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Facts

GREATER LONDON

We have taken Greater London to be the area around the City of London that is not included in any of the counties surrounding the city.


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FUN FACTS

Greater London is the 37th largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
Greater London has the highest population in England.
Greater London is in 1st place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. Most people know of Buckingham Palace and its obvious royal connections. We tell you more about Buckingham Palace here on our website. It is the official home of Queen Elizabeth II when she is in London. However. there are other palaces within Greater London.

    The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, when staying in London, have an apartment within Kensington Palace. The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, and her husband have an apartment within St James's Palace. The Earl and Countess of Wessex have rooms inside Buckingham Palace for when they stay in London.

    Meanwhile Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall live at Clarence House when staying in London. It is not oficially a palace but is attached to St James's Palace and shares a garden. It was, from 1953 until her death in 2002, the home of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. It is a four-storey house and was also the home of Prince William and Prince Harry for some years.



  3. Greater London Eats
  4. An admission coming up. I have never eaten jellied eels. I have never wanted to eat jellied eels. They are a traditional English dish that originated in the 18th century, mainly in the east end of London. Eels were always a cheap, nutritious food that was readily available in the River Thames. Nets used to be set in the river, as far upstream as the city of London.

    Jellied eels are made using freshwater eels, such as found in the rivers of England. Recipes vary and are peculiar to different shops and markets in London. They were traditionally sold in eel, pie and mash shops; pie and mash being another east end dish. At the end of WWII there were about 100 eel, pie and mash shops in London, today there are far fewer.

    To make jellied eels you chop the eels into rounds and boil them in water and vinegar, some adding lemon juice and nutmeg. Once the mixture has boiled, you let it cool. The boiling of the eels allows proteins, like collagen, to be released and this solidifies into a jelly during the cooling process. The differences occur in the choice of herbs and spices used to flavour the dish.

    Jellied eels are also sold in shops and supermarkets in jars.

  5. Greater London VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in Greater London in the last 100 years:-
    Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor ‐ Queen Elizabeth II (Royalty), Daniel Radcliffe (Actor), Adele Laurie Blue Adkins ‐ Adele (Singer), David Beckham (Footballer), Sir David Attenborough (Naturalist and Broadcaster), Benedict Cumberbatch (Actor) and Dua Lipa (Singer),

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. The Mayor of London is elected every four years. The current mayor, in 2021, is Sadiq Khan, an ex Labour MP. He was elected in 2016 and won again in 2021, the vote being delayed one year because of Covid. This time he will only serve three years as the next election will return to the normal four year cycle and be held in 2024. Greater London is divided into 14 constituencies for these elections and for those to the Greater London Assembly.

    So far, so good. One of the constituencies is known as City and the East and includes the actual City of London. They, therefore, help to elect the mayor of London. However, getting weird here, the mayor of London is not the Lord Mayor of London who is the mayor of the City of London. Are you following this?

    Now, you could argue this weirdness should really be on our City of London page but I can't hear you so you won't win that argument and anyway I have something else weird there. The Lord Mayor of London heads the Corporation of the City of London which basically oversees how the city is run. To stand for Lord Mayor you have to have served as a City sheriff and be a current alderman. The election is done by fellow aldermen on Michaelmas Day (September 29th) or the nearest weekday. The Lord Mayor is then sworn in at the start of November. The ceremony is known as the "Silent Ceremony" because apart from a short declaration by the incoming Lord Mayor, no speeches are made. At the Guildhall, the outgoing Lord Mayor transfers the mayoral insignia - the seal, the purse, the sword and the mace - to the incoming Lord Mayor.

    The following day the Lord Mayor's show takes place when the new Lord Mayor, in a gold coach and preceded by a procession, travels to the Royal Courts of Justice to swear allegiance to the sovereign before the Judges of the High Court. In normal times the Lord Mayor can only serve for a year but can be re-elected again. In fact in 1397, 1406 and 1419 a certain Richard Whittington served as Lord Mayor of London. He was the real-life inspiration for the story about Dick Whittington and his cat. As far as I know, the cat was not an alderman and never served as Lord Mayor.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. These days we are a lot of safer than even 70 years ago. The worst ever train crash in England took place during the morning rush hour of 8th October 1952. It happened at Harrow and Wealdstone station, now in Greater London but then in the county of Middlesex. 112 people were killed and 340 were injured.

    The events happened like this. At about 8.17am a local train stopped at platform 4 at Harrow and Wealdstone station. The train was about 7 minutes late. It had around 800 passengers. At 8.19am as the guard was walking back to his van after checking doors on the last two carriages, the Perth express crashed into the rear of the local train at a speed of 50-60 miles per hour (80-100 kph). It turned out that it had passed three warning signals, The impact pushed the local train forward 20 yards and squashed the end 3 coaches so that they were the size of just one coach. The coaches behind the engine of the express train piled up behind and over the engine. Wreckage was spread across several other lines.

    A few seconds after this collision an express train heading north to Liverpool at about 60 mph hit the the engine of the Perth express. That train then derailed, mounted a platform and carried on till it came to rest on an electric set of rails. The first seven coaches, plus a kitchen car from the Liverpool train, were carried forward by momentum, overriding the existing wreckage and piling up above and around it. Several of these coaches struck the underside of the station footbridge, tearing away a steel girder. Sixteen vehicles, including thirteen coaches, two bogie vans and a kitchen car were destroyed or severely damaged in the collisions.

    There were 112 fatalities, including the driver and fireman of the Perth express and the driver of the lead engine of the Liverpool express. Of these 102 perished at the scene, and the remaining 10 died later in hospital from their injuries. Of the 108 passenger fatalities, at least 64 occurred in the local train, 23 in the Perth train, and 7 in the Liverpool train. The remaining 14 were unclear, but some of the fatalities may have been standing on the platform and hit by the derailed locomotives of the Liverpool train. A total of 340 people reported injury: 183 people were given treatment for shock and minor injury at the station and 157 were taken to hospital, of whom 88 were detained. As the driver and fireman of the Perth train were both killed it was never established why they passed the 3 warning signals.

    The accident resulted in changes so that drivers would have an audible warning in their cabs when approaching caution signals. A memorial plaque for the disaster was unveiled in 2002 to mark the 50th anniversary and a mural was painted along the bordering road featuring scenes from Wealdstone's history by children from local schools and dedicated to the victims' memory.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. No coastline here, so no visits on my previous journeys. However I lived there for 19 of the first 22 years of my life so I could give you hundreds of memories but let's just stick with a few. I remember that when we lived in Rayners Lane from 1950 till 1956 we had a brick built air raid shelter at the bottom of our garden. I remember, and this is very personal, that at every house we lived in (there were 3), my YOUNGER sister always had the largest bedroom. I remember my father, when I was 4 years-old, sitting me on his lap as we drove the last 400 yards to our home so I could steer the car. I think he was a bit naughty there but the roads were so empty. I remember nearly everyone had a front garden and a driveway and cars were never parked on the road at night.

    And, rather appropriately as I write this on June 29th 2021, I remember sitting at home, never moving from my chair for 2 hours on 30th July 1966, watching England beat Germany to win the football world cup. Unfortunately, I also remember playing cricket on Sunday 14th June 1970, fielding while the opening batsmen of our opponents put on over 200 runs, being all out for under 100 and watching England score 2 goals against Germany in the 1970 world cup. I then left Honor Oak, where the game was, drove home to North Harow, and arrived in time to see Germany score the winning goal in extra time having scored twice in the second half. The roads were very empty that evening.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. Wherever there are woods, hedgerows, parks and gardens, wherever there are bushes and trees, you could find a song thrush. It's a fairly small bird and its numbers have declined on farmland and in towns and cities. It has a habit of repeating the notes of its song, making it different from a singing blackbird. Its feathers are black, brown, cream, orange and white and it has brown and pink legs. It has a black, medium beak.

    Song thrushes eat worms and fruit but they also like snails which they break into by smashing the snail against a stone with a flick of their head. There are over one million breeding territories within the UK.

    Song thrushes are 23 cms in length, have a wingspan between 33 and 36 cms and weigh between 65 and 100 grams.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into Greater London check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020