London is an iconic and contemporary city with a history stretching back to the Romans. It is called home to
8.6 million people. But here are some interesting things that maybe not all of them know.
- The Metropolitan line opened in 1863 and is the oldest underground line in the world.
- The last person to be executed at the Tower of London was a German intelligence agent named Josef Jakobs. He was shot by firing squad in 1941.
- Out of 287 tube stations, only 29 are south of the River Thames.
- In 1952, pollution was so bad that Sadlers Wells Theatre were forced to abandon a performance when smog entered the auditorium.
- Although it’s not been used since 1932, The British Museum has its own underground station. It is situated between Holborn and Tottenham Court Road.
- Only six people died in the Great Fire of London in 1966.
- Despite its rainy reputation, London has less rain on average than New York City.
- All distances to London are measurable to Charing Cross. The actual centre can be pinpointed to a plaque in nearby St Martin’s Church.
- It’s illegal to die in parliament.
- 60% of the underground is actually over ground.
- Sir Christopher Wren’s first design for St Paul’s Cathedral featured a 60ft high stone pineapple on top of the dome.
- The walkways of Tower Bridge were accessible to the public until 1910, when they were shut because they became popular with prostitutes.
- Big Ben is the name of the bell, not the tower.
- Until 1916 you could buy pure cocaine at Harrods.
- The area of Covent Garden used to be a market garden to a convent. The name is actually misspelled.
- In 1929, author J M Barrie, having no children, gifted all the rights to Peter Pan in his will to Great Ormond Street Hospital.