London Trivia: First blue plaque

On 26 June 1868 today a Blue Plaque to Napoleon III was affixed at 1c King Street, SW1, it was the first ‘Blue’ Plaque to be erected and the first plaque to survive. The plaques made by Minton Hollins were originally brown, but blue became the norm.

On 26 June 1857 the first investiture of the Victoria Cross by Queen Victoria took place in Hyde Park on this Friday. Sixty-two Crimean veterans had the cross pinned on by the monarch

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

Dr Johnson had lived at 8 Bolt Court, from 1776-1784, on 26 June 1819 this house which had survived a blaze in 1807 was completely gutted by fire

On Westminster Bridge Road is the entrance to an old station from where passengers took their last journey to Brookwood Cemetery

The Ayrton Light atop Parliament’s Elizabeth Tower (known as Big Ben) shines to show that the House is sitting

When Ellen Terry visited Whistler’s Chelsea studio Oscar Wilde described seeing her arrive in the full regalia of Lady Macbeth

King James I kept elephants in St James’s Park. They were allowed a gallon of wine a day each to get through the English winter

When Queen filmed Bicycle Race promotional video at Wimbledon Stadium with 65 naked female cyclist, cycle hirers demanded saddle replacement

Jubilee Line trains have been decorated for the Jubilee – appropriate really, as line originally named for 1977 one (hence silver on map)

The Castle pub in Farringdon holds a pawnbrokers licence granted by George IV when he left a heirloom in lieu of a gambling loan

During the Great Fire of London, Samuel Pepys buried his prized possession, a chunk of parmesan cheese, in his back garden

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: Mens’ work

On 19 June 1960 Nan Winton, an experienced journalist, began a job reading the 6pm news and weekend bulletins on Sunday evenings. BBC audience research concluded that viewers thought that a woman reading the ‘Late News’ was ‘not acceptable’ and so she was removed in March 1961.

On 19 June 1978 Ian Botham was the first cricketer to score a century and take 8 wickets in one Test match innings against Pakistan at Lord’s

The 1839 Metropolitan Police Act, s.60, ss.3 makes it an offence to dust off your carpet outside in London after 8am punishable by £200 fine

Artillery Lane Spitalfields is named after the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company here before moving to Moorgate

Jimi Hendrix’s last performance was at Ronnie Scott’s in Soho, on the day before he died – a jam with Eric Burdon

On 19 June 1944 a V1 or Doodlebug fell on Wellington Barracks killing Lord Edward Hay and several friends of the Royal family

Now demolished, Nicholl House on the Woodberry Down Estate, Hackney was the backdrop for the Warsaw Ghetto in the film Schindler’s List

When Peter the Great stayed in the Deptford home of John Evelyn in 1698 he trashed his garden and drank his wine

Ping-pong bar Bounce at 121 Holborn is on the site where John Jacques created and patented the game in 1901

Roding Valley is the least used station on the London Underground network – it has fewer passengers in a year than Victoria has in a day

18th century Author Dr Johnson tried making pots at the Chelsea China Works but they kept collapsing and he gave up

Prince Edward had collected so many mistresses that a special pew was reserved for them at his coronation: it was known as the ‘Loose Box’

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 Peasants’ Revolt

On 12 June 1381 the Kent insurgents of the Peasants’ Revolt, an uprising headed by Wat Tyler, that stemmed from the taxes imposed on the working population for the wars against France and a growing despondency against the feudal system, arrived at Blackheath and encamped there.

On 12 June 1997 due to the untiring efforts of the American director and actor, Sam Wanamaker, the modern Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, sited not 250 yards from the original site, that was opened on this same day in 1599

Mount Pleasant PO is on the site of Coldbath Fields Prison which forbade inmates from speaking and made them spend hours on the treadmill

The pillars in the basement of St. Pancras Station are spaced exactly 3 beer barrels apart designed as Bass beer arrives from Midlands

The playwright Ben Jonson was buried standing up in Westminster Abbey – at his own request, saying he was too poor to take up more space

Conservative MP Sir Henry Bellingham is a direct descendant of John Bellingham the assassin of Prime Minister Spencer Perceval in 1812

Leicester Square was where Maurice Micklewhite saw poster for The Caine Mutiny and chose Michael Caine as new name

Westfield Stratford, the largest shopping centre in Europe, cost the equivalent of the GDP of the 25 world’s poorest countries to build

Harold Thornton invented table football in 1922 attempting to recreate Spurs with a box of matches, he played it at Bar Kick, Shoreditch High Street

The tunnel between East Finchley and Morden (via Bank) is the longest on the Underground measuring 27.8km (17.25 miles)

The Company of Watermen and Lightermen are not a full Livery Company – excluded because they charged people fleeing the Great Fire in 1666

Rosewood Hotel’s Manor House Suite is the only hotel suite in the world with its own postcode: WC1V 7DZ for the rest of the hotel: WC1V 7EN

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: First female minister

On 5 June 1929 Margaret Bondfield, women’s campaigner and MP, became the first woman to be a minister, under Ramsay Macdonald, as Minister for Labour, and the first woman to become a Privy Councillor

On 5 June 1963 John Profumo resigned as Secretary for War after admitting he had lied over his affair with Christine Keeler

Bow Street was the only police station to have white lights outside instead of the traditional blue – they were ordered by Queen Victoria

The golden flames on top of St. Paul’s lean in the direction the wind was blowing on the night of the Great Fire

In 1637 playwright Ben Jonson was buried upright in Westminster Abbey as he couldn’t afford to pay for a larger space

London’s epic Parliament Square peace protestor (no one else can permanently stay there) Brian Haw, born 1949 stood there since 2 June 2001 until his death in 2011

Harry Potter’s magic luggage trolley sticks out of a wall between platforms 8/9 not 9/10 because J. K.Rowling was thinking of Euston

Until recently Londoners consumed a prodigious amount of champagne, by volume they equalled the entire amount exported by France to America

In the 18th century at the Cat & Mutton, Broadway Market hosted the Soapy Pig Swinging Contest, drovers lathered a pig’s tail and hurled it

The colourful benches on the Southeastern High Speed platform in St Pancras are the five chopped-up Olympic rings once hanging there in 2012

Isaac Newton lived at 87 Jermyn Street, St. James when he worked at the Royal Mint where he was tasked with prosecuting counterfeiters

On 5 June 1939 an assassin attempted to shoot the Duchess of Kent she didn’t realise what was happening and went to see Wuthering Heights

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: Oscar Wilde marries

On 29 May 1884 at the church of St James, Paddington, Oscar Wilde, an impecunious poet-playwright, married Constance Lloyd. He quipped that he had told Queen Victoria that ‘in this weather, I asked her to remain at Osborne’.

On 29 May 1922, MP Horatio Bottomley was on this day sentenced to seven years for fraud. His ‘Victory bonds’ had attracted money from thousands of small investors and netted him £150,000

The original indictment of notorious highwayman Dick Turpin (real name John Palmer) is held in the National Archives in Kew, Richmond

The Monument commemorating the Great Fire of London in 1666 is the tallest isolated stone column in the world. It rises to 202ft on Fish Hill, 202ft away from where the fire began in a bakery in Pudding Lane

A fragrance known as Madeleine was trialled at St. James Park, Euston, and Piccadilly stations in 2001, to make the Tube more pleasant, stopped within days after complaints from people saying they felt ill

29 May 2002 Paul Boateng became the first black Cabinet minister when he was appointed Chief Secretary to the Treasury on this day

In Alfred Hitchcock’s first feature film The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927) featured the director making a cameo on the Tube

London’s first indoor bath specifically for swimming was Lemon (now Leman) Street in May 1742 for gentlemen only at 1/- a swim; 2/- hot bath

The earliest known account of sport in London was written in 1174 by William Fitzstepen, due to translation errors the game described is not apparent

The Necropolis Railway Company transported coffins from Waterloo to Brockwood Cemetery customers chose between first, second and third class

One City firm in the 1950s gave new employees a set of instructions including: ‘You will wear a bowler hat to and from the office’

The Queen Mother started the enduring royal wedding tradition of leaving the bride’s bouquet on the Abbey’s Tomb of the Unknown Warrior

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.