Monday Miscellanea

Old Highbury station entrance

This Week In London’s History

  • Monday – 11th February 1826: The University of London is founded. It would later be known as University College London (or UCL).

  • Tuesday – 12th February 1554: Lady Jane Grey and her husband Lord Guildford Dudley are executed at the Tower of London.
  • Wednesday – 13th February 1247: A major earthquake causes considerable damage to London. Curiously, it is reported that the quake was preceded for three months by a complete absence of tidal activity at the coast.
  • Thursday – 14th February 1905: The Great Northern & City Railway is opened, connecting Moorgate, Highbury and Finsbury Park stations. It would later become the Northern City Line (once operated as a disconnected part of the Northern Line; but now part of the National Rail network).
  • Friday – 15th February 1929: Norman Graham Hill is born in Hampstead. Better known as Graham Hill, he would become a very successful racing driver (winning two Formula 1 World Championships) and father to racing driver Damon Hill.
  • Random London Fact Of The Week

    We may have briefly mentioned before that, until 1996, there was a fully operational nuclear reactor housed within the Royal Naval College buildings in Greenwich.

    Codenamed JASON, the reactor was originally installed in the college’s King William Building in the 60s, for the purpose of training naval personnel in the area of nuclear propulsion. In 1996, in preparation for the sale of the building to non-military ownership, the reactor was shut down and a 3-year decommissioning plan was put into place.

    By all accounts, this was not to be a trivial job. In 1995, the Independent wrote:

    The reactor… has been operational in Greenwich – which proclaims itself a nuclear-free zone – since 1963. Its weapons-grade uranium is 90 per cent enriched – 30 times more radioactive than that used in commercial reactors. “It’s incredibly radioactive fuel,” says Mr Large, an expert in nuclear systems. “It’s not a power reactor, it’s more like a neutron radiation facility. It’s a very potent piece of radioactivity in the middle of a civilian area. To move it would be quite an undertaking.”

    However it was successfully decommissioned, and the reactor (along with 270 tonnes of radioactive waste and 300 tonnes of steel and concrete cladding) was removed by the end of 1999. The full scale of the decommissioning project is documented here.

    London’s Weather This Week

    At least for the first part of this week, the forecasters promise that it will be dry and bright (if somewhat chilly and foggy at night). Make the most of the sunshine.

    Picture courtesy of Fin Fahey’s Flickr photostream.