On 26 March 1862 to repay the ’courtesy, kindness and confidence’ he had received from the British public American banker George Peabody announced the creation of a fund that carries his name. Designed to ameliorate the condition of the poor and needy of London, from the first estate in Spitalfields opening in 1864 Peabody Estates now houses more than 70,000 Londoners. Born poor in Massachusetts he is today regarded as the ‘father of modern philanthropy’.
On 26 March 1973 women were finally allowed on the trading floor of the London Stock Exchange for the first time in the institution’s 200 year history
HMP Wormwood Scrubs was built by its inmates, nine inmates built 50 cells, then more inmates joined and built more cells to house even more etc, etc
Tins of Old Holborn rolling tobacco once featured a drawing of the front of Staple Inn, Holborn one of the last timber framed building left in London
Poet Shelly met second wife Mary, author of Frankenstein, in St Pancras Old Church graveyard where she visited her parents’ tomb
Margaret Thatcher used to stand on a chair in her Commons room to check the top of the door. “It’s the way you know if a room’s really been cleaned.”
Wyndham’s theatre programme 1940: ‘In the interests of public health this theatre is disinfected with Jeyes Fluid’
Hamley’s toy store was founded by Cornishman William Hamley in 1760, first named Noah’s Ark and sited in Holborn
Harold Abrahams (Chariots of Fire) from Golders Green won gold at the 1924 Paris Olympics, the first European to win an Olympic sprint title
Gordon Selfridge wanted Bond Street tube renamed Selfridges Station but he couldn’t persuade the Underground’s managing director to agree
Constantia Philips, a retired courtesan, opened London’s first sex shop in 1732. Her “preservatives” – condoms – were hugely popular
On 26 March 2014 Sesame Street star Kermit the Frog was made Honorary Bridge Master of Tower Bridge by the City of London
Trivial 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.