It may be your first visit or your second home, but when it comes to London there's always something new and interesting you can learn or discover about the city. And as local specialists, we not only comb the city for the best serviced apartments in London, but we also like to make sure we brush up on our London knowledge when we can. Our Anniina went on a walking tour of London and below are some of the amazing, quirky facts that she discovered about the city.
FACT 1: Buckingham Palace
In fact, it was Tory politician John Sheffield, who became Duke of Buckingham in 1703, who built and named it Buckingham House for himself as a grand London home. It was associated with royalty in 1761 when George III bought Buckingham House for his wife, Queen Charlotte. It became known as the Queen's House and was transformed into a palace in the 1820s for George IV, but was not an official residence of the monarchy until 1837, when Queen Victoria moved in.
FACT 2: Green Park Flowers
This park, formerly referred to as Upper St James, was named Green Park in 1746 for simply just being green and largely bare of trees and flowers. Rumour has it that King Charles II used to go there to pick flowers and give them to pretty women strolling through. When his wife found out, she ordered every single flower in the park to be pulled out and no more planted. Green Park remains flowerless to this day.
Edward Henry Landseer, the sculptor of this popular London monument at the foot of Nelson’s Column, had never actually seen a lion at the time of its sculpting and so relied on his pet dog as a model to mould the statue. Upon looking closely the sphinx-like statue, you can see it partially resembles a canine with its hind legs and tongue sticking out. Though many queried Landseer’s novice ability as he was only known for his painting, he was appointed to sculpt the statue in 1958 and it was finally unveiled in 1967.
FACT 4: The Lords & Common's Bridges
The wrought-iron Westminster Bridge we see today, which was the replacement structure to the first erected one hundred years prior, was painted green to match the leather benches in the House of Commons. Similarly, Lambeth Bridge, the next bridge up river, is painted red to match the leather benches in the House of Lord's. The Palace of Westminster, where Parliament is housed, lies in between the two. In parliament, the rift between the governing party and opposition is also apparent by them being seated exactly two sword lengths and one foot away from eachother.
FACT 5: Queen's access at Temple Bar
Not many people are aware of this, but The City of London, also known as 'the Square Mile' is not actually part of England, but is a privately-owned corporation that is not under the power of either Government or the Queen. Therefore, when the Queen wishes to enter the City, she is met by the Lord Mayor at Temple Bar (the symbolic, and only surviving, gateway into the City of London, which dates back to 1350 and rumoured to have been designed by Christopher Wren) where she has to officially request permission from him to enter this private state. This ceremonial and respectful act is marked with a bow before the Mayor leads the Queen into the City. Likewise the Lord Mayor has to seek permission from the Queen to enter Greater London.
How many facts did you already know? If you have any more fun facts about London, we'd love to hear them via our Twitter or Facebook page!
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