On 23 December 1834 architect Joseph Aloysius Hansom registered the design of a ‘Patent Safety Cab’, incorporating larger wheels and a lower axle leading to fewer accidents. It’s the type most associated with Victorian horse drawn cabs, Hansom sold the patent for £10,000 but was never fully paid, only receiving £300 for his ‘time and trouble’, by the century’s end, there were more than 7,000 black cabs bearing his name in London.
On 23 December 1970 The Mousetrap had its 7,511th consecutive performance making a world record for the longest running play
Jack Ketch’s Kitchen was a room at Newgate Prison named after the bungling executioner, here parts of those hung drawn and quartered were kept
The world’s first underground public lavatory opened in 1855 under the pavement next to the Bank of England
London’s smogs came in a variety of colours: black, brown, grey, orange, dark chocolate or bottle green – hence ‘pea soupers’
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels’s Communist Manifesto was first published (in German) in London’s Liverpool Street by the German printer J.E. Burghard in 1848
Next door to the George Inn, Southwark once stood The Tabard which was the pub from which Chaucer’s pilgrims started their walk to Kent in The Canterbury Tales
Between 1879-80 the man who originated the custom of sending Christmas cards, Sir Henry Cole, lived at 3 Elm Row, Hampstead
In the 1908 London Olympic Games marathon Charles Hefferon, with one-and-a-half miles remaining, accepted a victory glass of champagne, the bubbly caused him to vomit, and Hefferon was overtaken
Busking has been licensed on the Tube since 2003, Sting and Paul McCartney are both rumoured to have busked on the Underground in disguise
Established in 1902, Ealing Studios in West London are the oldest continuously working film studios in the world
The word ‘Strand’ is an old English word for ‘shore’. It makes reference to when the Thames was more shallow and more wide, and would have flowed along the side of the Strand
Trivial Matter: London in 140 characters is taken from the daily Twitter feed @cabbieblog.
A guide to the symbols used here and source material can be found on the Trivial Matter page.