5 London Facts You'll Want To Tell Everyone

M@
By M@ Last edited 25 months ago
5 London Facts You'll Want To Tell Everyone

1. Who are the only two people to be imprisoned in the Tower of London and perform at the Royal Albert Hall? The answer is the Kray twins. The pair were locked up for a few days in 1952 after going absent-without-leave during national service. They were among the last people to be imprisoned at the Tower. The twins also appeared at the Royal Albert Hall, appearing on the same bill at a boxing tournament in 1951, along with their brother Charlie.

2. Speaking of the Tower of London, did you know that more people were executed at the Tower during the 20th century than any previous century? 11 spies were killed there by firing squad during the first and second world wars. Most executions in earlier centuries took place on Tower Hill, rather than inside the Tower precincts.

3. Ever noticed this statue of a boy and dolphin in Chelsea?

It's by David Wynne, who also gave London a similar statue near Tower Bridge and the statue of Fred Perry at Wimbledon. The best fact about David Wynne, however, is that he sent the Beatles to see the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The group were heavily influenced by the Maharishi, and Indian sounds are evident in many of their later songs, such as Across the Universe. The boy in the dolphin sculpture is modelled on Wynne's son Roly. Roly went on to found the band Ozric Tentacles with his brother Ed.

4. Acton Lane Power Station doesn't really sound like a hub of creativity. However, its abandoned gantries were used to film both Aliens (1986) and Batman (1989), where the power station masquerades as the Axis Chemical Works. It is here that Jack Nicholson's character was knocked into a vat of acid, which leads to his memorable transformation. The Joker was born in Acton.

"I'm The Batman. Welcome to Acton."

5. Camberwell has its own species of butterfly. The Camberwell beauty (Nymphalis antiopa) was named in 1766 by Moses Harris, after he'd observed a pair in Cold Harbour Lane. The distinctive insect is not restricted to Camberwell. Indeed, it doesn't breed in Britain, and is now a rare visitor. It can be found throughout the northern hemisphere and goes by other names in different territories. A mural showing the butterfly can be found on Wells Way, while its outline appears on the gates of Burgess Park.

Image by Kymi under Creative Commons licence.

Last Updated 22 April 2016

James

Matt, unfortunately it's a further demotion for the Joker's Gotham heritage. He would actually have been born in Harlesden (home of acton lane). Poor chap can't seem to catch a break.

Ben

Talking of the Camberwell beauty - does anyone remember the factory on the edge of the park that had the Butterfly stained glass window? Remember going past it as a kid - would love to see a photo.

tom

poooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooop