A blog about life in London

Some Interesting Facts About The Big Smoke aka London

Some  Interesting Facts About The Big Smoke aka London

I have put together an interesting wee list of interesting facts about The Big Smoke, which you maybe never knew. If you do know them, ah well such is life and I don’t suppose it will do you any harm to be reminded of them!

For those of you that do not know, The Big Smoke is a nickname that is often used to describe London, England, usually by people that do not actually live in the city. I have personally never heard the term uttered once on the streets of London in the 6 months I have lived here. But never the less I like the term because I feel it sums the place up perfectly.

It is likely that London came by its nickname The Big Smoke, because of the smog and pollution that was created by the industrialisation of the city in the late nineteenth century, nothing has changed there I guess.

Some Interesting Facts About The Big Smoke aka London

1. Did you know, The Great smog of London was the term given to the worst ever instance of smog that affected the city during the period of Friday 5th to Tuesday 9th of December 1952. This period is acknowledged as being the UK’s worst ever air pollution event. It is estimated that up to 12,000 people died prematurely and 100,00 were made ill by the Great Smog.

2. There are two cities in London, if that doesn’t confuse you nothing ever will. Let me explain there is the City of London in the east and the City of Westminster to the West. The City of London, was what you could say the commercial capital of the city and Westminster was the Government Capital of the City..

3. The official centre of London can be found at Trafalgar Square and is represented by a plaque on the ground behind the King Charles I statue. This is where all distances to and from London are measured from and to this very day the road mileage distances on the road signs in the UK are still measured from this point.

4. King Charles I of England, Scotland and Ireland was the only monarch of England to ever be tired by a legal process, deposed and sentenced to death. During his trial at the Great Hall at Westminster, Chief Judge Bradshaw read out the verdict of the court, “he, the said Charles Stuart, as a tyrant, traitor, murderer and public enemy to the good of this nation, shall be put to death by severing of his head from his body.” He was beheaded in public, in front of The Banqueting House in Whitehall, London (which still exists to this very day) on 30th January 1649. A scaffold stage was especially erected for the occasion. Did you know the statue of Charles I on horseback at Trafalgar Square, was deliberately positioned there by his son Charles II, to look down Whitehall towards the spot where his father was executed.

5. The Tyburn Tree was once upon a time the site of “kings Gallows” from 1196 to 1783, and was London’s main execution spot, where believe it or not more than 50,000 people were executed. On the traffic island at the junction of Edgware Road & Marble Arch is a plaque, which marks the site of the Tyburn Tree and only a few minutes walk is the Tyburn Convent where the nuns still pray for the souls of those that died.

6. It is estimated that 25% of the population living in London were born in another country, I wonder if the fact I was born in Scotland includes me in those figures.

7. The Thames is not only the oldest place name in London, but in the entire UK.

8. The River Thames is 220 miles long from its beginning at Thames Head, in the Cotswold Hills to its end at the lighthouse at Nore and it is a combination of four other rivers the Isis, the Churn, the Coln and the Leach.

9. Did you know the Central Line in London, the red one, which runs from Ealing Broadway or West Ruislip to Woodford (via Hainault) or Epping is a total of 74km (46 miles) and serves 49 stations.

10. There are around 40 ghost tube stations in London, don’t get scared they are not manned by ghosts, they are in fact abandoned or relocated tube stations that are no longer used by London Underground.

If you look closely at my list of interesting facts you will find a few places of significant historic value that are worth visiting in London. Seek and ye shall find……


  1. Fascinating post!!

  2. Pretty sweet… Great post 😀


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