London (Part 1)

London Amazing Facts

50 Amazing and Interesting Facts about London (Part 1) | Amazing Facts 4U 

  1. Modern London, the capital of England was formed by two ancient cities called City and Westminster, which together formed a district of greater London which has a population of 8.4 million.
  2. London was the first city to reach a population of more than one million, in 1811. It remained the largest city in the world until it was overtaken by Tokyo in 1957.
  3. The City of London was the original Roman settlement, Londinium, which makes it the oldest part of the capital and was already 1000 years old when the famous Tower of London was built.
  4. With about 270 nationalities and 300 languages spoken, London is considered the most international city in the world. 2.5 million people, one third of Londoners, are foreign born. About 50% of people in London are white.
  5. The City of London is the center of business and the financial heart of the UK. It is actually one of the smallest cities in the U.K with a population of just over 7,000 residents having an area of only 1 square mile often referred to as the ‘square mile’, demarcated by its medieval boundaries.
  6. The administrative district of Greater London, while technically not a city, homes around 8.3 million residents and is large enough to fit over 4 New York’s and almost 50 Paris.
  7. The Bank of England is here along with the London Stock Exchange.
  8. The Houses of Parliament are officially known as the Palace of Westminster and it is the largest palace in the country. It has 1,000 rooms, 100 staircases and 11 courtyards none of them open to the public.
  9. The Palace of Westminster was deliberately constructed next to the River Thames, so that it could not be surrounded by a mob.
  10. The “Big Ben” in London isn’t a tower, the bell inside the tower is called “Big Ben”. Its chime is in the key of E. The tower itself is called “The Elizabeth Tower”.
  11. Buckingham Palace is also found here and is the official London home of Queen Elizabeth II and her royal family.
  12. Windsor Castle is the oldest royal residence in the world that is still being used by the royal family.
  13. Many playwrights and poets are buried at Westminster Abbey. The tomb of Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser in Westminster Abbey is said to contain unpublished works by his contemporaries including Shakespeare who threw manuscripts into his grave to honor his genius.
  14. London Eye is 135 meters high and is tallest Ferris wheel in Europe. The number of capsules for passengers represents the number of suburbs of London i.e. 32. Each “Cabinet” weighs about 10 tons, and can accommodate 25 people.
  15. The Shard, an 87 storey skyscraper near London Bridge, is the tallest building in the European Union, standing at a height of 309.6 meters (1,016 ft). It was inaugurated on 5 July 2012, three weeks before the London Olympics.
  16. The Thames is one of the UK’s longest rivers and flows through the UK’s capital city. Starting from its source in Gloucestershire, it flows 346 Km into the North Sea. The Thames is said to be one of the cleanest city rivers in the world.
  17. The Thames is home to slimy eels that used to be a traditional meal of Londoners! Wild salmons are also found in Thames.
  18. On a huge loop of the River Thames you will find the O2 Arena, which is the largest domed tent in the world. You could fit either the Great Pyramid of Giza or New York’s Statue of Liberty inside it!
  19. Rowing boats are a common sight on the Thames. Every year the famous Oxford and Cambridge University boat race takes place along the river.
  20. The oldest church in the city, All Hallows by the Tower, near Tower Hill, was founded in 675. It’s undercroft has Roman pavement dating from the 2nd century A.D.
  21. The Bethlehem Royal Hospital is world’s oldest institution to specialize in mental illnesses. It was first founded in 1247 near Bishopsgate as the Priory of St Mary Bethlehem.
  22. The tax on a deck of playing cards in 16th-century England was 2s 6d  much more than a lot of people earned in a month.
  23. Opened in 1652, Pasqua Rosee’s was the first coffee house in London. It was located on St Michael’s Alley and burned down during the Great Fire of 1666.
  24. Brought back from China by Dutch merchants, tea made its first appearance in London in September 1658.
  25. In 1647, Christmas was abolished by the English Parliament. No-one was allowed to celebrate!
  26. In 1666 in London there was the biggest fire in the history of the city, called the Great London Fire. About 60% of the city was on fire for over 4 days, the fire destroyed more than 13 thousand buildings. The restoration of the city continued for 50 years. Only 6 people died mostly from jumping from heights.
  27. Founded in London in 1670, the Hudson’s Bay Company is the world’s oldest chartered company.
  28. 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. Amazingly their names were Green, Berry, and Hill.
  29. Founded in 1694, the Bank of England was the first privately owned national bank in any country.
  30. Amazingly 20% of all women in 1700s London were prostitutes.
  31. 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.
  32. St Paul’s Cathedral was the tallest building (111 m/365 Ft) in London from 1710 to 1962. It is the second largest church in the UK after Liverpool Cathedral. Its dome is the third largest in the world, and one of the highest.
  33. Because Britain lived by the Julian calendar, until 1752 , New Year’s Day fell on 25 March.
  34. Jonathan’s Coffee-House, founded around 1680 by Jonathan Miles effectively became the first London Stock Exchange and was renamed The Stock Exchange in 1773, until it was destroyed by fire in 1778.
  35. The Bedlam asylum was one of most popular tourist attractions of 18th century London. Visitors paid a penny to watch suffering inmates. Entry was free on Tuesdays.
  36. In the 1800s gay men in London made up an entire slang language so they could communicate in public without fear of being arrested.
  37. The world’s first public street lighting with gas was installed in Pall Mall, London in 1807.
  38. In 1812, the London and Westminster Gas Light and Coke Company became the world’s first gas company.
  39. The world’s oldest public zoo opened in London in 1828.
  40. The world’s first underground public lavatory opened in 1855 under the pavement next to the Bank of England.
  41. 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.
  42. Only one house where Charles Dickens lives still stands, at 48 Doughty Street, which is now a museum. He lived there from 1837 and 1839, and it’s where he wrote Oliver Twist and The Pickwick Papers.
  43. London was the first city in the world to have an underground railway known as the tube way back in 1863!
  44. There is a metro line on which trains are electronically operated and go without drivers at all.
  45. Angel Tube Station has the longest escalator in Western Europe, 318 steps.
  46. Five stations on the Underground system are named after pubs: Elephant & Castle, Angel, Swiss Cottage, Royal Oak and Manor House.
  47. Blackfriars is the only train station to have entrances on both sides of the Thames.
  48. 55% of the London Underground network in fact runs above ground. Only two Tube stations have all five vowels in their name: South Ealing and Mansion House.
  49. There are several abandoned Tube stations, many of which are used for filming and even private parties, including Strand, closed in 1994; Down Street, closed in 1932; Brompton Road, closed in 1934; and Mark Lane.
  50. Mosquitoes live in the Tube system. They’re not native to Britain and can’t be found anywhere else. It’s thought they travelled on Underground trains from Heathrow where they arrived by plane.

By Amazing Facts 4U Team

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