Tag Archives: London trivia

London Trivia: Guy Fawkes comes early

On 12 July 1856 five died and 300 people were injured when fireworks exploded at Mr Bennett’s factory in Westminster Road. Bennett was charged that his business was making fireworks contrary to the law, and he kept combustibles at his house for that purpose. During his absence, a fire broke out through the negligence of his employees. The court found that the deaths were caused by the negligence of his employees.

On 12 July 1962 the Rolling Stones gave their first performance at The Marquee Club on Charing Cross Road

It is illegal for anyone to possess a pack of cards ‘who lives within a mile of any arsenal or explosives store’

The theatre ticket booth in Leicester Square conceals, 3-stories below, a electricity sub-station capable of supplying the entire West End

King Charles II took so long to pass away after having a stroke he apologised to his courtiers for “being an unconscionable time a-dying”

In 1902 after an “indignation campaign” the Richmond, Ham and Petersham Open Spaces Act became the first law to protect a view

A rather dubious attraction of the 1908 Franco-British exhibition at White City was a butter sculpture of King Edward VII

The Great Room at the Grosvenor House Hotel for many years the largest public room in Europe was a skating rink before becoming ballroom

Rugby netball was dreamt up by soldiers in 1907 and has been played on Clapham Common ever since. Games take place also on Tuesday evenings, but only during the summer

Dogs travel free on London’s buses but only at the discretion of the driver and must sit upstairs, TfL don’t specify which is the doggy seat

In 1748 Yorkshireman Thomas Chippendale set up his famous furniture business at 60-62 St Martin’s Lane employing just 40 men

The oldest door in the country dating from the Anglo-Saxon period is at Westminster Abbey using dendrochronology dates it at 950 years old

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 black player to win Wimbledon

On 5 July 1975 American tennis player Arthur Ashe became the first black man to win the Wimbledon singles’ championship. Ashe beat defending champion Jimmy Connors three sets to one on Centre Court. Ashe would use his profile protesting against apartheid in South Africa and US treatment of refugees arriving in the country from Haiti. He died in February 1993 after contracting Aids from tainted blood.

On 5 July 2012 The Shard, standing at 1,016ft, the tallest building in the European Union was inaugurated, three weeks before the London Olympics

It is illegal to die in the Palace of Westminster on the grounds that anyone who dies in a royal palace is technically entitled to a state funeral, unfortunately, this has been proved to be a myth

The world’s first underwater tunnel was the Thames Tunnel opened in 1834 between Wapping and Rotherhithe was until 1866 used by pedestrians

The Museum of London has in its collection 6,500 skeletons comprising for study every period in London’s 2,000-year history

Charles I, rather ungallantly it has to be said, after his own nuptials declared that “you can get used to anyone’s face in a week”

The figure of The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street on the facade of the Bank of England has a model of the bank on her lap

On 5 July 1969, the Rolling Stones gave a free concert in Hyde Park following Brian Jones’ death two days earlier

On 5 July 1957 the men’s final at Wimbledon was interrupted by a polite protester against the banking system

Before motorised vehicles, horses were involved in an average of 175 fatal accidents a year in London and eat over 1 million tons of fodder

The Press Association was formed from an idea hatched in the back of a Hansom Cab stuck in a London smog in 1868

On 5 July 1799 the first streaker was arrested when a man run naked from Cornhill to Cheapside for a wager

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 wrong finger

On 28 June 1838 Queen Victoria was crowned at Westminster Abbey. The long ceremony was enlivened by the aged Lord Rollo living up to his name when he stumbled and rolled down some steps; further mirth ensued when the Archbishop of Canterbury put the ring designed for Victoria’s little finger on the wrong digit ensuring it would remain wedded to her during the ceremony, the whole coronation service lasted five hours.

On 28 June 1830 PC Joseph Grantham became the first British policeman to be killed on duty after intervening in a fight in Somers Town

On 28 June 1994 McDonald’s sued Greenpeace for alleged libel printed on leaflets, this became longest civil case in British legal history

Waterstone’s elegant premises in Piccadilly was the world’s first steel-framed shop built at the time for Simpsons the previous owner

50 Berkeley Square is reported to be the most haunted house in London, the attic room is haunted by a young woman who died there, and a whole range of deaths followed throughout the 19th Century

The Thames is the second oldest geographical name in the country only Kent pre-dates it. Julius Caesar called it Tamesis, no one knows why

Lilian Baylis, the manager of the Old Vic, cooked her meals backstage during the show and the aroma filled the theatre

The Great Eastern Hotel once boasted two Masonic temples, its own railway siding and weekly sea water deliveries for its natural brine baths

Old English skittles, once popular in pubs across the southeast, but now confined to a single alley at the Freemasons’ Arms in Downshire Hill, Hampstead

A taxi rate of a shilling (5p) a mile was established in an Act of 1662 by King Charles II it was not increased until 1950 nearly 300 later

St. Margaret Pattens Church in Rood Lane has a memorial to James Donaldson, a ‘City Garbler’, and a person who specialised in selecting spices

The Japanese term for a business suit is a sebiro, a simple transliteration of Savile Row a street famous for London’s finest tailors

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: Foundation stone

On 21 June 1675 only a few onlookers observed as Thomas Strong, a master mason, set into place the first stone of St. Paul’s that was lowered deep into the earth. The lack of fanfare could be attributed to the King fearing for his safety. He had recently implemented financial measures which were unpopular in the city and had caused great distress, there had also been considerable controversy over the plans for the Cathedral.

On 21 June 1937 the first TV broadcast of a tennis match from Wimbledon was shown of a 1st round match between Bunny Austin & George Rogers

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

Holborn Viaduct was built in 1869 to overcome the steep slope on both sides of Farringdon Street and is the world’s first road flyover

On 21 June 1944 the Kinks singer Ray Davies was born in Muswell Hill, London “Well, I’m not the world’s most physical guy”

William IV was the last king ever to dismiss his government, although all subsequent monarchs have in principle been free to do so

On 21 June 1978 the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical Evita premiered at the Prince Edward Theatre, starring Elaine Page

There are 32 pods on the London Eye, one for every borough, but they’re numbered 1 to 33 – no number 13 for superstitious reasons

The 21 June 1997 saw England all out for just 77 runs their lowest score at Lords since 1888 one Aussie bowler took 8 wickets for 38 runs

Electric cabs on Victorian streets numbered a mere 19 at the time 10,361 horse drawn cabs plied for hire and continued in service until 1947

Prince Philip who first referred to the Royal Family as “The firm” also described Buckingham Palace as “not ours, it’s a tied cottage”

On 21 June 1854 the 1st VC was awarded to Charles Davis Lucas who picked up a live shell from his ship’s deck throwing it into the sea

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 computer

On 14 June 1822 the Astronomical Society in Bedford Street received a paper from mathematician, philosopher and mechanical engineer, Charles Babbage, entitled ‘A note respecting the application of machinery to the calculation of astronomical tables’. It was an automatic mechanical calculator the precursor of the computer, little did this son of a Walworth banker realised how his thesis would develop into the present digital age.

On 14 June 1971 the world’s first Hard Rock Café opened in Old Park Lane, it contains London’s only rock n’ roll museum tucked away in an old Coutts Bank vault

At Westminster Abbey traces of skin from a 14th century thief who attempted to steal the church’s valuables are still nailed to a door

Westminster Abbey was built on what was a remote island called Thorney Island situated in the middle of some marshland to the west of London

Dirty Dicks PH comes from dandy Richard Bentley whose house was on the site, on their wedding eve his bride died after which he lived in squalor

On 14 June 1380 revolting peasants occupied London and decapitated Archbishop Simon of Sudbury his skull is on display in Sudbury in Suffolk

Little St Pauls Cathedral is a sculpture on the side of Vauxhall Bridge and only visible from the River Thames

Henry VIII’s Wine Cellar a 40,000 cu. ft. cavern weighing 800 ton was moved more than 40ft to preserve it during the rebuilding of Whitehall

Tottenham Hotspurs deliberately set Jimmy Greaves’s 1961 transfer fee from AC Milan at £99,999 to avoid putting him under the pressure of being the first £100,000 player

The longest gap between stations is 3.89 miles from Chesham to Chalfont and Latimer; the shortest Covent Garden to Leicester Square 0.25 miles

The Mercers Livery Company is the oldest of London’s Guilds with ordinances dating back to 1347 and are No. 1 in the list of precedence

Estimated distances Bow Bells could be heard from City in olden days (definition of true Cockney) – 6 miles to east, 5 north, 3 south, 4 west

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.