London - Did You Know?
-The River Thames did not originally flow through London, but further to the north. The course of the river was shifted south by the ice cap during the last Ice Age.
-The great Tower of London was actually one of a pair of towers. The other, nearly identical, tower was built in the ancient east coast town of Colchester.
-London once had a Roman arena, like the COLOSSEUM
, but nobody knew where it was. Recently, archeologists have discovered that London's central Guildhall is sitting in the middle of it.
-In medieval London, most of the brothels were owned by the Bishop of Winchester. The regulations for the brothels may well have been drawn up by the future saint, Thomas Becket.
-Geoffrey Chaucer, the author of The Canterbury Tales, is buried in Westminster Abbey - not because he was a great author, but because his house belonged to the abbey. Chaucer was a figure at the royal court. His aunt was the mistress of John of Gaunt, the king's brother.
-Shakespeare's Globe theatre originally stood north of the river Thames. But because of a legal dispute, it was dismantled, taken across the Thames, and erected on the south bank.
-While Sir Christopher Wren was building London's St Pauls cathedral, he concealed the fact that it was to have the dome for which it is famous. The London Protestants had objected to the fact that it looked like the Pope's great church of St Peters in Rome. Fortunately, Wren outlived the objectors, and the great dome was built.
-In the great financial panic of 1825, London was also under a thick 'pea-souper' fog. Many customers, trying to withdraw their funds, were unable to do so because they couldn't find their banks in the fog!