Can You Beat The Champs In This Bloody Difficult London History Quiz?

By M@ Last edited 16 months ago
Can You Beat The Champs In This Bloody Difficult London History Quiz?

Join us to chat about your memories of London on our new Facebook group, Londonist Memory Machine — everyone welcome.

The second annual London Historians quiz took place at the Sir Christopher Hatton pub in Holborn. Quizmaster Matt Brown, editor-at-large of Londonist, set a particularly fiendish series of questions. Even so, the winning team scored a remarkable 47/55. Could you have beaten them? Have a go below...

Round 1: An historic picture round

Round 2: Statues and memorials

1. In which part of town can you find statues of health pioneer Florence Keen, the suffragette Edith Garrud (known for her ju-jitsu skills), and Jazzie B, founder of Soul II Soul?

2. Which London statue was tarred-and-feathered in August 1922?

3. Where in London can you find a wall-mounted plaque that includes the words ‘They shall not pass’?

4. Which of the many statues of Queen Victoria was designed by her daughter, Princess Louise?

5. Ian Dury, Kirsty MacColl, Spike Milligan and Rik Mayall all share what form of London memorial?

Round 3: Historic pubs

1. Which poet was waylaid beside The Lamb and Flag in 1679 - an event recorded there on a plaque.

2. Which Soho pub was long known as the York Minster, until a disastrous fire at that cathedral in 1984 prompted a name change?

3. Which historic pub was dubbed ‘Shakespeare’s Local’ by writer Pete Brown in his 2012 book about the place?

4. Which pub, contrary to all historical records, claims to be the childhood home of Dick Turpin, and even hung a pair of his duelling pistols above the bar… until they were nicked.

5. The Magdala pub in Hampstead, now closed, was the crime scene of which convicted murderer?

Round 4: The Holborn round

Tying in with the location of the venue in Holborn

1. Were we to travel back in time 50 years, or 100 years, without leaving this spot (the Christopher Hatton pub), we would find ourselves in the basement of a famous department store, which closed in 1972. Name it.

2. Number 133 High Holborn was better known by what name until 1933?

3. A little-known subterranean market operates out of an old bank vault off Chancery Lane. What type of goods does the market specialise in?

4. Four statues adorn the corner buildings on Holborn Viaduct. These represent Sir William Walworth (who suppressed the peasants’ revolt), Henry Fitz Ailwin (the first Mayor of London), Hugh Myddleton (who built the new river). Who is the fourth, and perhaps best known grandee of London history?

5. Multiple choice: Much of the 17th century housing north of Holborn was developed by the infamous Nicholas Barbon. What was his full, and highly unusual name?

(a) Nicholas ‘The-Lord-Is-Mine-Shepherd’ Barbon, (b) Nicholas ‘Thou-shalt-come-to-nought’ Barbon, (c) Nicholas ‘If-Christ-had-not-died-for-thee-thou-hadst-been-damned’ Barbon, (d) Nicholas Rihanna Kardashian Barbon

Round 5: London animals

1. Which real-life celebrity animal has two statues in London — one at the Zoo and another in Crystal Palace — more than Henry VIII or Charles Dickens?

2. “Sir, For many months, everybody has been bored to death with the eternal grinding of this ditty on street.” Which song, featuring an animal and London location, became so popular in the 1850s that outraged Londoners were writing letters to editors, like the one quoted above.

3. Which famous ship takes its name from an animal on the coat of arms of Sir Christopher Hatton?

4. Which famous Londoner had a pug dog called Trump?

5. Gargi, Isla and Tiffany are on public display in a tradition stretching back to the reign of Charles II. What kind of animal, and where?

Round 6: Celebrity dingbats

Round 7: Streets of London

1. Whose house, now a museum, was popularly known as Number 1, London in the 19th century?

2. What historic link do the following have in common: Shooters Hill, Stoke Newington High Street, Shoot-up Hill, Balham High Street

3. In the Disney classic Bedknobs and Broomsticks our heroes make a visit to Portobello Road, where they engage in a song-and-dance routine about the market’s riches. Their high spirits attract the attention of a spiv, who pulls a knife on Angela Lansbury. But which unlikely TV star wields the weapon?

4. Holloway Road, Upper Street and Goswell Road are all part of the same A-road. Which one?

5. Complete the blanks in this prediction by a journalist from 1845: 'Although Middlesex Street is painted on the walls on each side of the lane, 'BLANK BLANK' it is still called [by the people] and is likely ever to be so.'

8. Outer boroughs

1. Which borough was the scene of at least three, and possibly seven, Anglo Saxon coronations?

2. The London Borough of Havering was created in 1965 by the merger of the Municipal Borough of Romford, and which Essex urban district?

3. In which outer borough can you find the former home of Charles Darwin, now a house museum?

Knitted portrait of Charles Darwin... but where is his house-museum?

4. Which borough’s name is ultimately derived from the Old French for ‘strong hill’, by way of Yorkshire?

5. Winston Churchill, William Fox Talbot, Benedict Cumberbatch and John McCririck. Which outer borough, and why?

9. Music round

You can't play this one at home because we don't have a recording. It was basically the quizmaster playing London-themed tunes on his teeth. Assume you got 5/5 for this round (as many people did), and move on.

10. Odds and ends

1. In 1976, Londoner Marie White became the first woman to do what?

2. What have all the following in common? Three leaping salmon, immigrant tears and Edward the Confessor’s ring

3. Which English or British monarch was born in the middle of Richmond Park?

4. Dame Millicent Fawcett was recently honoured with a statue in Parliament Square. Her elder sister also led a remarkable life, to put it mildly. She was the first woman to qualify as a doctor and surgeon in Britain, the first female magistrate, and also the first female mayor. Name her.

5. Finally, an egotistical question about my name. I’m called Matt Brown. It seems to be a name shared by many others with an interest in London. So I’m going to do a multiple choice. Which of the following people is NOT a genuine Matt Brown.

(a) The Director of News at Transport for London; (b) the journalist who first coined the place name Fitzrovia; (c) the Mayor of London, Ontario; (d) Director of the 2016 film ‘London Town’.

See the London Historians website for details of upcoming site visits, talks and pub meetups for anyone interested in London's history.

Scroll down for answers...


Round 1: Historic picture round
1. Nelson
2. Embankment Gardens
3. Bank of England
4. Pimlico
5. Theobald’s Park (or ‘the Cedars’, the house attached)
6. Trinity (Church) Square, Southwark - statue may be 14th century
7. National Gallery
8. Trafalgar Square
9. Westminster Abbey
10. Royal Courts of Justice (or Law Courts)

Round 2: Statues and memorials
1. Finsbury Park
2. Peter Pan (full story)
3. Cable Street (though it's actually round corner on Dock St).
4. Kensington Palace/Gardens
5. Bench

The quiz winners who, for the second year running, lift the trophy. They got 47/50

Round 3: Historic pubs
1. John Dryden
2. The French House
3. The George in Borough
4. Spaniards Inn, Hampstead
5. Ruth Ellis

Round 4: The Holborn round
1. Gamages
2. British Museum tube station
3. Silver or silverware (see our site visit)
4. Thomas Gresham
5. (c) Nicholas ‘If-Christ-had-not-died-for-thee-thou-hadst-been-damned’ Barbon

Round 5: London animals
1. Guy the Gorilla
2. Pop goes the weasel. Full story.
3. Golden Hind(e)
4. William Hogarth
5. Pelicans in St James’s Park

Round 6: Celebrity dingbats
1. Bexleyheath (David Beckham, Janet Lee, Heath Ledger)
2. Hammersmith (MC Hammer and Sheridan Smith)
3. Nine Elms (nine Robert Elms)
4. Peckham (Gregory Peck and Ham the monkey)
5. Wood Green (Victoria Wood, Sarah Greene)

Round 7: Streets of London
1. Duke of Wellington
2. All follow old Roman roads
3. Bruce Forsyth
4. A1
5. Petticoat Lane

Round 8: Outer boroughs
1. Kingston
2. Hornchurch
3. Bromley
4. Richmond (named after the town in Yorkshire, which itself derives from Norman French)
5. Harrow — all attended the school

Round 9: Music round
See note above. Assume you got 5/5.

Round 10: Odds and ends

1. Qualify as a black cab driver
2. Items appearing in borough coat of arms (Kingston, Wandsworth, Havering)
3. Edward VIII (at White Lodge). See our map of all the birth and death places of monarchs
4. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson
5. (b) The journalist who coined Fitzrovia

Last Updated 26 August 2020