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.

London Trivia: BBC buys temporary studios

On 3 November 1949, the BBC purchased Lime Grove Studios owned by the Gaumont Film Company. The acquisition was ‘a temporary measure’ used to tide them over as the Television Centre was being built. It would be nearly 45 years before it became obsolete. By the end, the building was in such a poor state of repair that the remaining BBC staff nicknamed it “Slime Grove”. It was redeveloped into a housing estate.

On 3 November 1783 highwayman John Austin, convicted of ‘robbery with violence’ became the last man hanged at the Tyburn Tree

Lady Elizabeth Hatton leaving a ball was found in a yard blood still pumping from her torn body Bleeding Heart Yard commemorates her murder

When an architect was told he must leave a gap in his office block to allow access to St Peter’s in Cornhill he decorated it with devils

Ben Johnson was too poor to afford the normal grave space in Westminster Abbey and so his friends paid to have him buried standing up

During the American Civil War London cabbies unadvisedly flew the Confederate flag in support from their Hansom cabs

Named after London’s famous comic, Joseph Grimaldi Park in Islington plays host to an annual ceremony populated by clowns

Twining Teas opened 1707 on the Strand selling tea to Queen Anne, it’s the oldest business in Britain operating from their original premises

The red rose, an emblem for England’s rugby team was chosen before the first international in 1871 and is copied from Rugby School’s crest

The world’s longest continuous railway tunnel is the Northern Line: Morden to East Finchley totalling 17.3 miles, 24 stations and 3 junctions

When escalators were first installed at Earls Court Bumper Harris a one-legged man was employed to demonstrate their safety and ease of use

Her Majesty The Queen cannot enter The City of London without first asking permission from The Lord Mayor a ceremony performed at Temple Bar

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: A big bang

On 27 October 1986 the London Stock Exchange rules changed. Dubbed the ‘Big Bang’, open-outcry, the system which had dominated the buying-and-selling of shares was ditched. Traders no longer had to bark their orders across trading pits or catch the attention of market makers with hand signals. Electronic trading was in, stocks could be bought and sold from upstairs, from the comfort of a leather-back chair with a coffee.

On 27 October 1997 the river dredger, MV Sand Kite, sailing in thick fog, collided with one of the Thames Barrier’s piers

Burlington Arcade was built to remove an alleyway beside Lord Burlington’s mansion from which dead cats were thrown into his back garden

The two golden pineapples over main entrance of St. Paul’s Cathedral – a very expensive insisted by Wren – are a symbol of hospitality

Great Ormond Street was the first hospital in England exclusively for children when it opened in 1851 42 per cent of deaths were children under 10

On 27 October 1968 over 6,000 marchers faced up to police in Grosvenor Square, they had broken away from an anti-Vietnam march facing up to police for 3 hours

London’s largest collection of Buddhas can be found in Soho’s Fo Guang Temple Margaret Street formerly All Saints’ Church

The top 50 tourist attractions in the world 6 are in London Trafalgar Square is 4th with 15 million visitors a year 44th is the London Eye

Wimbledon 1992 Mens Singles Final Goran Ivaniševic was warned for swearing in Croatian, the umpire realised as TV viewers rung in complaining

The custom of standing right on escalators started with a diagonal end to early ones and a sign saying “Step off: right foot first”

When St Pauls Cathedral neared completion its elderly architect Sir Christopher Wren was hauled to the roof by bucket and rope to inspect it

In the cloisters of Westminster Abbey is Britain’s the oldest door, in good nick, considering it was made in 1050 before the Norman Conquest

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: Dirty Gertie

On 20 October 1927 in celebration of the Battle of the Marne, when the German army was stopped before capturing Paris in August 1914, Emile Guillaume’s 16ft statue of a naked woman holding a sword aloft – ‘La Déliverance’ – was unveiled at Henly’s Corner on the North Circular Road. A gift from press baron Lord Rothermere, the statue has had a number of local names including ‘Dirty Gertie’, and due to corrosion ‘Gangrene Gertie’.

On 20 October 1862 serial killer Catherine Wilson was the last woman to be publicly hanged in London, was thought to have poisoned six victims

The narrowest house in London lies next door to Tyburn Convent and was built to block a passage used by grave robbers, it is one metre wide

The 15th Century Crosby Hall once home to Thomas More was moved from Bishopsgate to current Chelsea riverside location in 1910

Lionel Logue who cured King George of his stammer had his practice at 146 Harley Street from 1926 to 1952 in the film Portman Place was used

The first bomb to be dropped on London by Zeppelins is commemorated by a plaque at 31 Nevill Road, N16

The Trafalgar Square lions were sculpted from life Landseer used dead lions supplied by London Zoo until neighbours complained of the smell

On Tower Hill is an entrance to the 1870 Tower Subway. You could ride under the river in a carriage pulled by cable

On 5 March 1870 the first ever International Football match was held at The Oval – England vs Scotland – the first of many England draws 1-1

London Bridge became so congested that in 1722 it became the first place in Britain where it was made compulsory to drive on the left

The weathervane on the Royal Exchange in the City is a grasshopper not a cock, the former being the crest of its founder Sir Thomas Gresham

The Queen’s jewellery collection is so extensive it has to be stored in a room the size of an ice rink, 40ft below Buckingham Palace

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.