23 May 2017 | 15.1 °C

Fake News: Confuse Your Friends With These False London Facts

M@
By M@
Fake News: Confuse Your Friends With These False London Facts

In this era of fake news and alternative facts, we thought it apt to unleash a few spurious anecdotes of our own.

  • Jermyn Street in St James’s is a contraction of 'Jeremy Corbyn Street'. The controversial politician was born at number 87.
  • Greenwich Park is entirely devoid of starlings, and nobody knows why.
  • One of the ravens at the Tower of London is actually albino. To maintain appearances, the Ravenmaster coats the bird in a special formulation of tar every fortnight. Look out for the bird with the pink eyes.
  • London is technically still at war with Lincolnshire, owing to a special clause in Civil War legislature that was never fully repealed. The Tattershall Castle floating pub is named after a fortress in Lincolnshire — it set up moorings on the Thames in the 1980s as a subtle act of hostility.
  • The Queen does not own her corgis. They are rented from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.
  • The statue we all call Eros is not Eros at all. It actually depicts Prince Vultan, Brian Blessed’s character in Flash Gordon (1980). The film received its premiere at the nearby Odeon cinema.
  • To achieve its graceful curves, 30 St Mary Axe is clad in futuristic hybrid glass. The advanced material is repellent to water, so window cleaners must use vinegar to clean its surface: hence the name The Gherkin.
  • The Waterloo & City line is an old escape tunnel dug by Dick Turpin.
  • Tower Bridge has a hidden setting that allows the road bascules to slope down into the Thames. The feature was designed as a docking point for the Royal Yacht, whenever the monarch visits the Tower.

Adapted from the author's book Everything You Know About London Is Wrong, and with a nod of inspiration to Time Out's old Lies To Tell Tourists column.

Last Updated 13 April 2017