Congratulations to Dan Griliopoulos, winner of our Medical London competition. We asked for a piece of trivia connected with medicine in London, and Dan provided this:
The premier London medical story has to be that of Samuel Pepys' stone. Not the actual operation - which was long and painful (without anaesthetic) or highly dangerous (without modern medical techniques they had to cut up through the perineum to actually reach the kidneys where the stones were forming) - but his later love for the tennis ball-sized lump of crystalline urine. He'd carry in his pocket everywhere, show it to friends, and once considered spending 24s (a hefty sum) on a display case so he could show it off in his house. He also had yearly dinners to show his appreciation at surviving, where guests would drink and eat themselves into an absolute stupor, pretty much guaranteeing that they too would end up with similar kidney problems to his...
So a copy of the much-praised tome Medical London is on the way to him.
We had several excellent entries, so here are the second- and third-place factlets, as voted for by Londonist writers. (Sorry, no prizes.)
My favourite bit of (not entirely) medical trivia is that the SAS drilled holes in the walls of the Royal College of GPs in South Kensington so they could monitor what was going on next door in the Iranian Embassy, just before they stormed it in 1980. - Callum May
As it's the 400 year anniversary of Milton's birth it's perhaps worth retelling that when St Giles, Cripplegate (now in the barbican) was having repairs done, the workmen dug him up and pinched all his teeth and most of his hair as souvenirs. And then there's Pepys, who was quite comfy with kissing on the lips the mummified corpse of Queen Katherine of France. - Helen Pope.