London Facts
London Facts

37 Amazing London Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published December 18, 2019
  • London contains four World Heritage Sites: 1) the Tower of London, 2) Kew Gardens, 3) the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret's Church, and 4) Maritime Greenwich.[17]
  • The Black Death killed about 1/3 of Europe's population (25 million people) in the 15th century. London was particularly affected due to lack of sanitation and narrow streets.[11]
  • William the Conqueror built the Tower of London toward the end of 1066 as a royal palace and defense system. The Tower is guarded by 6 ravens, and, according to legend, if one raven leaves the grounds, then England will fall.[17]
  • Twenty-two people were executed at the Tower of London. The last person to be executed there was German spy Josef Jakobs in 1941.[17]
  • London has over 170 museums.[17]
  • London Diversity
    London is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world
  • London is one of the most diverse cities in the world. This bustling city has over 8 million residents who collectively speak over 300 languages.[17]
  • An outbreak of the bubonic plague in 1665 killed over 100,000 Londoners.[11]
  • Aldgate Station has an estimated 1,000 people buried beneath it. They are most likely in a mass grave dug at the time of the great plague.[16]
  • Historically, London has been known as Londonium, Ludenwic, and Ludenburg.[17]
  • The Queen of England needs permission from the the Lord Mayor of London to enter the city.[17]
  • Over 1 million people visit Westminster Abbey each year. Its official name is the Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster.[17]
  • Over 3,300 people have been buried at Westminster Abbey, including 17 monarchs, Isaac Newton, Elizabeth I, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Dr. Samuel Johnson, Geoffrey Chaucer, and The Unknown Warrior.[17]
  • Cock Lane, a small street in London, is not named after a chicken but after its site as a legal place of prostitution. In 1762 it attracted mass public attention for a purported haunting.[4]
  • London is home to several uniquely named streets, including Birdcage Walk, Ha Ha Road, Hooker's Road, and Quaggy Walk.[13]
  • Although the Beatles final live concert took place on August 29, 1966, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, CA, they played their last performance (unannounced) on the roof of Apple Corps at 3 Saville Row.[10]
  • London is ranked as the most expensive city in the world to live.[12]
  • City of London Facts
    Over 8% of Brits live in London; it's estimated that its population will grow to over 9.5 million by 2026

  • Karl Marx wrote his revolutionary Das Kapital in the Reading Room at the British Museum—in between getting drunk and asking Engels for money.[15]
  • A street named "Gropecunt Lane," which was associated with prostitution in the Middle Ages, was eventually given a less sexual name. However, in 2015, someone launched an online petition to bring the name back.[14]
  • Londoners have left some surprising items behind on the Tube, such as a prosthetic leg, a stuffed puffer fish, a samurai sword, a coffin, and a human skull.[2]
  • Only residents of the United Kingdom are allowed inside Big Ben.[1]
  • In 1945, a flock of starlings landed on the minute hand of Big Ben and put the time back five minutes.[1]
  • A London law, still on the books, prohibits anyone from importing potatoes from Poland.[3]
  • A law, still on the books, prohibits MPS (members of Parliament) from wearing armour in Parliament.[3]
  • The original London Bridge was in use for over 600 years. Heads were displayed on spikes on the bridge for 355 of those years.[17]
  • London Bridge Heads
    Notable heads that were displayed include Guy Fawkes, William Wallace, and Thomas More

  • The Walkie-Talkie building in London was unintentionally constructed in such a way that it could reflect sunbeams so intensely that the heat could melt cars and cook eggs.[5]
  • In 1952, a combination of coal, smoke, and weather created a toxic smog that covered the city for days. It directly killed 4,000 people and sickened 100,000. Modern estimates put the ultimate death toll at 120,000.[5]
  • The oldest house in London is called 41 Cloth Fair. Built between 1597 and 1614, it is one of the very few houses to have survived the Great Fire of London in 1666. The house also has a set of leaded windows that bear the signatures of both Sir Winston Churchill and the Queen Mother.[9]
  • The Aldgate Pump is a historic water pump in London with a sordid history. At one point, the water passed through graveyards, where bacteria and calcium from decaying bodies seeped into the water, ultimately killing several hundred people.[17]
  • London is the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games.[17]
  • London Beer Flood
    A ninth person died a few days later from alcohol poisoning
  • In 1814, a mysterious explosion at a London brewery created a destructive wave of beer that destroyed two houses and killed eight people.[5]
  • In one year, London buses travel an estimated 12,128 times the circumference of the earth, which is 302 million miles (486 million km).[17]
  • The London Zoo was home to the famous bear Winnie the Pooh. Winnie lived at the zoo from 1914 until 1934, during which time author AA Milne brought his son, Christopher Robin Milne, to see Winnie.[6]
  • While the London Underground transports three million people a day, only three babies were known to have been born on the Tube. The most famous was Jerry Springer.[8]
  • Sadiq Khan, the son of a bus driver, became London's first Muslim mayor.[7]
  • The Great Fire of London in 1666 devastated the city. It started in Thomas Farriner's bakehouse on Pudding Lane.[17]
  • The "Big Ben" in London actually refers to the bell inside the tower, not the tower itself. The tower is called the Elizabeth Tower.[17]
  • In the 1700s, an estimated 20% of women in London were prostitutes.[17]

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