Not A Lot Of People Know That…
Our World | On 06, Dec 2012
Commuting by taxi around London can at times be a little boring, especially if it is a route you have travelled several times before.
However, London taxi cabs are clearly moving with the times and the one I travelled in last week had a TV in the rear. Sadly I could not tune in to SKY Sports, but the TV was playing a video of interesting facts about London – well they were interesting to me!
Michael Caine was born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite in the east end of London in 1933, and in the true traditions of a quote he never actually said, welcome to our festive edition of “Not a lot of people know that.”
An easy one to start, did you know that London is the largest city in Europe? Obvious I suppose, but did you also know that there are over 300 languages spoken in London every day?
A lot of people around the world can identify Big Ben from any picture and of course, they are all wrong as Big Ben is actually the bell at the top of the tower and not the tower or clock. Even fewer people know that the tower is officially called, the Elizabeth Tower.
London is an historic city with over 150 official monuments, but did you know that there are more than 40,000 officially listed buildings?
And now for our taxi round. Why are Hackney Carriages called Hackney Carriages and why do we call Hackney Carriages taxis?
Well, the TV in my taxi said that “Hackney” was a translation from the French “ambling nag” although this is disputed by the font of all knowledge – Wikipedia. Whatever the origin of the term “Hackney”, the phrase “taxi” is not in dispute.
In 1891 Wilhelm Bruhn invented the “taximeter”, a mechanism for measuring time and distance travelled in Hackney Carriages, and the “taxi” was born.
Late night party goers will be very familiar with the concept of waiting at the taxi rank, but when did this start? Incredibly the first recorded taxi (Hackney Carriage) rank was on The Strand in 1636 – allegedly some people are still waiting!
Final taxi fact – “the knowledge” which can take 2-3 years to learn was officially launched as a qualification in 1851.
We all know Heathrow is busy and screaming for a 3rd runway, but did you know that in 2011 some 69.4 million passengers passed through their doors.
Soho, now in the centre of London was open public grazing and farmland until 1536.
The world’s 1st ever weather forecast was given at Greenwich in 1848.
Remembering and recanting these facts around the Christmas dining table can seriously damage your cred!