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10 Things you never knew about London

A pineapple on St Paul’s, mammoth bones and more…

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1 – Covent Garden is a spelling mistake. The area used to be the market garden for a convent.

2 – Sir Christopher Wren’s first design proposal for St Paul’s Cathedral featured a 60 foot high stone pineapple atop the dome.

3 – A ghost station on the underground – Down Street – was used as a bunker by Winston Churchill during WW2, until the Cabinet War rooms were built.

4 – The last person to be executed at the Tower of London was Josef Jakobs, a German intelligence agent. He was shot by firing squad in 1941.

5 – Animals whose bones have been excavated in London: a crocodile in Islington, a hippo in Trafalgar Square, a wolf in Cheapside, and a mammoth in King’s Cross.

6 – Things left behind on the underground include: a samuri sword, a stuffed puffer fish, a human skull, and a coffin.

7 – In 1995 a flock of starlings landed on the minute hand of Big Ben and put the time back by five minutes.

8 – Sloane square station has a tunnel running overhead which carries the Westbourne, one of London’s lost rivers.

9 – Waterloo Bridge was built mostly by women.

10 – The tube travels 43 million miles every 12 months. That’s almost halfway to the sun.

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