On 20 January 1989 Sir Ranulph Fiennes decided to test his equipment by paddling a floating sledge on the River Thames by Westminster Bridge, to ensure his equipment was suitable before setting off on his third attempt to claim the unconquered Polar record of reaching the North Pole trekking 425 nautical miles without dogs, motorised transport or air transport supply. With Mike Stroud he achieved his goal.
On 20 January 1802 Joseph Wall, former governor of an African colony, appeared in court charged with murdering a subordinate. He had him tied to a gun carriage and given 800 lashes, from which he died.
In 1868 Michael Barrett became the last to be publicly hanged outside Newgate for attempting to free Richard Burke by blowing up the prison
The Dove Pub Upper Mall, Hammersmith, where Charles II and Nell Gwynne dined, at 4ft 2in by 7ft 10in has the smallest bar room in the world
Fragrance Madeleine was trialled at Piccadilly station in 2001 to make the Tube more pleasant. Stopped after days people said they felt ill
Edward VI punished Westminster Abbey (St Peter’s) by diverting their funding to St Paul’s hence the phrase ‘Robbing Peter to pay Paul’
The 1951 film The Magic Box starring Robert Donat was the first moving picture on celluloid in a London Park (Hyde Park)
Before its current venue in Frith Street, Ronnie Scott’s jazz club was beneath a Chinese fan-tan gambling den at 39 Gerrard Street
Arsenal’s Paul Merson cashed his first football pay cheque at Barclays Bank Finsbury Park then blew it all at William Hill’s across the road
Transport for London Byelaw 10(2) No person shall enter through any train door until any person leaving by that door has passed through it
Men who searched through Victorian sewers for valuables that had been lost down drains were known as Toshers ‘What a load of old tosh!’
Between 17-25 January 1963 the temperature at Kew failed to rise above freezing that winter is regarded equal to the infamous winter of 1740
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.