Tag Archives: London trivia

London Trivia: A family affair

On 24 January 1907 William Whiteley was shot dead outside the office of his own store by 29-year-old Horace George Raynor, who then turned the gun on himself. Raynor, who survived, claimed to be the illegitimate son of the store’s owner by his Whiteley’s long-term mistress, former shop girl, Louie Turner. Raynor’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He was released in 1919 on licence.

On 24 January 1965 Winston Churchill following a stroke died at his home at Hyde Park Gate aged 90, he ordered his coffin leave London from Waterloo just to annoy General de Gaulle

Acid Bath Murderer Haigh dissolved his victims in a house now occupied by the Kentucky Fried Chicken Gloucester Road

On 24 January 1956 plans were unveiled for homes in Barbican a public inquiry considered plans to build in the area left devastated by war

During the plague of 1665 Londoners lived on huge rafts floating on the Thames in an attempt to escape the pestilence

The howitzer sculpture at Hyde Park Corner is pointed at the Somme – but if it was a real, its range would mean it would hit Crystal Palace

The Travellers Club in Pall Mall is the fictional start to Jules Verne’s story Around The World In Eighty Days

Hidden under the Ministry of Defence are Cardinal Wolsey’s wine cellars from the Whitehall Palace which burned down in 1698

The Racing Driver’s Handbook on how to behave on a racetrack is called The Blue Book the same as the Knowledge book of runs for cabbies

Only five Underground stations have ‘X’ in their names: Uxbridge, Brixton, Oxford Circus, Vauxhall and Croxley

The Bowler Hat is named after Mr Bowler who made it but Locks the Hatters call it the Coke after Mr Coke who ordered it

London cabbie George King founded the Aetherius Society to prevent the annihilation of Earth by improving cooperation with alien species

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: Power to the people

On 17 January 1934, The Times reported that Battersea Power Station was fully operational, known as Battersea A. The building as we know it would not be completed until 1955. During the 4 years of constructing Battersea A, there were six fatal and 121 non-fatal accidents. This history of this iconic building which went into decline on 17 March 1975 when A station was closed is now the subject of a book by Peter Watts Up in Smoke.

On 17 January 1712 Robert Walpole, England’s first ‘Prime Minister’ was imprisoned in the Tower of London following charges of corruption

Byng Street, Wapping named after a seafaring family, one of whom Admiral Byng was executed for cowardice on the deck of HMS Monarque in 1757

Adelaide House completed in 1925 was the first building in the City to employ the steel frame technique at 141ft the tallest block in London

The gravestone of the famous Elizabethan actor Richard Burbage in the graveyard of St Leonard’s, Shoreditch, reads simply ‘Exit Burbage’

Margaret Thatcher went to the same Mayfair hairdresser, Evansky as Barbara Castle, while Thatcher sat in main area Castle had a private room

The George Inn, Borough High St. dates back to 1676, is the last galleried coaching inn in London and is mentioned in Dickens’ Little Dorrit

In the early 1800s Thomas Britton ran a music club above his coal shop in Jerusalem Passage, Handel often attended

The footbridge outside Wembley Stadium is named White Horse Bridge after the police horse who controlled the 1923 FA Cup Final

There’s only one Tube station that doesn’t have any of the letters from the word mackerel in it: St John’s Wood

In 14th century London employed Rakers to rake the excrement out of toilets, notably one Richard the Raker died by drowning in his own toilet

Between 17-25 January 1963 the temperature at Kew failed to rise above freezing that winter is regarded equal to the infamous winter of 1740

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: Honk your intention

On 10 January 1930 a letter in The Times from George Buchanan offered some sage advice to road users when joining major roads such as Piccadilly from a side street, suggesting it should be obligatory to sound one’s horn alerting others of your intention. His suggestion seems to have gained traction as today horns are forever used when grids to a halt traffic. Rather surprisingly he advocated a 25-30mph speed limit in London – if only.

On 10 January 1885 Toynbee Hall formally opened, named after social reformer Arnold Toynbee who improved the lives of many in Whitechapel

In the 14th century London had a higher murder rate than any United States city does today at around 50 per 100,000 population, today it’s 1.8

The Coade Lion, Westminster Bridge previously stood over the entrance to the Lion Brewery by Hungerford Bridges

On 10 January 1945 Roderick David ‘Rod’ Stewart was born above his father’s newsagents at 507 Archway Road, Highgate

On 10 January 1946 the first General Assembly of the United Nations was held in the Methodist Central Hall, Westminster

In The Italian Job Michael Caine says “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off” was filmed inside Crystal Palace Park athletics track

The Cheshire Cheese was once famous for serving huge beef, oyster and lark pies that weighed 50 to 80lbs and served up to 100 people

When Usain Bolt ran the 100m at the 2012 London Olympics, his feet only touched the ground for two seconds

Around 30,000 passengers went on The Metropolitan Line on its first day of public business – January 10, 1863

Constantia Philips, a retired courtesan, opened London’s first sex shop in 1732. Her ‘preservatives’ – condoms – were hugely popular

On 10 January 1985 8 people killed in a gas explosion at Manor Fields Estate Putney Police found bags stuffed with £20 notes in the debris

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 ghostly apparition

On 3 January 1804: When Francis Smith joined a group patrolling the Hammersmith Bridge in the wake of sightings of a ghostly figure and saw a figure dressed in white, naturally he assumed it was a deadly apparition. Shooting Thomas Millwood who was dressed in pale clothes after a day’s plastering. Smith was tried for wilful murder, found guilty the hanging sentence was commuted to a year’s hard labour.

On 3 January 1946 William Joyce, ‘Lord Haw-Haw’, an fascist who had broadcast German propaganda from Germany to Britain during WWII was hanged at Wandsworth

On 3 January 1911 The Siege of Sidney Street, popularly known as the ‘Battle of Stepney’ took place in the East End

No. 1 the Strand was the very first house in London to be numbered, although Apsley House at Hyde Park is now called No. 1 London

According to the burial register at St Leonard’s Church, Shoreditch Thomas Cam died in 1588 at the ripe old age of 207

Carter Lane was once a main thoroughfare through the City and where at the Hart’s Horn Tavern Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators met

When the allegorical novella Animal Farm was published in 1945 George Orwell was living at 27b Cannonbury Square, Islington

When the Can Can was performed at the Alhambra Leicester Square in 1870 the theatre’s dancing licence was suspended

Shergar won the 1981 Derby was so far ahead the short-sighted jockey in second place didn’t see him and thought that he had won the race

From 14th to the 18th century the area occupied by Trafalgar Square was the courtyard of the Great Mews stabling serving Whitehall Palace

As a boy Charles Dickens worked in a boot polish or blacking factory on Villiers Street the Strand. Embankment station now occupies the site

The streets named Savoy take their name from the Savoy Palace where in 1381 thirty-two men trapped in the cellar drank themselves to death

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 first smog

On 27 December 1813 smog descended upon London, lasting until 3 January 1814, it was said to have spread as far as the North Downs. The worst area affected was the East End where the density of factories and homes burning coal was greater than anywhere else in the Capital. Here people claimed not to be able to see from one side of the street to the opposite pavement. It caused the Prince Regent to turn back from a trip to Hatfield.

On 27 December 1871 the world’s first cat show was held at Crystal Palace, a staggering 200,000 people attended

In 1841 the Metropolitan Police reported there were 9,409 prostitutes and 3,325 brothels known to the police across the 17 police districts

St Pancras station’s bricks are that famous red colour because they’re made from Nottinghamshire clay supplied by the Nottingham Patent Brick Co. Ltd.

St. James’s Palace and its park were formerly the site of a leper hospital for women dedicated to Saint James the Less, the palace was secondary in importance

Trafalgar Square was to have been called ‘King William the Fourth’s Square’ architect and landowner George Ledwell Taylor suggested its name

Charles I’s statute in Trafalgar Square stands on the site of the original Charing Cross marking where all distances from London start

Tradition has it that Pimlico is named after Ben Pimlico, a 17th Century Hoxton brewer who supplied London with a popular Nut Brown ale

Running between Old Street and City Road Bath Street recalls the location of London’s first purpose built outdoor facility the Peerless Pool

London has fewer bridges spanning its principal river than Paris but has 23 underwater tunnels more than any other city in the world

Arsenal were founded as Dial Square in 1886 by workers at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich, but were renamed Royal Arsenal shortly afterwards

Bank is the only one-syllable station name and Knightsbridge is the only London street name with six consecutive consonants

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.