Tag Archives: London trivia

London Trivia: Birth of an ideal

On 30 April 1907 for 20 days history was in the making. At the Brotherhood Church, which once stood on the corner of Southgate Road and Balmes Road, the 5th Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Workers Party was held. Attendees included Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Rosa Luxembourg and Maxim Gorky. The rest is history. The site is now occupied by a mixed-use residential and business building, with the exact site of the church now a Tesco Express.

On 30 April 1980 gunmen took over the Iranian embassy at Prince’s Gate, under the full glare of the media the SAS stormed the building on 5 May killing 5 and releasing the hostages

In 1906 Messrs Spillberg, Nabian and Aaroris of Nelson Street, Stepney were convicted of smuggling saccharin which then was considered a drug

Liverpool Street’s Great Eastern Hotel (now the Andaz) opened in 1884 and was at one time the only hotel in the City

Builders working on the Builders working on the Bakerloo Line are reported to have suffered from the bends while tunnelling under the Thames

During World War II and the Nazi occupation of Holland Queen Wilhelmina moved her Dutch government into her London home at 77 Chester Square, Belgravia

The Cliff Richard musical Summer Holiday had a bus bound for ‘London to the South of France via Dover Paris’ most was shot in LT’s bus works Aldenham

Museum of London tracing the capital’s history from Prehistoric times to the present day is the largest urban history museum in the world

In 1966 actor, bodybuilder and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger lived at 335 Romford Road Ilford as a guest of bodybuilder Charles Bennett

The first section of the Underground ran between Paddington and Farringdon Street. The same section now forms part of the Circle, Hammersmith & City, and Metropolitan lines

Miles Coverdale who supervised the production of the first complete bible in English in 1535 was once Rector of St Magnus the Martyr

When the Millennium Dome was built, a Blue Peter capsule was buried containing amongst other items a spice girls cd, a tamagotchi and a Blue Peter badge!

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: For valour

On 23 April 1390 (St. George’s Day) a joust was held between Lord Welles, Ambassador to Scotland, and Sir David de Lindsay, a Scot, on London Bridge. This was a result of an argument as to the valour of the two nations. On the third run Lindsay unhorsed Welles so easily that the crowd began yelling that he had nailed himself to his saddle. To prove he had not, Lindsay jumped off his horse and then back on, while still wearing his full suit of armour.

On 23 April 1702 gout ridden Queen Anne became the first monarch to be carried to her coronation and wore a £12 wig to improve her demeanour

Reggie Kray and Frances Shea’s photographer at their wedding at St James the Great, Bethnal Green Road in April 1965 was David Bailey

Dr Samuel Johnson once owned 17 properties in London, only one of which survives – Dr Johnson’s Memorial House in Gough Square

18th century Hampstead was a spa resort where people came to take the waters which reputedly had health giving properties

In April 1905 Vladimir Lenin lived at 16 Percy Circus, since demolished and replaced with the rear of Kings Cross Royal Scot Travelodge hotel

Actor, dancer, comedian and clown Joseph Grimaldi lived at 56 Exmouth Market, Islington from 1818 to 1828, there is now a park off Pentonville Road named after him

Coram’s Fields park and playground in Bloomsbury is unique in that adults are only allowed to enter if accompanied by a child

The sport of golf, which originated in Scotland, was first played in England on Blackheath in 1608. The Royal Blackheath Golf Club was one of the first golf associations established (1766) outside Scotland

London’s heavily congested streets mean that a taxi’s average speed of 17mph is slower than that attained by Hansom cabs over 100 years ago

The ‘porter’ style of beer was officially invented at the Bell Brewhouse in Shoreditch by Ralph Hardwood in 1722

Marc Isambard Brunel came up with his idea on how to dig the Thames’ Tunnel whilst in debtors’ prison watching a shipworm bore through wood

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: An anonymous pedestrian

On 16 April 1892 a letter to The Times was printed complaining about cyclists. Signed Pedestrian, London, W the writer wrote “Sir, . . . the growing number of cyclists is resulting in a Tyranny of the Road . . . and that his country walks were . . . regularly interrupted by hurtling wheelmen like a horde of Apache or Sioux Indians . . . woe betide the luckless man or aught else coming their way . . . can nothing be done?”

On 16 April 1969 Princess Anne saw the hippy musical Hair at the Shaftsbury Theatre surprising as it featured a nude sequence set to music

In the 17th and 18th centuries London thief-takers were rewarded £40+ the horse, arms and money of any highwayman they captured and were convicted

Meard Street is not named after the French word merde. It was the unfortunate name of its 1720s developer John Meard

On 16 April 1889 comedian Charlie Chaplin was born in Walworth, as his father was absent and his mother struggled financially, he was sent to a workhouse twice before the age of nine

London Bridge is Falling Down referred to Norwegian King Olaf who suggested destroying the wooden bridge while occupied by Danes

The nursery rhyme Pop Goes the Weasel refers to the act of pawning one’s suit after spending all one’s cash in the pubs of Clerkenwell

In 1840s a ‘Dances of the Dead’ were held in the Enon Chapel, St Clements Lane where 12,000 bodies lay rotting under the floor

In 2012 London became the first city to host the modern Olympic Games three times, having previously done so in 1908 and in 1948

The inaugural journey of the first Central line train in 1900 had the Prince of Wales and the American author Mark Twain on board

In the 1800’s London prostitutes were sometimes euphemistically referred to as ‘Fulham virgins’ inspired by the proximiy of Cremorne Gardens a 19th century ‘pleasure garden’

During a City clean up in 1,340 prostitutes were arrested, among them was Clarice la Claterballock but no record as to how she got her name!

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: Frozen Bacon

On 9 April 1626 Francis Bacon, English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, and author, died of pneumonia. He was the agent of his own demise having experimented at trying to freeze a chicken with snow. He argued that scientific knowledge must be based only upon inductive and careful observation of events. He caught a chill and was taken to the Highgate home of the Earl of Arundel and put into a damp bed. He would never get out of the bed alive.

On 9 April 1970 at the High Court in London a petition brought by Paul McCartney formerly wound up The Beatles

On 9 April 1976 then president of the Young Liberals, Peter Hain, was acquitted of bank robbery at the Old Bailey (£490 from Barclays bank)

The only London residence of William Blake that still remains is 17 South Molton Street where Blake lived on the first floor 1803-1812

On 9 April 1483 Edward IV died at Westminster, the crown passed to his son Edward V aged just twelve years old

On 9 April 1747 at Tower Hill Scottish clan chief Lord Simon Fraser Lovat was the last person in Britain to be executed by being beheaded

On 9 April 1914 the world’s first silent colour film, the sleezy sounding World, Flesh and the Devil was shown in London

The Old Mitre pub in Holborn contains a cherry tree trunk round which, it is claimed by the pub owners, Elizabeth I danced

West Ham United football club were originally founded in 1895 as Thames Ironworks Football Club and reformed in 1900 as West Ham United

Seventeen different bus routes pass through Trafalgar Square it makes the square one of the busiest crossroads for London traffic

In 1100s human lavatories walked the streets of London wearing large cloaks and a bucket. Customers used the bucket whilst hidden by the cloak

On 9 April 1787 a fencing match between Chevalier de St. Georges and Chavaliere d’Eton took place at Carlton House, both were 1st class fencers, d’Eton 20 years older and dressed as a woman won

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 Dickens of a prison

On 2 April 1884 Marshalsea Prison the last of London’s debtors prisons closed. A parliamentary committee reported in 1729 that 300 inmates had starved to death within a three-month period. The prison became known around the world through the writings of Charles Dickens, whose father was sent there in 1824 for a debt to a baker. Dickens was forced to leave school at the age of twelve for a job in a blacking factory in order to help keep his family at the Marshalsea.

On 2 April 1962 The 1st Panda crossing was opened in York Road near Waterloo Station The crossings were abandoned as they were too confusing

Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain after being convicted of the murder of her lover, David Blakely, once lived at 44 Egerton Gardens, Ealing

It’s believed as long as there’s ravens at the Tower of London Britain will be safe from invasion a Raven Master still looks after the birds

Owner of the Titanic, Joseph Bruce Ismay, was buried at Putney Vale Cemetery in 1937, 25 years after surviving the disaster

A London by-law of 1351 prohibited boys (girls were presumably exempt) from playing practical jokes on Members of Parliament

The Lanesborough Hotel had three original Reynolds and boasts the largest collection of 18th century paintings in the world outside any gallery

During the Great Exhibition 827,280 male visitors paid 1d each to use the ‘Reading Rooms’, giving rise to the expression ‘to spend a penny’

Sir Jack Hobbs, the first professional cricketer to be knighted, lived at 17 Englewood Road, Clapham, known as ‘The Master’, he is regarded by critics as one of the greatest batsmen in the history of cricket

Heathrow’s Terminal 4 has gates 12 and 14 at opposite ends of the building, so superstitious travellers wouldn’t notice the absence of gate 13

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

TV cables at Buckingham Palace were installed by a ferret the narrow underground duct meant luring the animal with bacon whilst attached to a line

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.