Date of Publication: 30 July 2018
If you have travelled to London in the past, or are thinking of visiting the famous city in the future, you might be wondering what quirky facts there are to learn about its history. Over 17 million people visited the capital in 2014 alone, as London boasts a wealth of culture and history. London is famous for sites such as the Tower of London, Big Ben, and Buckingham Palace- but what secrets do these landmarks hold?
Big Ben is not actually called Big Ben. The giant clock is arguably London’s most famous landmark, but its real name is ‘The Clock Tower’- Big Ben is the name of the bell inside the clock tower.
The Tower of London is home to six ravens. Charles II’s (who was King of England, Scotland and Ireland from 1660 till his death in 1685) ordered that six ravens were to be placed in the Tower to protect. According to local lore, six ravens are still kept in the tower today and they must remain there at all times due to superstitious reasons. For extra measures, each raven has a wing clipped, and the tower even has spare ravens handy in case one flies away.
The famous London Underground system was initially proposed as a water based system of travel. When the London Underground was first suggested, engineers considered filling the tunnels with water and using barges to float people from station to station (or getting an army of horses to pull the carriages around in the dark). Thank goodness they opted for trains!
The Queen lives at Buckingham Palace: despite having many other royal residences, the Queen can still often be found in this central London palace. When she is home, you will notice the royal flag flying from the flagpole. This flag is called the Royal Standard, and must only be flown from buildings where the Queen is present.
The Egyptian artifact located on the Victorian Embankment- known as Cleopatra’s needle, is, in fact, a time capsule. When it was erected in 1838, a number of things were placed underneath. These included a map of London, a copy of the Bible, a rupee, some daily newspapers, and 12 photographs of the best looking English women of the time.
Be sure to check out these interesting sites, and find out more about their stories. There are so many hidden gems across London, and each street is bursting with history. Take your time exploring, and see if you can find out any secrets yourself!
Find out more about our London courses here