May
18
2012
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What was there before London’s Olympic Park?

olympic siteThe London Olympics 2012 are about to begin. As you watch the opening ceremony and view the Olympic Park it will be hard to believe that this was once a landscape of marshland, and later an industrial site intersected by watercourses and railways which in recent decades had declined into an industrial wasteland. The 250 [more...]

Aug
08
2010
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What was the Gallery of Practical Science, or Adelaide Gallery, in London?

adelaide gallery of practical scienceThe Gallery of Practical Science opened in 1832 in London. Its aim was to inspire an enthusiasm for science, with plenty of working models of science and technology in action. Inventor Jacob Perkins was the driving force in forming a “Society for the Illustration and Encouragement of Practical Science” which ran the National Gallery of [more...]

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Jun
29
2010
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What is the origin of the “Tom and Jerry”?

tom-and-jerry-life-in-londonFor those who don’t know, a Tom and Jerry is a mixed drink, a variety of eggnog made with rum and a little brandy, usually served warm, popular at Christmas time. So why is it called a Tom and Jerry? It is a long story and has a long history. The drink was invented by [more...]

May
03
2010
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Whose statue has been missing since 1841 in London?

trafalgar-square-fourth-plinthWhen Trafalgar Square was laid out, it was planned to have four major statues at the corners, two equestrian statues and two standing figures. An equestrian statue of George IV was soon installed. He was not particularly respected, but the original idea for the square was his, and as the plan progressed, the square was [more...]

Feb
28
2010
3

Which English novel has the most memorable opening and closing lines?

paris-londonOne could, of course, argue about which English novel has the most memorable opening and closing lines, but since the novel has sold more than 200 million copies and is the most printed original English book, it is safe to say that the greatest number of persons have had a chance to remember the lines: [more...]

Feb
26
2010
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What does the author of “The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling” have to do with the establishment of the London Police, or what is a “Bow Street Runner”?

henry-fieldingMany will remember that the hero of Henry Fielding's novel had a lively career that often ran afoul of the law. When the novel was published in 1749, Fielding was a magistrate in the Bow Street magistrates' office in London, also the site of the Bow Street Court. At the time, pursuit of criminals was [more...]

Feb
10
2010
1

Can I walk under the River Thames?

Greenwich Foot Tunnel (photo by victoriapeckham CC-BY)The River Thames flows through London and there are two tunnels which you can walk through between the south and north banks. First, a little about the history of foot tunnels under the Thames. The first foot tunnel constructed under the Thames was the Thames Tunnel opened in 1843. Construction had started in 1825, but [more...]

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Oct
07
2009
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What does the Constable of the Tower of London do?

Tower of London: fortress, palace, prison, armoury, mint, and much more (Photo by by pikous CC-BY-2.0)google sniper A new Constable of the Tower of London is appointed today. But what exactly does the Constable do? The Tower of London was founded by William the Conqueror in the 1080s. The castle is strategically sited on the Thames on the eastern approach to London and near London Bridge, for centuries the lowest [more...]

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Mar
23
2009
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Who attended the 2009 London Summit?

Excel - venue of this year‘s G20 Summit. (photo by Herry Lawford CC-BY)On 2 April 2009, London was the venue for the meeting of the leaders of the G20 countries. The UK is 2009’s chair for the Group. G20 stands for Group of Twenty and is made up of countries with the world’s largest economies. Together the G20 countries represent 90% of global GNP (gross domestic product), [more...]

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Mar
21
2009
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Do I have ancestors with a criminal record?

Statue of Justice above the Old Bailey (photo by Rachel Scott Halls CC-BY)Family history researchers must be always ready to be shocked when they find a ‘skeleton in the cupboard’ while researching their family tree. Thieves, arsonists, bigamists and even murderers can be revealed. In the UK, types of records relating to their criminal past can be many and varied, and found in many different archives including [more...]

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