Tag Archives: London trivia

London Trivia: Beatles given medals

On 26 September 1965, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison were appointed ‘Members of the British Empire’, receiving their MBEs at Buckingham Palace on 26 October.

On 26 September 1963 Lord Denning’s official report into the Profumo Affair went on sale in London with 100,000 copies sold the first day

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

Underneath the MI6 building is the overflow pipe for the River Effra, it’s just big enough to launch a mini-submarine from the orifice

Nell Gywnn, orange seller and mistress to Charles II was born in the Coal Yard, now Stukeley Street off Drury Lane in 1650

After his victory over England Hitler had a plan to dismantle Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square and display it in Berlin

Only one house where Charles Dickens lived still stands 48 Doughty Street from 1837 to 1839 here he wrote Oliver Twist and The Pickwick Papers

The upper span of Tower Bridge was originally a walkway but it was closed in 1910 as it had become a haunt of prostitutes

One of the Scotland fans who invaded the pitch at Wembley in 1977 was Rod Stewart. In the commotion someone nicked his Cartier watch

In 1910 the London and North Western Railway offered its business passengers the on-board services of Miss Tarrant. (Typist)

In 2013 one ton of dust was removed from the attics at Kensington Palace, the first time since 1719 they had been cleaned

In the 1950s three members of the Attkins family were Highgate’s fishmonger, butcher and dentist – known as Fishkins, Porkins and Toothkins

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 parking ticket

On 19 September 1960, the very first parking ticket was issued to Dr Creighton, who was answering an emergency call to a suspected heart attack at a West End hotel, 343 others received fines that day.

On 19 September 1887 Lillie Bridge Stadium was burnt down by rioters after 2 heavily backed sprinters, bribed to lose, failed to race

For some crimes the guilty were locked in the pillory then had their ears nailed to the frame, upon release were forced to leave them behind

King Street, St James’s is named after Charles II, King Street, Covent Garden is named after Charles I and Kingsway after Edward VII

The American talk show host Jerry Springer was born at Highgate during the Second World War: his mother had taken shelter in the station from an air raid

Trafalgar Square was to have been called ‘King William the Fourth’s Square’; however, George Ledwell Taylor suggested Trafalgar Square

It was at 9A Denmark Street (Tin Pan Alley), then La Gioconda, where David Jones (Bowie) and his first backing band – Lower Third – met

The Sanderson Hotel, Berners Street was a showroom for Sandersons wallpaper, the listed sign meant the hotel could have no other name

The oldest (and possibly most bizarre) medal winner was John Copley who won Silver in the London 1948 Olympics for an etching he was 73 at the time, drawing was in the Olympics until 1948

Charles Pearson, MP and Solicitor to the City of London, is credited with successfully campaigning for the introduction of the Underground. He died in 1862 shortly before the first train ran

During the war, some stations (now mostly disused) were converted into government offices: a station called Down Street was used for meetings of the Railway Executive Committee

Brydges Place named after Catherine Brydges daughter of 3rd Baron Chandos at 15 inches at its narrowest point is London’s tightest alley

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: Disinherited for a generation

On 12 September 1846 Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett were secretly married at St. Marylebone Parish Church, Elizabeth’s furious father disinherited her and disinherited all his children who married.

On 12 September 1878 Cleopatra’s Needle was installed on the Embankment, after nearly being lost at sea

In his novel Moll Flanders Daniel Defoe described Newgate Prison as “that horrible place”, he should know he was imprisoned there in 1703

The circumference at the Gherkin’s widest point is 178 metres, which is only two metres less than its height of 180 metres

In 1926 suicide pits installed due to passengers throwing themselves in front of trains only Jubilee line has glass screens to deter jumpers

In Parliament in 1981 a private member’s bill (Control of Space Invaders (& other Electronic Games) Bill) tried to ban Space Invaders

The wedding in the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral was filmed at the Augustinian priory church of St. Bartholomew the Great

The first HMV store at 363 Oxford Street was opened by composer Edward Elgar in 1921. HMV stands for ‘His Master’s Voice’

Boxing legend Sir Henry Cooper trained in the gym above the Thomas a Becket pub previously at 320 Old Kent Road, Walworth

The Underground’s longest journey without change is on the Central line from West Ruislip to Epping – a total of 34.1 miles

Prostitutes around Southwark worked in the many brothels or ‘stews’ licensed by the Bishop of Winchester and were known as the Bishop’s Geese

Wildlife observed on the Tube network includes woodpeckers, deer, sparrowhawk, bats, grass snakes, great crested newts, slow worms

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 by numbers

1Taxi exam

The Knowledge

2National nature reserves

Richmond Park and Ruislip Woods

3Black investment bankers

Last July the Financial Times reported that only 3 out of more than 650 senior investment bankers in London were black

4Aircraft holding stacks

Bovingdon, Biggin Hill, Lambourne, Ockham

5Michelin 3-star restaurants

Core by Clare Smyth, Hélène Darroze at the Connaught, The Lecture Room and Library at Sketch, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester

6Ferries across the Thames

Woolwich, Canary Wharf-Rotherhithe, Hammerton’s Ferry, Hampton Ferry, Shepperton-Weybridge, Hammersmith (proposed)

7July 2005

Known as 7/7, four Muslim extremists attacked London on this day starting at 8.50, within an hour the explosions had left 52 innocent people dead and over 700 injured

8Royal Palaces

Buckingham, Hampton Court, Kensington, Kew, Lambeth, Palace of Westminster, St. James’s, Windsor

9The number of days Lady Jane Grey was Queen

The luckless monarch managed just nine days before she was charged with high treason, on 12th February 1554, Lady Jane was beheaded, along with her husband, at Tower Green. She was 16 years old

1

0Cathedrals

St. Paul’s, Southwark, St George’s, Westminster, Orthodox Cathedrals: Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Georgian Orthodox, Syriac Orthodox, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox

1

1Underground lines

Bakerloo, Central, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria, Waterloo & City

1

2Buildings over 200m

The Shard, 22 Bishopsgate, One Canada Square, Landmark Pinnacle, Heron Tower, 122 Leadenhall Street, Newfoundland, Crystal Palace Transmitter, South Quay Plaza 1, One Park Drive, 8 Canada Square, 25 Canada Square

1

3The number of people NOT allowed to dine at the Savoy

Superstition at The Savoy Hotel has it that 13 diners are unlucky. If your companions make up that unlucky number a 1920s three-foot-high black wooden cat is introduced to a 14th chair, a napkin is placed around his neck and he is served with each course by a diligent waiter

1

4Railway terminus stations

Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Euston, Fenchurch Street, Liverpool Street, London Bridge, King’s Cross, Paddington, Victoria, Waterloo, Marylebone, Moorgate and St Pancras

1

5Restaurant

Fifteen Restaurant in Westland Place opened in November 2002, inspired by Jamie Oliver, a social enterprise providing young people with the opportunity to have a career in catering. It closed in May 2019 after training 15 young people a year at £40,000 each

1

6City farms

Mudchute, Vauxhall, Surrey Docks, Hackney, Spitalfields, Deen, Stepney, Newham, Freightliners, Brooks, Kentish, Forty Hall, Crystal Palace, Hounslow, Lee Valley, Belmont Children’s Farm

1

7The number of mosaic murals at the entrance and tunnel to Leytonstone tube station depicting Alfred Hitchcock

Installed to commemorate the centenary of Alfred Hitchcock’s birth, the designs capture the star or the feel of the film, from Psycho to Catch a Thief. In a strange coincidence, one of them is for an Alfred Hitchcock film titled Number 17

1

8Blends of tea at the Ritz

The Ritz is the only hotel in the UK to have a certified Tea Sommelier, Giandomenico Scanu, who travels around the world to various tea plantations to source the 18 different types of loose-leaf tea to choose from at their famous Afternoon Tea in the Palm Court

1

9The highest number of buses you can catch from a single stop

Stop K on Hounslow High Street, go there and try catching every bus in order, then return home and think about what you’re achieving with your life

2

0Minutes equivalent on the Northern Line to smoking a cigarette

According to a 2002 study air quality on the Underground was 73 times worse than at street level, with 20 minutes on the Northern Line having the same effect as smoking a cigarette

London Trivia: Park Lane bomb

On 5 September 1975, two people were killed and 63 injured when a suspected IRA bomb exploded in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane. A warning was sent to the Daily Mail just before midday, but the police were unable to evacuate the building before it exploded just after 12.15 p.m.

On 5 September 1988 No Sex Please We’re British the West End’s longest running comedy closed after 16 years and 6,671 performances

Thomas Cromwell, Vicar-General for Henry VIII, introduced a scheme where each parish, in the presence of the warders, must record all baptisms, marriages and burials

In 1831 London became the first city in the world to have 1 million inhabitants only overtaken in size by Tokyo 126 years later

When Guy Fawkes was executed hanging broke his neck preventing the drawing and quartering (removing his intestines, arms and legs) while alive

When entering The Houses of Parliament its Members are still banned from wearing a suit of armour under an Act made by Edward II in 1313

Lions of Trafalgar Square were sculpted from life artist Landseer used dead lions from London Zoo until neighbours complained of the smell

The London Eye can carry 800 people each rotation comparable to 11 double decker buses receives on average more visitors per year than the Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramid of Giza

After Percy Lambert was killed racing at Brooklands in 1913 he was buried at Brompton Cemetery in a coffin designed to match his racing car

Wealthy oil baron Nubar Gulbenkian had a luxurious taxi conversion. He told friends “Apparently it can turn on a sixpence, whatever that is”

St. Paul’s Cathedral at 365ft high and over 40 years to construct. It took so long to complete its builders had the reputation of being lazy

The only qualification needed to join Edmund Kean’s Wolf Club at the Coal Hole, Strand was your wife had forbidden you to sing in the bath

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.