London walks feature: Where should you drive on the right?
Sue Jackson, Registered Blue Badge and City of London guide, and City Lit tutor reveals, some lesser-known facts about our City.
1. The black iron cones outside many 18th century houses are linksnuffers. Before artificial street lighting, ‘link boys’ lit your way with a burning torch (a link), then extinguished it once you reached home.
2. The entrance to St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, originally faced towards the market. When it was pointed out that the altar, not the entrance, should face east, it had to be relocated.
3. The only street in England where a vehicle must drive on the right is Savoy Court, leading to the Savoy Hotel. The construction makes it difficult to drive on the left.
4. The body of Jeremy Bentham, a founder of University College, has been preserved and sits in a cupboard in the college.
5. The bright green hut in Russell Square is a cabman’s shelter, built to provide non-alcoholic refreshments.
6. The wide front doors you see on Georgian houses in, e.g. Bedford Square, were designed so that sedan chairs carrying their passengers could pass into the house comfortably.
7. The terracotta window surrounds in Russell Square were added by the Victorians to ‘improve’ their appearance. They considered Georgian windows nothing more than ‘holes in walls’.
8. Our word ‘cheerio’ comes from the summoning of a sedan chair – ‘Chair Ho!’. Pubs, such as the Two Chairmen in Westminster were places where these chairs could be hired.
9. The attractive iron pavement roundels in Spitalfields are depict activities and occupations of all the settlers in the area over the centuries - fruit for the market, a violin for the musical theatre.
10. The three brass balls outside the Castle pub in Farringdon is a reminder of the second license the pub has to act as a pawn broker. It was granted by the Prince Regent in gratitude for a loan the pub made to him at the end of a gambling evening.
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Story added 28th June 2012