London: a city famed for its history and its present day. Perhaps it is the only place which has the best of both worlds? Whether you believe that’s true or not, you cannot deny the appeal of the United Kingdom’s capital. So, if you love London, you’ll love these mind-boggling six facts.
1. Sadly London wasn’t always so full of life. In fact, between 1665 and 1666, almost a quarter of the city’s population was killed in the (not so) great plague. This equates to around 100,000 people in just 18 months.
2. On a brighter note, more than three hundred languages are spoken in London. Can you even name fifty? It’s a city of cultural diversity, famed for embracing people from all walks of life and learning from each other’s unique perspectives. And whether those perspectives are spoken through Mandarin, Spanish, Bengali, English or any other language, it does not matter. It is one big city for us all to share.
London is made by its people - seen here as they cross the Millennium Bridge
3. One of the capital’s most talked about features - the tube (also called the underground) - could have been completely different. When the transit system was first discussed, engineers proposed filling the tunnels with water and moving between stations by boat. It was even suggested that horses were taken down to pull carriages around in the dark. Now, while this all sounds fun, we are glad they eventually opted for trains. Much more efficient.
4. Speaking of the tube, the underground is said to to play host to three million commuters a day. That’s no small amount! Despite this extraordinary figure, there have only been three babies born on the transit system. One of them you may know - have you ever heard of Jerry Springer? Yup that’s right - the famous American talk show host was born at Highgate station on the thirteenth of February, 1944, while his mother sought refuge from a bombing raid.
The Underground - an engineering marvel
5. While you may think that any taxi drivers can paint their cab black and call themselves a classic London ‘Black Cab Driver’ - this isn’t actually the case. To be given such a famous title, they have to pass an incredibly rigorous test. But how hard can it be you ask? The answer is extremely. But if you want to try memorising approximately 320 routes through 25,000 streets, be our guest!
6. Now, in such a grand city filled with big impressive attractions like Big Ben and the London Eye, you may be surprised to hear that the capital also has one of the most famous tiny statues. Proudly displayed in Philpot Lane, there is the incredibly adorable statue of two tiny mice enjoying some cheese, which was dedicated to two builders who unfortunately fell during the construction of the monument. But why did they fall? They were arguing over a missing sandwich. So why was it missing? Unknown by the builders, it was taken by some troublesome mice who were part of an infestation there. And so the story of the statue goes.
We refuse to believe adorable creatures like mice could ever be so mischievous
And there you have it - some facts about London you may not have come across before. With plenty of character, style and culture, it is absolutely worth a visit.
If you loved these facts, why not have a look through our London Photography Collection?