As a Londoner, I thought I was pretty clued-up about my city… that was until I started looking for quirky facts and stories. There are so many peculiarities connected to history, transport and the famous sights; here are just a few that might surprise you too:
- A prosthetic leg, £15,000 in cash, an urn of someone’s ashes and a judge’s wig are some of the weirdest items commuters have left on the Tube.
- The City of London only has about 9,000 residents over 2.9km2.
- London was originally called Londinium by the Romans who founded the city.
- There are about 40 Overground and Underground train stations that have been abandoned.
- US talk show host and presenter Jerry Springer was born in Highgate Tube station in 1944 while it was being used as an air raid shelter.
- There are about 20 rivers flowing underneath London.
- Dolphins have been sighted in the River Thames.
- There is a pet cemetery in Hyde Park.
- Great Ormond Street Hospital was bequeathed the copyright of Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie.
- You are not allowed to feed pigeons in Trafalgar Square.
- The Thames provides about two thirds of London’s drinking water.
- The Great Fire of London (1666) destroyed about 80% of the city.
- Big Ben is the name of the bell rather than the tower – officially called The Elizabeth Tower.
- Marble Arch was designed to be the entrance to Buckingham Palace, but was eventually relocated.
- The word ‘Soho’ was originally a hunting cry – what is now Soho was hunting ground in the 16th century.
So, now you can impress your friends with some quirky facts about London.