On 19 March 1958 the United Kingdom’s first planetarium opened adjacent to Madam Tussaud’s waxwork museum. Built on the site of an old cinema destroyed by a World War II bomb the new planetarium seated 330 beneath a horizontal dome, the opto-mechanical star projector gave a view of the night sky as seen from earth. Due to falling numbers it was closed in 2006. To say ‘farewell’ to the planetarium the public were allowed free entry to the show in its penultimate week.
On 19 March 1702 upon the death of William III of Orange, Anne Stuart, the sister of Mary, succeeded to the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland
Acid Bath Murderer John George Haigh was driven to murder 6 people by lust to drink his victim’s blood. He was hanged at Wandsworth Prison
The Princess Louise pub at 208 High Holborn was built in 1872 and named after Queen Victoria’s 4th daughter
The viewing plinth at the top of The Monument was caged in 1842 due to a high number of suicides many having a connection to bakers
The Soviet Union ran a spy ring from 49 Moorgate. Special Branch raided the place in 1927 finding ¼ million documents and crates of rifles
Jeffrey Archer’s London phone number ends 007 – he bought the old flat of Bond composer John Barry, who’d chosen the number
Rackstrow’s Museum of Anatomy on Fleet Street was popular in the 1700s because he was a skilled modeller in replicas of reproductive system
When The Oval, home of Surrey County Cricket Club, was built in 1845 over 10,000 pieces of turf from Tooting Common were used
The first London buses were so slow that operators provided free reading matter, the omnibuses could carry 22 people and were pulled by three horses, the service ran four return journeys every day.
The Wellcome Library on 183 Euston Road is home to the world’s largest collection of cards put in phone boxes by sex workers
Rumours of a woman with the head of a pig in Manchester Square who inherited a fortune communicating only in grunts – men advertised to meet her
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.
Kensington & Chelsea is London's smallest borough by area, at 4.7 square miles (12.2 sq km) #LDNTrivia
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London A-Z Street Atlas - Historical Edition by Phyllis Pearsall When the Geographers' A-Z Map Company realised that the first edition of their iconic A-Z was passing hands for thousands of pounds they decided to reproduce it for those with less deep pockets. This is a fascinating exploration of pre-war London. Essential reading for any aspiring cabbie.