A Local’s Guide to London
Most tourists just blindly follow their tour guide. Still, there are many interesting little facts about London, which only someone who has lived there will know. London is one of the most visited cities in the world. Every knot and crevice has its own historical significance. Each year, over 15 million international tourist visit London. With so many visitors to choose from, the London tour guides have fallen into a rut. They will regurgitate the same information over and over again. In the end, it will be almost impossible to discover something new about London. So, forget your prepackaged tour guide and get to know some interesting facts about the London of the Londoners. The first area with knowing is Big Ben. You can already read up all the historical significance of this clock. Still, you won’t find much information on an interesting little incident that occurred there in 1995. That year a flock of bird landed in the one minute hand. This caused the clock to fall 5 minutes behind. The clock itself is managed using old British pennies. A penny is added to the pendulum when Big Ben is overclocking. A penny is removed when it is going too slow. It is impressive that such a giant clockwork machine is managed by a little penny. Its chimes can also be heard around a 5 miles radius. If you get lost, you can use the chimes to find your way around. As long as you can hear it, at certain hours you will know your location in relation to the clock. Another place rich in cultural history is The Tower of London. Aside from being the site of many tragedies, the Tower has a vault filled with jewels worth 20 billion Euros. It is worth visiting just to check out those gems. It also has a collection of wild animals in cages, kept in eternal display. Its first addition was a lion. The Tower also has a silly superstition. It is always making certain to keep 6 Ravens inside the Tower. If all the Ravens ever leave, it means the Tower and the nation will fall. Buckingham Palace also has some interesting information. Lately, there has been a petition circulating. These taxpayers are apparently tired of maintaining the palace of the Kings. They want the monarchs to pay for the repairs. The Palace certainly does have plenty of things that still need reparations. In World War II, it got bombed like 9 times. The underground is partly eroded because it has the river Tyburn running beneath it. As for the Westminster Abbey, one can get buried there cheaply by being buried standing up. In the grave of the poet Edmund Spenser, there is some interesting writing. It is said to be the unpublished works of some of his contemporaries like Shakespeare. Like others of his peers, Shakespeare threw in some of his manuscripts to honor Spenser. It would not kill archeologist to dig up the stiff to get access to these unknown works. The Chair used in the Coronations also has some interesting 18th century graffiti. Children in those days were allowed closer to the Coronation Chair. As such, they scribbled on the chair as is the habit of the little ones. Travelers who visit the London Underground will note that the Tube has a strange buzzing sound. The Tube has its own unique species of mosquitoes that make that sound. During the Victorian Era, it was believed that those noises came from Hell. The Tower Bridge has its own unique local history. In 1912, the pilot Frank MacLean flew through the part of the bridge that splits open to allow ships to pass. During the 1910s, the walkway of the Bridge was closed for some time. It was a favorite hangout spot for low lives and ladies of the evening. The Bridge was often used suicide attempts. Even today, there is the occasional jumper, though authorities are on the lookout in this bridge. More recently, there was a bus driver named Albert Gunton who jumped the bridge, with 20 passengers. When he landed safely on the other side, he was awarded the 10 euros he was promised. The Soho district is actually named after a medieval hunting cry. In 1959, Poubelle opened. It was London’s first disco. The named meant the trash; appropriate name for an illegal, underground club. So, while you are wandering about London, keep these interesting little facts in mind.