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Big Game on Ludgate Hill

August 13, 2020
Big Game on Ludgate Hill

In October 1684 the diarist John Evelyn went to see what was probably the first rhinoceros to appear in England. She had been brought to London by some East India merchants who sold her at auction. The novelty factor allowed them to obtain the enormous sum of £2,320. Evelyn noted in his diary: ’Twas certainly a very wonderful creature’.


The money promised by the bidder never materialised, and the animal became an exhibit at the Bell Savage, which stood on the north side of Ludgate Hill and was one of the City’s most important coaching inns in the late seventeenth century.


The Bell Savage, which had been rebuilt after the Great Fire, had a large inner courtyard, complete with stabling, and so could easily accommodate its new resident, which was advertised as a ‘Rhynoceros, lately brought from the East indies’. Admission to have a look cost 12d. The rhino probably remained an exhibit for a couple of years.


The Bell Savage was demolished in 1873 to allow for the construction of the Ludgate Hill railway viaduct, which was in turn demolished in 1990.

 

Jack the Ripper

August 10, 2020

Jack the Ripper has remained a mystery for the past 132 years. That is not to say that numerous (too numerous to calculate) attempts have not been made to identify this most famous serial killer. Practically every year a new book and a new theory emerges and is pored over by Ripper enthusiasts in the hope that this is the theory that will finally nail him. But to no avail!

 

However, after reading five or six theories you come to realise that every book is slightly different in their view of ho...


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A Modern Monument to 2,000 Years of History

July 21, 2020

As you cross the Thames on the Millennium Bridge (the “wobbly bridge”) you may well not be aware that immediately below you on the north bank river path there is a fascinating record of the history of London and the UK, scientific instruments/inventions and religion in London over the last 2,000 years.

 

Leading up to the year 2000 the northern riverside, round where the bridge is now, was completely regenerated. An accessible and pleasant riverside promenade was created where previously it...


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A Recording Studio in St Johns Wood - but Not Abbey Road!

July 21, 2020

Abbey Road Studios in St John’s Wood is one of London’s biggest tourist hotspots that isn’t open to tourists. Thousands of people visit each year, graffitiing their name on the studio’s outside wall (and their neighbours’ walls too) and attempting to recreate the Beatles’ famous walk over the zebra crossing from the cover of the Abbey Road album. And rightly so. London should be proud of being the place where arguably the most famous album in the world was recorded, part of London...


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London’s First Coffeehouse

July 6, 2020

London’s first coffeehouse was founded in 1652 by the churchyard of St Michael’s, Cornhill. It was not quite the first coffeehouse in England, which had been founded in Oxford two years earlier, and it was not really a coffeehouse - more of a coffee shack. Business blossomed for the man behind it, Pasqua Rosee, and soon he was selling 600 dishes a day. From this start, the capital had acquired several hundred coffeehouses by the turn of the century, a development which set London apart fr...


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Ten Things To Know About Mary Seacole

June 18, 2020

Mary Seacole is credited as being a brave doctress and entrepreneur. There was an inner strength within Mary Seacole which made her overcome many barriers. Here are some facts about her. 



1. Born in Jamaica

Mary Seacole was born Mary Jane Grant on 23 November 1805 in Kingston, Jamaica. Her father was a Scottish soldier, and her mother was a practitioner of traditional Jamaican medicine. In 1655 Jamaica was seized by the British. At the time Mary was born, most Jamaicans worked as slaves. Howeve...


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