This day in London’s History
1731: Daniel Defoe, one of London’s great characters, died. Most famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe, Defoe was also one of the first to write sophisticated fictional accounts of London life. Moll Flanders and Journal of the Plague Year are essential reading for anyone interested in the 17th century city. He is interred in Bunhill Fields alongside another celebrity Londoner, William Blake.
1993: One person died and many were injured when a ton of IRA fertilizer was detonated on Bishopsgate. Over £350 million pounds of damage were caused, almost wiping out insurers Lloyds of London. For a small display about the bomb, visit the partially rebuilt St Ethelburga’s, which now serves as a peace centre.
London fact of the week
The IRA, in its various guises, has brought death and destruction to the capital many times over the decades. We all remember the Docklands bombing, and the Bishopsgate blast, but many other mostly forgotten explosions preceded these. Westminster Hall, The Old Bailey, The Tower of London, the Hilton, Harrods, the Carlton Club and most of the mainline stations were just some of the many high-profile targets. In all, over 30 Londoners have been murdered by the IRA since the 1970s.
London person of the week
Adrian Chiles. After gurning and grimacing his way through 26 miles and 385 yards he still went on to present Match of the Day 2. What a man.