What You Didn’t Know about Europe’s Craziest City: London

London has so many secrets, it’s hard to keep track. Luckily, Helvetiq’s LondonIQ is here to enlighten us on the 10 greatest secrets of the concrete jungle.

 

1. There are flamingos where?

At the top of the old Derry and Tom’s Building, a department store at 99 Kensington High Street years ago, stands one of the largest roof gardens in Europe. Now named the Kensington Rooftop Gardens, there are said to be four resident flamingos living at the Roof Gardens, as we know of.

 

2. A piece of London in the desert.

In 1971, Lake Havasu City, Arizona inaugurated the London Bridge since the incarnation in London was narrow and blocked river traffic. Now, it is Arizona’s second-largest tourist attraction after the Grand Canyon. Good for them, those cowboys needed something else besides the big rocks.

3. Fashion faux pas?

In North-West London, the pupils at Harrow School are required to wear a straw hat as a part of their uniform. We can’t judge too much though, Harrow’s alumni already include eight former Prime Ministers.

4. Can you see me now?

Which major London street is named for one of the city’s ‘lost’ rivers?

Fleet Street is actually named after one of the city’s “lost rivers”. It’s the largest underground river that was originally used to transfer goods; however, it gained the reputation of being disease and ridden with misfits.

5. Won’t you read me a bedtime story first?

Under the reign of William the Conqueror, every Londoner was required to go to bed at 8 p.m. In order to ensure a good night’s sleep, a bell was rung to signal the curfew.

6. The More the Merrier!

If you’re superstitious, and are dining with a party of 13, Savoy’s is the place for you. At the hotel, there is a special little kitten that happily joins parties of 13 for dinner. His name is Kaspar; he is an art piece that was originally created to keep away the bad luck, but now, he is served a dish just like a normal customer and even wears a napkin. Bon appetite!

7. Halloween comes early.

At the Langham Hotel, there is said to be a ghost who haunts the halls. You can easily spot him because he will be wearing traditional Victorian evening wear- what’s worse? He only appears during October! …Talk about spooky.

8. Back in time…

Are you familiar with the 21-metre-high, 3,450-year-old Cleopatra’s Needle on the Embankment? Of course you are! But, were you aware there’s a 19th-century time capsule buried underneath? The time capsule contains British currency, a railway guide, a bible and photographs of 12 English beauties of the day. Now that we know about it, all we have to do now is wait until it’s cracked open.

9. Chief Mouser at your service!

10 Downing Street has employed mousers since Henry VIII’s reign. David Cameron’s cat Larry was the first kitty to go on duty. However, he had to begin sharing the title with another cat, George Osborne’s Freya, because he was too laid-back on the job. Maybe he was in it for the food instead of the reputation.

10. I hear wedding bells.

St Bride’s Church was the original model for a tiered wedding cake. Sadly, this building no longer stands and after the Great Fire of London in 1703, Sir Christopher Wren redesigned the building and named it Fleet Street Church.

 

 

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