Random - Latest news and reviews

River Thames to be Checked for Unexploded Bombs

An advisory notice has been issued by the Port of London authority that they will be carrying out a survey of the river next week – looking for unexploded bombs! I’m sure it is just a routine event and left-over

Spending a penny

In 1851, George Jennings set up what were called “Monkey Closets” in the Retiring Rooms of The Crystal Palace Exhibition in Hyde Park. These caused great excitement as they were the first public toilets and during the exhibition 827,280 visitors

Vintage Transport Posters at Christies

Argh – those evil people at Christie’s are tormenting me again with another sale of (for me) unaffordable, yet highly desirable retro posters. The full list is here, and below are a few of my personal favourites. Click on each

Ha! Ha! Ha! Hee! Hee! Hee! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!

Had tickets to watch Have I Got News for You being recorded last night and it was a fairly good recording with lots of mirth to work with. However, last night was notable more for the audience than for the

How the railway telegraph helped arrest a murderer in 1845

Not long after the New Year festivals of 1845 had died down, the news media of the time was much occupied with the tale of a murder in Slough. The story was notable for quite a few reasons, thanks to

British Library adds a million pages of Victorian Newspapers to its archive

A resource that I find quite invaluable when researching odd bits of history is the British Library’s online digital archive of old newspapers, and this morning, they announced that the collection just increased by around a third to some three

Map of London and its Toll Gates from 1857

Another drawing from my collection of the Illustrated London News – this time of the then vexatious issue of toll-gates around the city that charged people a fee every time they passed though. A committee had been created by Parliament

Why I am willing to pay to read the news online – sometimes

There has been much gnashing of teeth over the news that the Times Newspaper is to start charging for access to its website in a couple of months time. The news (hur!) is not that unexpected as the parent company

Brown Bread vs White Bread

I don’t like white bread. Never have and probably never will. It is bland, tasteless, lacking in texture and utterly devoid of any nutritional value. I love brown bread. Always have and probably always will. It is packed full of

Buying new furniture

I am not actually in the market for some new furniture at the moment – although the sofa could do with repair work – but I do enjoy scanning down auction house website catalogues every so often. When clicking though

BBC’s Blogworld – The Best International Blogs

My attention has been drawn to a newish feature on the BBC website that aims to review blogs from around the world “for a special BBC season about the power of the internet”. …well, at least they will until the

Secret tube train to Buckingham Palace

As a bit of a fan of tunnels under London, I am often asked about the oft-rumoured tube tunnel that allegedly links Buckingham Palace to, depending on the rumour, Downing Street or Green Park.

Vulcan Bomber Flight over London Might be Cancelled

There are hopes that one of the Cold War’s most iconic military aircraft, the Avro Vulcan will make a flight over London in 2012 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – but the flight is under threat due to a lack

Don’t forget the pancakes on Jif Lemon Day!

Some three years ago, I wrote a short hymn to a small yellow plastic container in the shape of a small lemon that brings a smile to my face each year as it graces the shelves of our supermarkets. In

Viking Funerals in London?

As open-air funerals have now been – sort of – legalised, I propose the following for my own funeral. Yes, I know it is a really bad bit of photoshopping! Not only a fantastic way to leave the city, physically