Monday Miscellanea

Dave Haste
By Dave Haste Last edited 134 months ago
Monday Miscellanea
The National Theatre

This Week In London’s History

  • Monday22nd October 1809: The Croydon Canal, linking Croydon to Deptford via Forest Hill, is opened. Requiring 28 locks to overcome the gradients of the route, it would never become a commercial success, and would be closed just 37 years later.
  • Tuesday23rd October 1731: A fire breaks out in Ashburnham House in Westminster, damaging much of the Cotton Library – a renowned collection of Middle English literature. Prompt action by the Speaker of the House of Commons manages to save about three quarters of the collection. Wednesday24th October 2003: Concorde’s final commercial passenger flight touches down at Heathrow airport. Thursday25th October 1976: The National Theatre on the South Bank is opened by the Queen, following several years of delays. Friday26th October 1992: A Computer Aided Dispatch system is introduced at London’s ambulance service. The system does not fare well, and is blamed for massive delays in assigning ambulances to calls (and reports of up to 30 deaths as a result).

    Random London Fact Of The Week

    Not so much a ‘fact’ as a ‘contradiction’ this week…

    Where was London’s first public toilet located? There seems to be a fair amount of disagreement. From some very cursory research, we have discovered that:

  • Quite a few sources claim that London’s first public toilet was constructed in the mid 19th century, and situated very close to what is now the Royal Exchange exit of Bank tube station.
  • Other sources claim that Queenhithe Docks, which were located on the north bank of the Thames just south of Upper Thames Street, were named after Queen Matilda (wife of Henry I) who paid for the nearby construction of a convenience “for the common use of the citizens”, in the 12th century.
  • Westminster Council seem to think that the public loo under Oxford Circus, which opened in 1885, is “the world’s first public toilet”. We think they’re probably wrong.
  • The Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society (amongst others) believes that Britain’s first public toilet opened in 1852 on Fleet Street.
  • Anyone know any better?

    London’s Weather This Week

    Once again the forecasters disagree. We like the forecast that says it will be crisp, bright and generally autumnal. We don’t like the one that says it will rain in the middle of the week. Realistically, either could happen.

    Picture taken from David Wilmot’s Flickr photostream under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike licence.

    Last Updated 22 October 2007