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Monday Miscellanea

By Dave Haste Last edited 114 months ago
Monday Miscellanea
Ely Place

This Week In London’s History

  • Monday26th November 1983: An armed robbery at the Brinks Mat warehouse near Heathrow Airport becomes the largest heist in British history, as £25 million worth of gold bullion is pinched.
  • Tuesday27th November 2000: 10-year-old schoolboy Damilola Taylor is stabbed in the leg and dies in Peckham, south London. The following six years would see several trials and re-trials over the killing, finally culminating in the manslaughter conviction of two brothers (aged 12 and 13 at the time of the killing). Wednesday28th November 1999: A naked man bursts into a church in Thornton Heath, south London, wielding a samurai sword and indiscriminately attacking the congregation. Eleven people are injured, some seriously, before the swordsman is overpowered. The attacker would later be found not guilty of attempted murder and assault for reasons of insanity, and would be detained at a psychiatric hospital. Thursday29th November 1330: Roger Mortimer, the de facto ruler of England for the previous few years, is hanged at the Tyburn gallows in west London. Friday30th November 1936: The magnificent iron and glass Crystal Palace in southeast London is destroyed by fire.

    Random London Fact Of The Week

    There is a small cul-de-sac just north of Holborn Circus, with a curious history. Ely Place may be spatially located in the middle of EC1, but at least until recently it was technically a part of Cambridgeshire. This all dates back to somewhere around the 13th century, when the Bishops of Ely had a residence there (Ely House).

    The bishops’ private chapel now goes by the name of St. Etheldreda’s Church, whose gardens were once renowned for their strawberries – so much so that Shakespeare mentions them in Richard III:

    GLOUCESTER: My lord of Ely!

    BISHOP OF ELY: My lord?

    GLOUCESTER: When I was last in Holborn, I saw good strawberries in your garden there. I do beseech you send for some of them.

    BISHOP OF ELY: Marry, and will, my lord, with all my heart.

    Up until 1939 the gates at the south of the road would be shut every night at 10pm, and night watchmen would parade around calling out the hours (and sometimes the weather) until 6am. We would speculate that this must have been quite annoying for the residents. This practice ceased upon the outbreak of the Second World War, and never resumed.

    (We have mentioned Ely Place once before. But it was way back in the summer of 2005, and only Londonist’s resident history geek has a memory that goes back that far…)

    London’s Weather This Week

    It looks like the temperatures are going to fluctuate somewhat unpredictably between ‘quite cold’ and ‘very cold’ this week, so be prepared. It’s also likely to rain from time to time, although the heaviest showers might just about hold off until the weekend. Maybe.

    Picture taken from Dreadnought & jb’s Flickr photostream under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 licence.

    Last Updated 26 November 2007