On 26 February 1995 Barings Bank, Britain’s oldest investment banking firm, and the world’s second oldest merchant bank (after Berenberg Bank), founded in 1762 was forced into bankruptcy after an employee in Singapore, 28 year old Nicholas William Leeson, speculated in derivatives on Tokyo stock prices that resulted in losses exceeding $1.4 billion. A trading jacket thought to have been worn by Leeson while trading was subsequently sold for £21,000.
On 26 February 1797 the Bank of England issued the first £1 banknote it remained in circulation until 1983 when the £1 coin was introduced
Pentonville Prison held a week long training course for trainee executioners who learned how carry out an execution with speed and efficiency
The first Palladian building built in Britain was Queen’s House, Greenwich commissioned by Anne of Denmark, wife of James I
The name ‘Bunhill Fields’ as in the Burial Ground is thought to be derived from ‘Bone Hill’ an area used as a burial ground for centuries
Henry VIII’s Chelsea Manor, which he gifted to Catherine Parr as a wedding present, stood where 19-26 Cheyne Walk now stand
William Hogarth’s Harlot’s Progress was inspired by the life history of the infamous Sally Salisbury who worked Covent Garden’s brothels
French Ordinary Court EC3 takes its name from a fixed price menu or as Samuel Pepys called it a French Ordinary
Arsenal tube station was originally Gillespie Road renamed when the club moved North. It is the only station named after a football team
In 1860 Sir Edward Watkins, Chairman of the East London Railway developed plans to build a ‘channel tunnel’ linking Britain with Europe
From his Wapping soap factory John Knight produced the famous Knight’s Castile soap, which won a medal at the Great Exhibition of 1851
On 26 February 2010 The Barbican hosted an ongoing concert given by 40 zebra finches with guitars as perches and cymbals as feeders
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.