Travel and Tourism 10 Weird London Tourist Spots

About a collection of ten weird and unique tourist spots in London, England for the aspiring traveler.

PETER JACKSON'S 10 FAVORITE LONDON CURIOSITIES

Historian, illustrator, broadcaster, and doyen of London oddity hunters, Peter Jackson produces a famous weekly cartoon feature in the London Evening News entitled "Peter Jackson's London." Among his published books are London Stranger than Fiction, London Bridge, and, with Felix Barker, 2000 Years of London: A City and Its People.

1. THE ALBERT MEMORIAL IN HYDE PARK.

A huge Gothic edifice erected to the memory of Prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria, is decorated with sculptures which reveal an extraordinary but quite unintentional set of coincidences. There are 61 human figures (Albert died in 1861); there are 19 men (Albert was born in 1819); there are 42 women (Albert died at age 42); and there are 9 animals (Albert had 9 children).

2. EAR FOR MUSIC

The statue of Handel in Westminster Abbey has someone else's ear. The sculptor, Louis Francois Roubillac, thought that Handel's ear, though without doubt musical, was rather ugly. So he used as a model the ear of a certain Miss Rich, which, though not at all musical, was sculpturally perfect.

3. STAR-SPANGLED SPIRE

Christ Church, Lambeth, has a spire decorated with stars and stripes. Half the cost of the church was borne by Americans, and the tower commemorates President Lincoln's abolition of slavery.

4. PIERPOINT'S REFUGE

London's first traffic island was put in St. James's Street in 1864 at the personal expense of a Colonel Pierpoint, who was afraid of being run over on his way to his Pall Mall club. When it was finished, he dashed across the road to admire his creation and was knocked down by a cab.

5. THE MYSTERY OF SCOTLAND YARD

When New Scotland Yard was being built in 1888, the torso of a woman, headless and without arms, was discovered in the foundations. All the resources of the Criminal Investigation Dept. failed to find the murderer or the identity of the victim. And so Scotland Yard was built on the site of an unsolved murder.

6. THE DEVILS OF CORNHILL

When a Victorian office block was built in front of the church of St. Peter on Cornhill, a gap had to be left to allow access to the church. This ruined the architect's original plan, so he decorated his building with devils, which to this day glare down at the church door to curse the congregation as they go in.

7. THE STATUE THAT GOT MARRIED

In the gardens of Smithfield stands the statue of a young woman wearing a solid gold wedding ring. The ring was found by the market superintendent in 1924, and when no one claimed it, he had it soldered onto her finger, because as she had been standing there, supposed to represent fertility since 1873, he thought it was high time she got married.

8. UPRIGHT BURIAL

In the floor of Westminster Abbey is a tiny stone marking the burial place of the poet Ben Jonson. He was too poor to pay for the normal grave space, so he is buried standing up.

9. THE MONUMENT THAT CRIED

In St. Bartholomew-the-Great, London's oldest church, is a wall tablet recording the death in 1652 of one Edward Cooke. His epitaph asks you to cry for him, "or if ye find noe vent for tears, yet stay and see the marble weepe." This is no poetic flight of fancy, for the memorial is made of "weeping marble," so called because of its tendency to break out into "tears" of moisture.

10. THE MURDER OF SIR EDMUND BERRY GODFREY

On Oct. 17, 1678, the body of Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey was discovered in a field near the present Regent's Park called Greenbury Hill. Later three men were executed for the murder. Their names were Green, Berry, and Hill.

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