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10 Fascinatingly Fun Facts About London

September 12, 2018

The city of London is bursting with culture, and heritage, and is home to a wealth of acclaimed universities. It’s truly one of the best places in the UK for international students.

Delving into the deep and varied history of this great city is part of what makes studying in London so appealing. With this in mind,  we’ve got 10 fascinatingly fun facts about the city that was once known as the big smoke…

1 – Big Ben isn’t the name of the clock tower

Contrary to popular belief the one of London’s most recognisable landmarks, the famous Clock Tower, isn’t actually called Big Ben. The actual bell itself, housed inside the tower, was given the nickname. The origin of the nickname is still debated in London, with some claiming the bell is named after the man who oversaw its installation, Sir Benjamin Hall.

2 – The London Underground was almost for boats

The tube regularly transports thousands of people throughout the city every single day, but the well-known London Underground was almost an underground canal system. Early proposals for the public transport system suggested that the tunnels be filled with water, allowing people to be ferried between stations using barges, as opposed to trains.

3 – People are banned from feeding pigeons in Trafalgar Square

The sight of Thousands of feral pigeons inhabiting Trafalgar Square used to be commonplace in the city, and tourists used to add to their numbers by constantly feeding the birds. In 2003, a ban was placed on feeding them or selling feed near the square by then London Mayor, Ken Livingstone. Even a hawk was used to keep the pesky pigeons at bay.

4 – Many famous faces have called London home

One of the many things that makes London fascinating is the amount of famous faces that have called the wonderful city home. From Charles Darwin, Sylvia Plath and Karl Marx, to Charles Dickens and Florence Nightingale. There are literally hundreds of iconic and celebrated people who were born and have lived in the city.

5 – The city has over 170 museums

You’ve probably heard of the Natural History Museum, the Tate Modern, or the British Museum, but there are loads of magnificent museums to discover and explore in the city. London boasts over 170 of them, and all are on the list of hugely popular tourist attractions.

6 – It’s the final resting place of many famous poets and playwrights

Westminster Abbey is the traditional place where the monarchy is coronated, and it’s one of the most beautiful and notable religious buildings in the UK. But it’s also a burial place for a number of famous poets and playwrights. There’s even thought to be unpublished works, by the likes of William Shakespeare and others, in the gave of Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser. Many writers threw their poems into his grave as a show of admiration.

7 – There’s a time capsule under an ancient artefact

An ancient Egyptian artefact located on the Victoria Embankment along the Thames, is known as Cleopatra’s Needle. As it was was being erected in 1838, a number of things were placed underneath it, including a Bible, numerous newspapers, a map of the city, and even 12 photographs of English women.

8 – Hyde Park is home to a huge pet cemetery

Hyde Park is of course one of the must-visit places in London, containing inspiring monuments, children’s play areas, and beautiful bodies of water. There’s also Speakers’ Corner, a traditional site for public speeches and debate. But the park also houses a secret Victorian Pet Cemetery, which is occasionally open to the public. It dates back to the 1880s and contains the remains of over 300 pets.

 

9 – London’s Millennium Dome is the largest building of its kind

Seeing as though the Millennium Dome could comfortably fit the Great Pyramids of Giza inside it, it’s no surprise that is holds the record of being the biggest building of its kind in the whole world. The building now known as the O2 Arena, measures 365 metres in diameter, and is a staggering 52 metres high.

10 – Only 6 people died in the Great Fire of London

You’ve probably heard of the infamous Great Fire of London, that left a large part of the city completely devastated in 1666. However, although many buildings were reduced to ruins, the actual death toll for the fire amounted to just 6 people. Many more are believed to have died from indirect causes, therefore the true figure is still unknown. A large stone monument was erected to commemorate those who lost their lives.

Are you an international student thinking about studying in London?

Then contact us at IEC Abroad today – our study abroad specialists can help you find your ideal university in the city.