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The Last 10 Things You Didn't Know About Westminster

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published November 6th 2014
It's The Final Countdown
Thanks for joining me on and exploration of the City of Westminster. There are just ten more facts to go before you are all clued up about this marvellous borough. If you missed many of the previous bits of trivia, you can check them out here.

1. The minute hand on the clock of the Queen Elizabeth Tower (Better known as Big Ben) travels about a hundred and eighteen miles a year. That's got to be a record for the furthest traveled without actually getting anywhere.



2. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is allowed to drink alcohol when reading out the budgetary report (maybe it eases the shock), but no one else in the House of Commons is allowed to eat or drink.



3. Great Marlborough Street gave its name to the Marlboro cigarette brand because the Phillip Morris factory where they were manufactured used to reside there.



4. Westminster was the home to the first traffic lights ever installed. They were put up in front of the House of Commons in 1868.



5. The Elizabethan poet, Edmund Spenser was best known for his epic poem, The Faerie Queene. He is buried in Westminster Abbey, and it is alleged that buried with him are unpublished manuscripts by his contemporaries, including Shakespeare. Personally, I think if people were that sure, they would probably have dug him up to find out.

6. During the Second World War, every theatre closed down except one. The Windmill Theatre in Soho, which is now called Windmill International. It was also the first theatre to stage a show with nudity, and today is a top table dancing nightclub.

7. Big Ben makes a lovely deep sound. Did you know it is in the key of E?



8. On the On September 16 1970, Jimi Hendrix gave his last live performance. It was at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club on Frith Street in Soho. He died two days later.

9. 50 Berkeley Square in Mayfair was once owned by George Canning, who was the Prime Minister in 1827. He claimed to have heard strange noises and have experienced psychic phenomena whilst living there. In the 1900s it was said to be the most haunted house in London. There have been many reported incidents, particularly in the attic. The main ghost is believed to be a young woman who committed suicide by throwing herself out the window after being abused by her uncle. There have been cases where people have tried to stay in the attic over night. One instance saw a maid go mad and die in an asylum the next day.

10. The name Piccadilly originates from the seventeenth century. it is named after a frilled collar called a 'piccadil'.
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