All photos by José Farinha
As part of the Totally Thames festival, Londonist last week took to the good ship Millennium Diamond (flagship of the City Cruises fleet) for a quiz along the Thames. We set 50 questions, all relating to the river and buildings along its route. The winning team achieved 44 out of 50 points. Take the quiz below, to see if you would have beaten them...
Round 1: Out the window
The following questions all relate to places along the river which the boat was passing at the time (although you don't need to be able to see the locations). The quiz begins just before Blackfriars Bridge, heading downriver, where we start with Doggett's pub.
1. The oldest rowing race in the world takes place on the Thames each summer, and is named after the race founder, Thomas Doggett (whose namesake pub is off the starboard bow). Name the two wearable prizes mentioned in the race’s full name?
2. To the north, under Blackfriars Bridge, you can sometimes see a metal gate. This is the overflow outlet for what is now a sewer, but which used to be a substantial river. Name that river.
3. MULTIPLE CHOICE: Over on the right is Tate Modern, formerly Bankside Power Station. It was designed in the 1940s by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott. Which of the following four structures was NOT another work by Giles Gilbert Scott? (a) Battersea Power Station; (b) the hotel frontage at St Pancras station, formerly known as the Midland Grand; (c ) The red telephone box; (d) Waterloo Bridge.
4. In the distance is St Paul’s Cathedral. Its even-larger predecessor was damaged in the Great Fire of London in 1666, and soon demolished. What existing building then briefly became the tallest in London?
5. (Just under Southwark Bridge) I’m going to read out the opening lines of a novel, which take place in exactly this spot and time of year. All you have to do is name the novel (not the author): “In these times of ours, though concerning the exact year there is no need to be precise, a boat of dirty and disreputable appearance, with two figures in it, floated on the Thames, between Southwark bridge which is of iron, and London Bridge which is of stone, as an autumn evening was closing in.”
6. To port stands the ancient City of London, the oldest settled area of London dating back to Roman times. Name the two hills on which Londinium was founded. (They’re still still used as street names to this day.)
7. An older London Bridge was famously sold to an American businessman in 1968. In which US state was it subsequently rebuilt, still to be seen to this day?
8. William Wallace, Thomas Cromwell and Thomas More... what’s their connection with London Bridge
9. There’s the Shard — the tallest building in London and indeed Western Europe. What type of animal, dubbed Romeo by security staff, was found roaming the 72nd floor during the building’s construction?
10. On the right is HMS Belfast. What’s the connection between this fine museum ship and Scratchwood Services (now called London Gateway services) on the M1, at the edge of London?
11. MULTIPLE CHOICE: Next on the right we have City Hall, home of the Greater London Authority. What nickname did former Mayor Ken Livingstone bestow upon the building when it was completed in the year 2000? Was it (a) The fencing mask; (b) The crystal maze; (c ) The Death Star; or (d) the Glass Testicle
12. According to an ancient legend (that was probably invented in the early 20th century) if the ravens at the Tower of London go, then the Tower and Britain shall fall. With the imminent Scottish referendum, the Tower’s ravenmaster must be keeping a very close eye on his birds. But how many ravens are normally kept at the Tower?
13. Which two wives of Henry VIII were executed at the Tower of London? (half a point each)
14. In 1995, Tower Bridge was raised to allow passage of a 30-foot floating statue of whom?
15. As we pass under Tower Bridge, you should be able to see Butler’s Wharf and, ahead, the Design Museum. The museum’s days on the river are numbered. Which area of town will it move to in 2016?
16. MULTIPLE CHOICE: On the north bank, you’ll find the former dockland area of Wapping. It’s a wonderful place to do a pub crawl. But which of the following pubs cannot be found along the riverside? (a) The Hanging Judge; (b) The Prospect of Whitby; (c ) The Town of Ramsgate; (d) The Captain Kidd
17. (Grapes) In 2010, which well known journalist was described by river authorities as “ignorant and selfish” after he attempted to swim across the Thames on the stretch of river just ahead of us?
Round 2: Name That Bridge
Round 3: Deptford and Greenwich
1. At the time of her launch, the SS Great Eastern was by far the largest ship ever built anywhere in the world. And she was built just over there in Millwall, where you can still see some of the launch rafters. But who designed the ship?
2. Which playwright, who died in Deptford over there in 1593, shares his surname (save for one letter) with the Thames town where the quorn fungus was discovered?
3. Canary Wharf behind us is served by the Jubilee Line. How many times does this tube line pass beneath the Thames on its full route?
4. Whose funeral flotilla in 1806, left Greenwich for Westminster, and was accompanied by a reported two miles of boats?
5. The longest station name on a standard tube map can be found in Greenwich. Give the full name.
6. We’re passing over the Greenwich foot tunnel. There are actually two other tunnels beneath the Thames along which pedestrians can legally walk. Name them for half a point each.
7. After spending years as a white elephant, the Millennium Dome was rebranded the O2 in 2007 and has since gone on to become one of the world’s great music venues. Which band were both the first to headline at the O2 (in 2007), and also the first to play on its roof (2010)?
8. During the London 2012 games, the O2 had to change its name again, as under Olympic rules, venues are not allowed to carry sponsor names. What was it called for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics?
9. Just north of the O2, on the opposite bank, you’ll find Trinity Buoy Wharf, which contains London’s only lighthouse. The site also contains one of London’s smallest museums, dedicated to which famous scientist?
Round 4: Anagrams
Work out these Thames-side place names, not all of which are in London.
1. RED VEGANS
2. NO HEALTHY SEMEN
3. STREWN ITEMS
4. STEAMED HAM
5. BOAT HUNKS
Round 5: Flotsam and Jetsam
1. What happened for the final time on the Thames in early February 1814?
2. The Tattershall Castle is now a pub-boat near Waterloo Bridge. On which other English river did it serve as a passenger ferry until 1981, when construction of the world’s longest single-span suspension bridge made it redundant?
3. In which year did a northern bottle nose whale swim up the Thames as far as Battersea?
4. Which Thames-side settlement was first recorded in Anglo-Saxon times and has a name meaning ‘the landing place of sheep’?
5. Why was Albert Gunter, driver of a number 78 double-decker, awarded a £10 bonus in 1952? (there is a river connection)
6. Thames Water, the utility company who provides us with tap water and sewers, are not actually based in London. In which Thames-side town is their HQ?
7. Which Thames Bridge did Queen Victoria open on the same day as Holborn Viaduct?
8. Which is the most westerly bridge on the Thames inside the Greater London boundary?
9. Which book centres on the Thames adventures of George, Harris, Jerome and Montmorency, the dog? (only need title, not author)
10. What name is usually given to the Thames where it flows through Oxford?
11. What gets divided up between the monarch, the Vintners’ company and the Dyers’ company on the Thames each year?
12. Whose sordid diary entry is this?: "Tuesday 10 May 1763. At the bottom of the Haymarket I picked up a strong, jolly young damsel and, taking her under the arm I conducted her to Westminster Bridge, and then in armour complete did I engage her upon this noble edifice. The whim of doing it there with the Thames rolling below us amused me much."
That's it. 50 questions. Where a question seeks two answers, the scoring is half a point each. How did you do?
Answers are given below in white text. Highlight the area to reveal.
1) Coat and Badge
3) (b) the hotel at St Pancras, which was designed by his grandfather Sir George Gilbert Scott.
4) Southwark Cathedral
5) Our Mutual Friend
6) Ludgate Hill and Cornhill
8) Their heads were all displayed on spikes
9) A fox
10) The guns supposedly point at the service station
11) (d) The Glass Testicle
12) Seven (six required, plus one spare)
13) Anne Boleyn and Kathryn Howard
14) Michael Jackson
15) Kensington (to the Commonwealth Institute). Will accept other place names (like Holland Park) that have the right idea
16) (a) The Hanging Judge
1) Vauxhall Bridge
2) Chelsea Bridge
3) Westminster Bridge
4) Hammersmith Bridge
5) Tower Bridge
6) Chertsey Bridge
1) Isambard Kingdom Brunel
4) Lord Nelson
5) Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich (full point for exact name, half for something close)
6) Rotherhithe Tunnel and Woolwich Tunnel
7) Bon Jovi
8) North Greenwich Arena
9) Michael Faraday
1) The Thames froze over, or a frost fair (or something similar)
5) He jumped Tower Bridge in his bus
7) Blackfriars (in 1869)
8) Hampton Court Bridge (just...the Surrey border is on the south bank)
9) Three Men in a Boat (by Jerome K Jerome)
11) Swans (during the tradition known as swan-upping)
12) James Boswell
Many thanks to City Cruises.