buildings were destroyed in the Great London Beer Flood of 1814, a brewery vat burst just behind what is now New Oxford Street and 30,000 gallons of beer flooded the area

As early as 1841 The House of Commons gained its first Asian member when David Ochterlony Dyce Sombre became an MP

The rusty bollards on Bellenden Road were sculpted by Antony Gormley whose studio is nearby, 4 shapes oval, snowman, peg and err . . . penis

Soho was once home to a shop called ‘Anything Left Handed’ selling – you’ve guessed it – household products specifically designed for left-handed people, it is now closed

The 1908 London Olympics 400m final American John Carpenter blocked Wyndham Halswelle, disqualified the other American finalists then refused to re-race, Halswelle jogged alone round the track taking gold

Established in 1890, the City and South London Railway was the first deep-level underground railway in the world, also the first major railway to use electric traction, it became the Northern Line

Clerkenwell was famous for its gin distilleries – Stone’s, Tanqueray’s & Gordon’s – setting up here, they were probably attracted to the region as thirsty cattle drovers passed by en route to Smithfield

Prince Albert did not introduce the first Christmas tree into London, the first was Queen Charlotte, consort of George III, wanting to recreate the German Christmases of her childhood

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.