Anorak News | Ten things you never knew about London – courtesy of @LondonProj

Ten things you never knew about London – courtesy of @LondonProj

by | 29th, June 2012

Over the last few weeks the team has been beavering away putting the final touches on an ebook called The London Project. It is a compilation of some great new writing about London from a load of high profile bloggers – some of whom write for this here website.

It is a few books if you have an iPad (get it here) and if you have a Kindle it costs a couple of British pounds – get it here. For the iPad version, as well as words, you get video, galleries and the odd Google Map. What are you waiting for…

There’s a list of features in the book at the bottom of the page, but here’s ten things we learned about London through reading the book.


1 There’s some odd buildings in the Thames Estuary that look like something out of HG Wells’ War Of The Worlds. They are The Red Sands Forts and they were used to shoot planes down during the war and apart from an odd stint as a pirate radio station they have been deserted since. There’s a campaign to turn them into a museum here.

2 Mama Cass and Keith Moon both died in the same flat. Contrary to popular myth Cass died from heart disease and didn’t choke on the ham sandwich which was found by her bed.

3 The 1917 Silvertown Explosion is London’s noisiest explosion ever. Nearly 100 people disappeared into thin air when 50 tonnes of TNT went up in smoke. It blew windows out at The Savoy and can be heard as far away as Suffolk.

4 In May 1974 Brixton’s wonderful art deco Academy was almost demolished and turned into a petrol station.

5 Chislehurst Caves in south London became London’s biggest air raid shelter during WW2 with 15,000 inhabitants, a church and a hospital.

6 Castelnau, Ratcliff and Shacklewell are three London villages whose names have almost disappeared from every day use. Finsbury is another village that doesn’t get mentioned too much these days. It used to be a much larger space encompassing much of Islington and extending as far as the Park named after it in N4.

7 Harringay’s retail park once housed the Harringay Arena, which was a key venue during the 1948 Olympics. Oddly it was designed by Australian firm Dorman and Co in 1936 who 75 years later would also build the new Wembley Stadium.

8 All Hallows on Sea – on the south side of the Thames in Kent – was set to become the Blackpool of the south with Europe’s biggest amusement park, until the depression and WW2 intervened.

9 The Queen Elizabeth II bridge, aka the southward side of the Dartford Crossing, is the capital’s Sagrada Familia (that odd cathedral in Barcelona) in that just like Gaudi, its architect, Helmut Homberg, died before it was completed.

10 The famous image of St Paul’s cathedral during one of the worst nights of The Blitz, was taken by Daily Mail photographer Herbert Mason from the roof of the paper’s offices in Carmelite Street.



Posted: 29th, June 2012 | In: Reviews Comment | TrackBack | Permalink