The A-Z History of London

A-Z History of London

To celebrate the launch of Philip Parker’s new book, The A to Z History of London, here are 10 facts about London that you might not know.

Interested in learning more about the history of London? Buy the A-Z History of London online from 3rd October.

Did you know these 10 facts about London?

Phyllis Pearsall, the creator of the first A-Z street atlas, walked along 23,000 streets during her research

A 1936 map of London
A-Z Map of London 1936. © Geographers’ A-Z Map Company Limited

The jazz trumpeter Humphrey Lyttleton performed an impromptu jazz concert outside Buckingham Palace on VE Day, 8 May 1945.

In 1966 the remains of the church of St Mary Aldermanbury were dismantled, moved brick by brick to Fulton Missouri and then reassembled.

Parking meters were first used in London in 1958 (when it cost 6d for an hour, or 2.5 pence).

Parking meter in London, 1960
A traffic warden writing out a ticket for a car which had not paid the parking fee on the parking meter scheme in Mayfair, London 1960. (CC BY 2.0) Flickr/Billy Black

There used to be S and NE London postcodes, but these were abolished in 1866 after a report written by the novelist Anthony Trollope.

Dr Watson, Sherlock Holmes’s sidekick in the novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, trained at St Bartholomew’s Hospital.

St  Bartholomew’s Hospital
St Bartholomew’s Hospital, early 19th century. Public Domain, Link

During the Blitz in 1940-41, up to 177,000 people sheltered nightly on the platforms of London’s tube network.

The land to build Heathrow airport on was bought for £15,000 from the Vicar of Harmondsworth.

Map of Heathrow Airport from 1936
Map of Heathrow Airport from 1936. © Geographers’ A-Z Map Company Limited
© Crown copyright and database rights 2019 OS 100017302

During the Second World War, London Zoo’s poisonous snakes and tarantulas were killed for fear they might escape after a German bomb raid.

During the Second World War, part of Billingsgate Market was used for research to develop an unmeltable iceberg which the Allies could use as a gigantic aircraft carrier.

Buy The A-Z History of London

The A-Z History of London
If you enjoyed those, you can buy the hardback book: A-Z History of London online from 3rd October.

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