London (Part 2)

London Amazing Facts

50 Amazing and Interesting Facts about London (Part 2) | Amazing Facts 4U 

  1. London is famous for the plays and musicals you can see in the city’s West End. There are over 100 theatres playing shows. Each summer, a whole season of classical music concerts called The Proms are held at the Royal Albert Hall which was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871. The Proms began in 1895.
  2. Underneath the Cleopatra’s Needle on the Embankment there’s a time capsule from 1878 that’s said to contain cigars, a razor, a portrait of Queen Victoria, copies of 10 daily newspapers, and pictures of 12 “English beauties of the day”.
  3. London’s first telephone directory was published in 1880 and had only 248 names and addresses without telephone numbers. You had to call the operator and ask for someone’s name to get connected.
  4. 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.
  5. London buses were not always red. Before 1907, different routes had different-colored buses.
  6. The 1908 Russian Olympic team arrived 12 days late to London because they hadn’t yet started using the Gregorian calendar.
  7. Until 1910 you could walk across the walkway at the top of Tower Bridge. It was shut “due to lack of use” but also allegedly because it had started to become popular with prostitutes.
  8. Amazingly Harrods sold cocaine until 1916.
  9. The Times New Roman typeface was commissioned by The Times of London in 1931. They invented it after they were accused of being “badly printed and typographically antiquated”.
  10. When the 999 service was introduced to Britain in 1937, the buzzer which alerted the switchboard operators to an emergency call was so 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.
  11. In 1945, a flock of birds landed on the minute hand of Big Ben and put the time back by 5 minutes.
  12. Until 1994 there were no “Road”s in the City of London, and now there’s only one, Goswell Road. There are plenty of Lanes, Streets, and Ways, but public paths weren’t generally referred to as roads.
  13. To be a cab driver in the city, you must master 320 basic routes, all of the 25,000 streets that are scattered within those routes, and about 20,000 landmarks and places of interest within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross. It normally takes between two and four years to pass the exam. The test is called ‘The Knowledge’.
  14. The GDP of London is significantly larger than that of several European countries, including Belgium and Sweden.
  15. The people of Oslo, Norway present the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree each year in gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during World War II.
  16. Burger King sells a special $200 burger once per week in London and proceeds from the sale goes to a London charity.
  17. In order to drive in downtown London between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. one must pay “congestion charge” of 10 pound. It is possible to avoid this charge by paying a lower fee to register your car as a private taxi and then just never pick up any passengers.
  18. There is a “rain room” in London that makes rain fall everywhere in the room except the spot that you are standing.
  19. London banned drinking on public transportation in 2008.
  20. The statue of George Washington in the Trafalgar Square in London sits on imported soil from the USA because George Washington claimed, “he would never again step foot on English soil” .
  21. Amazingly New York Police Department also operates in London.
  22. It’s amazing that there are about 20 hidden rivers underneath London.
  23. There is a growing sport in Berlin and London called Chess Boxing. Players alternate between a round of chess and a round of boxing until one is declared winner either by checkmate, KO, or technical stoppage.
  24. Amazingly it is considered an act of treason to put a postage stamp with the queen’s head upside down on an envelope!
  25. The picture of the Queen on £1 coins show her age at the time they were made.
  26. St Thomas’ Hospital used to have seven buildings, one for each day of the week, supposedly so that staff knew on which day patients had been admitted. Only two of the buildings remain.
  27. The only true home shared by all four Beatles was a flat at 57 Green Street near Hyde Park, where they lived in the autumn of 1963.
  28. London’s smallest house is three-and-a half-feet wide, and forms part of the Tyburn Convent in Hyde Park Place, where 20 nuns live.
  29. The site of Tyburn Tree, London’s infamous public gallows where an estimated 50,000 people were hanged is now a traffic island at the junction of Marble Arch and Edgware Road.
  30. Only one British Prime Minister out of 51 who have held the office since 1751, has ever been assassinated. Spencer Perceval was shot at the House of Commons in 1812.
  31. Even though being the sovereign of The United Kingdom, Her Majesty the Queen is not allowed to enter the City of London without seeking the permission of its Lord Mayor.
  32. William the Conqueror ordered that everyone should go to bed at eight o’clock.
  33. 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.
  34. There are more Londons in the world than We know. The USA alone has 8 towns with the same name. Even in Canada there is its own London.
  35. Each Englishman is daily photographed on 50 street surveillance cameras.
  36. In any area you can find the Laundry room, as washing shirts and t-shirts at home is generally not common.
  37. The Olympics 2012 in London cost US $ 15 billion. London became the first city in the history that hosted the Olympic games for the third time having done it previously in 1908 & 1948.
  38. The London 2012 Olympics organizers wanted Keith Moon to play at Olympics ceremony. They realized later that he had been dead for 34 years.
  39. In Britain, motorists drive on the left except for one road: Savoy Court, leading into the Savoy Hotel, where cars enter and exit on the right. This was changed by an act of parliament.
  40. London has more international visitors than any other city in the world: About 15 million per year.
  41. London has the largest wheelchair-accessible bus network in the world.
  42. London’s ring-road the M25, is the largest orbital in the world (Length about 200 Km).
  43. There are 6,128 licensed restaurants in London, a remarkable 22% of Britain’s restaurants.
  44. There are almost 21,000 licensed taxis in London. ‘Black Cabs’ come in 12 different colors. The name comes from the device, the taximeter which was used to measure the distance travelled, which was invented in the 1890s. If the orange light above the driver is off, it has a passenger and won’t stop.
  45. The world’s first traffic light was installed at the junction of Great George St & Bridge St near Westminster Palace in 1868. It used ‘semaphore’ style signals during the day and colored gas lamps at night (red & green); with a policeman operating the equipment at all times. A month after launch, a leaky gas main caused an explosion & the operating policeman was badly burnt. The whole project was abandoned. The next traffic lights appeared 40 years later, in the USA.
  46. The current London Bridge, is the third with that name to span the Thames. The first stood from 1209-1831. The second by John Rennie, built to replace the original, lasted until 1968, when it was sold to an American entrepreneur. The current London Bridge was opened in 1973 and is the only bridge controlled by the City of London Corporation.
  47. It takes 61 seconds to open Tower Bridge, which opens about 1,000 times a year.
  48. The Monument commemorating the Great Fire of London in 1666 is the tallest isolated stone column in the world. It rises to 62 m (202 ft) on Fish Hill, 62 m away from where the fire began, in a bakery in Pudding Lane.
  49. The Museum of London, which retraces the history of London from Prehistoric times to the present day, is the largest urban history museum in the world.
  50. The ArcelorMittal Orbit, a 115-metre-high (377 Ft) sculpture and observation tower in the Olympic Park in Stratford, East London, is Britain’s largest piece of public art. It is intended to be a permanent lasting legacy of London’s hosting of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

By Amazing Facts 4U Team

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