A man bored of London is bored of Life
Home Paul Kavanagh / My London / Weird London Facts

Weird London Facts

·         Law reformer Jeremy Bentham left his entire estate to London’s University College in 1832 on condition that he be stuffed, dressed in his finest clothes and mounted in a chair from where he would continue to attend the annual meeting of the university’s board of governors. His figure is still brought out to preside over an annual debate.

·         If you find a Cab-driver in London not carrying a bale of hay overboard, he is breaking the law.
All London taxis are "Hackney Carriages" registered and in the olden days this means "Horse-drawn". Regulations stated that no horses should go hungry and therefore insisted that all horse- drawn carriages that were registered as "Hackney Carriage" (mainly Taxis) should carry a bale of hay. That rule has still not been changed hence still applies. Fortunately it is not enforced.

·         Who says you cannot drive on the right hand side of the road in London?
Well you can, but only in the Savoy Courtyard. It is a short street which leads to the Savoy hotel entrance.

·         The Strand, London.
A very famous name. Most people know about the "Strand" in London.
Well we have got news for you. No such street exists in London.

·          Her Majesty the Queen.
Even though being the sovereign of The UNITED KINGDOM, Her Majesty the Queen is not allowed to enter the City of London with seeking the permission of its Lord Mayor.

·         City of London.
The actual City of London is only 1 square mile. All other major road such as Oxford Street, Piccadilly and Regent Street actually come under "The City of Westminster"

·         The British eat twice as many baked beans per head as Americans do.

·         William the Conqueror ordered that everyone should go to bed at eight o’clock.

·         Some 80,000 umbrellas are lost annually on the London Underground.

·         Nothing officially happened in Britain between 3 and 14 September 1752. This was because the country was switching from the old Julian calendar to the Western or Gregorian calendar, a move initially instituted by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. Britain didn’t get round to changing until 1752 when those 11 days went unobserved.

·         Because Britain lived by the Julian calendar, until 1752 New Year’s Day fell on 25 March.

·         There are a dozen secret rivers flowing beneath London. One, the Effra travels under the Oval cricket ground.

·         Berwick-upon-Tweed was officially at war with Russia for 110 years. As the border town frequently changed hands between England and Scotland over the centuries, it was usually referred to as a separate entity in all State documents. At the outbreak of the Crimean War, Britain declared war on Russia in the name of Britain, Ireland, Berwick-upon-Tweed andall British Dominions. But when the war ended two years later in 1856, the Paris Peace Treaty omitted Berwick. So Berwick was technically at war with Russia until 1966 when a Soviet official, made aware of the situation, visited the town to declare peace. The Mayor of Berwick said: “Please tell the Russian people that at last thy can sleep peacefully in their beds!”

·         There are over 30,000 John Smiths in Britain.

·         Britain’s first holiday camp was Dodd’s Socialist Holiday Camp at Caister-on-Sea in Norfolk, which opened in 1906. Alcohol was strictly banned and any holidaymaker caught talking loudly after 11pm was thrown out. Accommodation was under canvas and anyone failing to keep his it her tent tidy was liable to a 6d fine for each offence.

·         When the 999 service was introduced to Britain in 1937, the buzzer which alerted the switchboard operators to an emergency call was s loud that a number of girl operators fainted when they heard it. The noise level was eventually reduced by inserting a tennis ball in the mouth of the buzzer.

·         When the water level is very low at Ladybower Reservoir in Derbyshire, a church spire appears above the surface. It is the only visible remains of the villages of Ashopton and Derwent, both of which were flooded when the reservoir was filled in 1943.

·         Portugal is England’s oldest ally. The Anglo-Portuguese Treaty signed in 1373 is still in force.

·         The town of Beverley, near Hull, was named after the number of beavers which once lived in the area.

·         In 1945, a flock of starlings landed on the minute hand of Big Ben and put the time back by five minutes.

·         Britain is he only country in the world which doesn’t have the country’s name in its postage stamps.

·         Nowhere in Britain is more than 74½ miles from the sea.

·         An old red telephone kiosk in Huddersfield was converted into a bar by a hotelier who promptly dubbed it the smallest public bar in Britain.

·         THE ALBERT MEMORIAL IN HYDE PARK.

A huge Gothic edifice erected to the memory of Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria, is decorated with sculptures which reveal an extraordinary but quite unintentional set of coincidences. There are 61 human figures (Albert died in 1861); there are 19 men (Albert was born in 1819); there are 42 women (Albert died at age 42); and there are 9 animals (Albert had 9 children).

·         EAR FOR MUSIC

The statue of Handel in Westminster Abbey has someone else's ear. The sculptor, Louis Francois Roubillac, thought that Handel's ear, though without doubt musical, was rather ugly. So he used as a model the ear of a certain Miss Rich, which, though not at all musical, was sculpturally perfect.

·         STAR-SPANGLED SPIRE

Christ Church, Lambeth, has a spire decorated with stars and stripes. Half the cost of the church was borne by Americans, and the tower commemorates President Lincoln's abolition of slavery.

·         PIERPOINT'S REFUGE

London's first traffic island was put in St. James's Street in 1864 at the personal expense of a Colonel Pierpoint, who was afraid of being run over on his way to his Pall Mall club. When it was finished, he dashed across the road to admire his creation and was knocked down by a cab.

·         THE MYSTERY OF SCOTLAND YARD

When New Scotland Yard was being built in 1888, the torso of a woman, headless and without arms, was discovered in the foundations. All the resources of the Criminal Investigation Dept. failed to find the murderer or the identity of the victim. And so Scotland Yard was built on the site of an unsolved murder.

·         THE DEVILS OF CORNHILL

When a Victorian office block was built in front of the church of St. Peter on Cornhill, a gap had to be left to allow access to the church. This ruined the architect's original plan, so he decorated his building with devils, which to this day glare down at the church door to curse the congregation as they go in.

·         THE STATUE THAT GOT MARRIED

In the gardens of Smithfield stands the statue of a young woman wearing a solid gold wedding ring. The ring was found by the market superintendent in 1924, and when no one claimed it, he had it soldered onto her finger, because as she had been standing there, supposed to represent fertility since 1873, he thought it was high time she got married.

·         UPRIGHT BURIAL

In the floor of Westminster Abbey is a tiny stone marking the burial place of the poet Ben Jonson. He was too poor to pay for the normal grave space, so he is buried standing up.

·         THE MONUMENT THAT CRIED

In St. Bartholomew-the-Great, London's oldest church, is a wall tablet recording the death in 1652 of one Edward Cooke. His epitaph asks you to cry for him, "or if ye find noe vent for tears, yet stay and see the marble weepe." This is no poetic flight of fancy, for the memorial is made of "weeping marble," so called because of its tendency to break out into "tears" of moisture.

·         THE MURDER OF SIR EDMUND BERRY GODFREY

On Oct. 17, 1678, the body of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey was discovered in a field near the present Regent's Park called Greenbury Hill. Later three men were executed for the murder. Their names were Green, Berry, and Hill.

·         A three-seater outside lavatory at Bishop’s Tawton in North Devon is a Grade II listed building.

·         Female applicants for the original Directory Enquiry operators had to be single. They were expected to resign if they got married.

·         When it was built in 1286, Harlech Castle in West Wales was right on the coast. Now it id half a mile inland. This is because the land around the castle is slowly rising – part of northern Britain springing back into position after being weighed down during the Ice Age.

·         The tax on a deck of playing cards in 16th-century England was 2s 6d – much more than a lot of people warned in a month.

·         There are more chickens than humans in England.

·         After the 1745 rebellion, led by Bonnie Prince Charlie, the government made it illegal for Scotsmen to wear kilts. The ban remained in force until 1832.

·         Although the Great Fire of London destroyed much of the city, only six people were killed.

·         Rudolf Hess was the last prisoner to be kept in the Tower of London.

 

Made by Webfactory Bulgaria WF
© 2008 Paul Kavanagh. All rights reserved.