London Trivia: Europe’s first travelator

On 27 September 1960 Europe’s first travelator was ceremonially opened. Bank Station, which had been in service since late Victorian times had only one exit down a sloping corridor. By the 1930s the increased passenger volumes had made its use impractical. The war and post-war austerity had stopped the project, finally construction began in 1957 taking three years for completion.

On 27 September 1968 the musical Hair, containing nudity and drug-taking, opened after the abolition of theatre censorship, ending the Lord Chamberlain’s powers of censorship dating back to 1737

In 1736 gravedigger Thomas Jenkins received 100 lashes for selling dead bodies from St Dunstan & All Saints, Stepney High Street

There are still 1,600 operating gas lamps in London examples are found in the charming Goodwin’s Court, Covent Garden

During the Great Fire of London in 1666, charred leaves of burning books were blown as far as Acton, an astonishing 20 miles distant

On 27 September 1940 during the Blitz, an astonishing 117,000 people slept sheltering in the Underground, authorities had tried to ban the public at night from the stations

First crafted in 1951, James Bond’s aftershave was Floris No. 89 – so-named because Floris’s shop is at 89 Jermyn Street, Mayfair

As a bet, Lord Lyttleton slept in the attic of 50 Berkeley Square in 1872, with his shotgun, he apparently fired his gun at several apparitions throughout the night

London has more functioning public baths and indoor pools that date from prior to 1939 than any city in the world – 18 public; and 5 private

The Victoria Line that runs between Brixton and Walthamstow Central, and is coloured light blue on the Tube map, is one of only two lines on the Underground that is completely underground

On Albert Bridge, a sign asks soldiers to break step as synchronised marching caused too much vibration! Wags change the sign to ‘break wind’

Gas street lights widely used in 1850 each with a luminousity of a 25 watt bulb, but by the 1930s only half of London’s streets had electric

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: Completing Hitler’s work

On 20 September 1991, the church of St. James Garlickhythe, was almost demolished when a 170ft crane crashed through the roof. Having survived the Blitz, narrowly escaping a 500lb bomb which failed to explode. The church’s name ‘Hythe’ is Saxon for landing place it was London’s most important Hythe. Garlic, a vital preservative, and medicine in the Middle Ages was unloaded here and probably traded on Garlick Hill.

On 20 September 2005 Battersea Bridge was struck by a gravel-laden barge causing significant damage and closing it for repair

In the early 1900s police used the ‘Bischoffsheim’ hand ambulance, basically a long handcart, to move awkward prisoners to the station

Westminster Cathedral (the Catholic one on Victoria Street, not the Abbey) contains 12 million bricks – two million more than the Empire State Building

St. Thomas’s, a medieval foundation, had to move to make way for a railway line; its new site was beside the Thames, where the air was now pure

“The dreadful truth is that when people come to see their MP they have run out of better ideas” – Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

The chimes of Big Ben broadcast by the BBC every evening since 1923 are live, transmitted via a microphone hidden behind the famous clock

The Penderel’s Oak PH, High Holborn is named after yeoman farmer, Richard Penderel, who helped King Charles I escape by hiding him in a wood

Before 1914 corner pavilions were common in British clubs. Fulham FC’s ‘The Cottage’ which opened in 1905 is the sole survivor

Victoria Line the world’s first full-scale automatic railway enables a driver to close doors travel to next station at the push of a button

The Swiss Re: or Gerkin Tower’s upper windows can only be cleaned by steeplejacks absailing by ropes from a trapdoor in the roof

A Cockney is defined as being born within the sound of the bells of St Mary-le-Bow Church, Cheapside in The City of London not East London

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: Britain’s biggest heist

On 13 September 1971 a theft from Lloyds Bank on Baker Street was reported by the media. The £3 million robbery, the largest ever in Britain, had taken place the previous Saturday. The robbers had tunnelled a distance of approximately 50 feet passing under the intervening Chicken Inn restaurant. Three days later a ‘D’ Notice requested all further media coverage was suspended until the trial of four men in 1973.

On 13 September 1958 Collins’s Music Hall on Islington Green was badly damaged by fire, Waterstones now stands on the site

In 1999 a man tested his right as a Freeman of the City of London to drive two sheep named Clover and Little Man, across London Bridge

79 Pall Mall is the only building in the street not owned by the Crown. Charles II gave Nell Gwynn the freehold after she refused its lease

From the lower office windows of 16 Farringdon Lane can be seen the original medieval medicinal drinking water of ‘Clerks Well’ from which Clerkenwell takes its name

On 13 September 1940 at 11 am, Buckingham Palace was damaged by German bombs during the second of three daylight raids on London that day

Lambeth Bridge’s statutes symbolise human virtue: for men ironworking building working honour; for women agriculture housework cooking power

The oldest baths building in London which still serves the needs of a functioning swimming pool is the entrance block of Forest Hill Baths

Britain’s earliest supplier of rackets balls in the 19th century Mr Maling of Woolwich learnt his craft as an inmate at King’s Bench Prison

In 1989 a version of the famous FX-4 London taxi went on sale in Japan badged as the ‘Big Ben Novelty Car’, no records exist as to the number of buyers

During World War I a giant postal sorting office was located in Regent’s Park handling 2 billion letters in the world’s largest wooden structure

London has a population density ten times higher than anywhere else in Britain with its residents speaking over 300 languages

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: Inconvenient apparel

On 6 September 1889, a letter to the Editor of The Times was published, the correspondent pointed out the inconvenience to a gentleman of the errant low hanging awning rods outside shops. The gentlemen in question complained that on occasion his hat was actually knocked off his head, and at night further obstructions were placed in the way of his headgear, in the shape of lights being hung at unreasonable heights.

On 6 September 1828 the Gothic House for llamas, presented by the Duke of Bedford was opened, he was President of the Zoological Society of London from 1899 to 1936

Buckingham House built 1702 which would later become Buckingham Palace was built on the site of a notorious brothel

A ‘tot’ was an artificial Celtic beacon hill arranged along solstice lines London’s most famous tot hill was Westminster hence Fields and Street

On 6 September 1921 an inquest ruled that 63-year-old retired French cook, Joseph Enecker, had shot himself after suffering hiccups for 48 hours

Pear Tree Court on Lunham Road has an 18-room nuclear bunker in the basement, now closed as Lambeth declared the borough nuclear free

165 Broadhurst Gardens was home to Decca Records until the early 1980s, on 1 January 1962, Brian Epstein paid for an hour audition for The Beatles, but they were turned down by Decca

Bleeding Heart Yard is almost certainly derived from an ancient religious symbol later adopted by a tavern which once stood on the site

On 6 September 1913 Arsenal played their first game at Highbury, 20,000 watched the Gunners beat Leicester Fosse 2-1

Building the tunnels for the first section of the District Line (South Kensington to Westminster, 1868) used 140 million bricks

Until Edward VIII changed the rules in 1936, Beefeaters at The Tower of London were required to sport a beard

Dulwich College founded in 17th century by actor Edward Alleyn has famous alumni including PG Wodehouse and Ernest Shackleton

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: Notting Hill riot

On 30 August 1976, the Notting Hill Carnival ended in a riot, with more than 100 police officers taken to the hospital and 60 carnival-goers needing hospital treatment after the clashes which led to the arrest of at least 66 people. The trouble started after police tried to arrest a pickpocket near Portobello Road on the main carnival route. The police were attacked with stones and other missiles, however only two were convicted.

On 30 August 1572 Elizabeth I issued a decree: ‘no foteball player be used or suffered within the City of London and the liberties thereof on pain of imprisonment’

Transport for London Byelaw 10(2): No person shall enter through any train door until any person leaving by that door has passed through it!

Once Britain’s largest enclosed space, if measured, the air within the Albert Hall would weigh in at over 30 tons

John St. John Long appeared at the Old Bailey on a charge of manslaughter, his victim dosing on his medicated vapours, he paid the £13,000 fine from his vast wealth accululated from selling quack remedies

The Dorchester was seen as safe during the Blitz it is built using 2,000 miles of steel rods, a host of political and military luminaries chose it as their London residence

St. George Church, Mayfair designed by John James, one of Sir Christopher Wren’s assistants, when completed in 1725 was the first church in London to be built with a portico

There are three tube stations on the Monopoly board: Liverpool Street Station, King’s Cross and Marylebone

On 30 August 1930 the first Dutchman to play in the English Football league Gerrit Keizer made his goalkeeping debut for Arsenal

Underground’s longest tunnel is from East Finchley to Morden totalling 17.3 miles but only 45 per cent of the network is actually in tunnels

The Daily Courant was London’s original newspaper first published in 1792 near Ludgate Circus, consisting of a single page, with advertisements on the reverse side

The Constable of The Tower of London can extract a barrel of rum from any naval vessel plying the Thames

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.