An A-Z of London Facts

I absolutely love London to pieces. I visit as often as I can and I’m fortunate to have a ton of friends and family that live there too. After university, I did live there myself in Ealing Broadway and worked in St. James’s Park, but how much of the touristy stuff did I do? Bugger all. So recently, hubby and I went back not to see friends (though we did squeeze a few in), but to solely focus on London. We stayed at the City Grange Hotel, a great base right next to Tower Hill tube station and managed to visit St. Paul’s Cathedral, HMS Belfast, Tower of London, see Les Mis, dinner at Marco Pierre White, the Shard, a power-rib down the Thames, and meander through Borough Market to name a few. Phew, I’m exhausted just remembering it. Anyway, I wanted to share a few facts A-Z stylee, some that I picked up from my recent visit. I hope you enjoy!

A
Much of James Cameron’s Aliens was filmed in a disused power station in Acton.

B
HMS Belfast is one of only three surviving bombardment vessels from D-Day.

C
Canary Wharf is named so after it was used to handle cargoes of fruit from the Canary Islands.

D
Charles Dickens was very into the paranormal and was linked to the famous Ghost Club of London.

E
Brixton Market was the first market to have electricity, and stands as a result on Electric Avenue. You can’t say Electric Avenue without going a bit Eddy Grant. That’s another fact.

F
St. Bride’s Church in Fleet Street is constructed in tiers and is said to be the inspiration of the classic wedding cake.

G
Only six people died in the Great Fire of London in 1666.

H
Harrods sold cocaine until 1916. (Insert shock emoji here)

I
It’s illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament. So just don’t ok.

J
The Jubilee Line is the only one to connect with all other underground lines.

K
Knightsbridge is the only tube station to have six consecutive consonants in its name. Remember that for your next pub quiz.

L
There are 32 capsules in the London Eye, but numbered 1-33. Number 13 is left out…

M
The British Museum collection contains about 8 million objects, but only 800,000 are on display at any one time.

N
Before the statue on Nelson was placed on top of the 170ft column in Trafalgar Square in 1842, 14 stone masons had a little dinner party on top. As you do.

O
London is the only city to have hosted the Olympic Games on three occasions.

P
Sir Christopher Wren’s first design proposal for St Paul’s Cathedral featured a 60ft high stone pineapple on top on the dome. Back to the drawing board for you Chris.

Q
Richmond Palace was thought to be a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, who died there in 1603.

R
‘…if the ravens leave the tower, the kingdom will fall’ – ravens are kept at the Tower of London at all times. You know, just in case.

S
The Shard is Europe’s tallest building and whilst still in build, construction workers found a fox on the 72nd floor. They called him Romeo.

T
The last person to be executed at the Tower of London was German intelligence agent, Josef Jakobs in 1941.

U
In 1998, scientists found that London Underground was home to a previously undiscovered species of mosquito.

V
The V&A has the earliest photograph of London, a view down Whitehall from Trafalgar Square (before Nelson’s Column was built), a daguerreotype taken by M. de Croix in 1839.

W
Waterloo Bridge was mostly built by women.

X
Xhit. I can’t think of anything. And Goggle isn’t even helping.

Y
Moira Cameron became the first woman to be a Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London, in 2007.

Z
During the 1200’s a royal zoo was founded at the Tower of London and remained for 600 years. Exotic animals included polar bears, lions, elephants and kangaroos.

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