1 In 1647 Parliament banned Christmas
Political leader Oliver Cromwell thought that the holy day shouldn’t be celebrated and drinking and feasting on such a day was just immoral. He garnered support for his views and celebrating Christmas was abolished until in 1660 Charles II took over the throne and lifted the ban.
2 Hyde Park has got its own Dark Secret
Hyde Park is a very attractive tourist destination. However little do we realise that an old pet graveyard lies within the famous park’s grounds. The graveyard dates back to the 19th century. When you are in the park, the graveyard is nowhere to be seen. In order to find it, you have to really look for it.
3 There’s a Mystery House where No One Lives
Number 23 and 24 at Leinster Gardens in Paddington are dummy houses. The facades were built to match the neighbours and to cover up the rail tracks of the Metropolitan line. The Metropolitan line is the oldest tube line and opened in 1863. These fake terraced facades are maintained by Transport for London.
4 Harrods used to Sell Cocaine
Until 1916 you could easily and legally buy cocaine and heroin in Harrods. It was supposed to be used as medicine, however, people could’ve bought it for a variety of different reasons.
5 A Water Pump that caused the Cholera Outbreak
The Broad Street cholera outbreak happened in 1854 in Soho and took lives of 616 people. John Snow, a physician, studied the causes of the outbreak and realised that the disease was transmitted by contaminated water.
At that time many companies were selling water drawn from the Thames which was very contaminated and contained the Cholera bacteria. He also concluded that the deaths happened in neighbourhoods nearby the Broad Street pump. Snow’s analysis of cholera and its causes helped to tackle the outbreak and in 1992 a replica pump was installed in the memory of John Snow’s significant work.
6 It’s Illegal to Feed Pigeons in Trafalgar Square
Pigeons are very messy birds and the more you feed them the more birds you attract.
In 2003 the Mayor of London successfully secured a bill to ban feeding pigeons in Trafalgar Square since it was becoming unbearably messy.
7 Black Cab Drivers know Every Single Street in London
If you ever encounter a black cab driver, then you are in safe hands. Before getting a job as a black cab driver, these hopefuls have to learn all 25,000 streets of London by heart. Studying such a large number of streets takes from 2 to 4 years and then they sit a very complicated test called The Knowledge.
8 Three Babies have been Born on the London Underground
One of these babies is Jerry Springer who is the US talk show host. He was born at Highgate Station where his mum was sheltering from a bomb raid.
9 Everyone in the UK drives on the Left
Although in the whole of Europe everyone drives on the right-hand side of the road. Londoners and the whole of Great Britain drive on the left-hand side. When getting a rental car in London keep that in mind.
In most ex-British colonies people also drive on the left-hand side.
10 One Thousand Bodies are Buried underneath Aldgate Station
The dreadful plague outbreak of the 17th century took the lives of almost 100,000 people. Bodies were buried in plague pits (mass graves) since the graveyards ran out of space with so many deaths happening across London.
It’s believed that all metro lines are slightly curved for a reason. When building the oldest lines the engineers diverted them to avoid plague pits.
Read more about how to live like a True Londoner.