London trivia — 16 June 2019

On 16 June 1824, shrugging off the irony in the name of their chosen meeting place, animal welfare campaigners, MPs Richard Martin and William Wilberforce, met with their supporters at Old Slaughter’s Coffee House to establish a ground-breaking new organisation. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) would become the world’s oldest animal welfare charity. In 1840 Queen Victoria gave it a Royal ‘R’.

On 16 June 1667 gold was buried in Cambridge by Samuel Pepy’s wife which had been smuggled out of London fearing the Dutch Navy were on the point of sailing up the Thames to seize London

Mount Pleasant PO is on the site of Coldbath Fields Prison which forbade inmates from speaking and made them spend hours on the treadmill

The pillars in the basement of St. Pancras Station are spaced exactly 3 beer barrels apart designed as Bass beer arrives from Midlands

The playwright Ben Jonson was buried standing up in Westminster Abbey – at his own request, saying he was too poor to take up more space

Conservative MP Sir Henry Bellingham is a direct descendant of John Bellingham the assassin of Prime Minister Spencer Perceval in 1812

Leicester Square was where Maurice Micklewhite saw poster for The Caine Mutiny and chose Michael Caine as new name

Westfield Stratford, the largest shopping centre in Europe, cost the equivalent of the GDP of the 25 world’s poorest countries to build

Harold Thornton invented table football in 1922 attempting to recreate Spurs with a box of matches, he played it at Bar Kick, Shoreditch High Street

The tunnel between East Finchley and Morden (via Bank) is the longest on the Underground measuring 27.8km (17.25 miles)

The Company of Watermen and Lightermen are not a full Livery Company – excluded because they charged people fleeing the Great Fire in 1666

Rosewood Hotel’s Manor House Suite is the only hotel suite in the world with its own postcode: WC1V 7DZ for the rest of the hotel: WC1V 7EN

CabbieBlog-cab.gifTrivial 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.

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Gibson

(3) Readers Comments

  1. Many thanks David.
    I’m going to order the Mark Mason book, that sort of stuff fascinates me.
    Sean

  2. The first item, concerning the foundation of the [R]SPCA had a major impact on the cab trade. Drivers would be arrested under “Mr Martin’s Act” for many a year after it came into force. Later, the SPCA would send out inspectors to examine cab horses and initiate proceedings against any driver, and his proprietor, for cruelty. For a while it was the driver who was fined but many pleaded with the magistrate that the master would tell them to take that particular horse or none at all. As many had a family to feed they would risk taking the horse. Many would “get away with it” but many others were caught. Some magistrates did have sympathy for the cabbie and would insist the proprietor was in the dock as well. In such cases both were fined but the cabbies penalty was usually a nominal one. On many occasion when the horse was considered to be so bad, the magistrate would advise the owner that if the horse was taken straight to the knackers yard there would be no fine – the proprietor always complied, knowing his asset now had little worth.
    PS, loved the item on the Rosewood Hotel
    Sean

    • If anyone wants to know more about the history of the London cabbie they could learn a lot by reading your book: Abstracts of Black Cab Lore: A History of the London Cab Driver
      The Rosewood Hotel’s postcode came from the excellent book: Mail Obsession: A Journey Round Britain by Postcode by Mark Mason

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