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The Next 10 Things You Didn't Know About Westminster

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by Bastion 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
Published November 4th 2014
Charles I was executed Outside Banqueting House
Wow, Westminster sure has a of of interesting facts. We've discovered things about Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, famous residents and more. Join me for the next ten facts to ticke your curiosity.

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1. long before Buckingham Palace was built, the land was a mulberry garden, and was used by James I to raise silkworms.

eros, shaftesbury memorial fountain, piccadilly circus
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2. The Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain by Piccadilly Circus was built in 1893 to commemorate Lord Shaftesbury, who did a lot of philanthropic work. The fountain was once in the centre of Piccadilly Circus, but moved during the Second World War. Although the mountain is bronze, there statue is cast from aluminium, and depicts Eros, the god of love.

3. The City of Westminster was established in 1965. It was made by combining the boroughs of Westminster, St. Marylebone, and Paddington.

tyrburn, gallows, hanging
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4. In the eighteenth century public execution days were called Paddington Fair Day. If someone was dancing the 'Paddington Frisk', it meant they were being hanged.

spectacled bear
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5. When Michael Bond was writing his first Paddington booked, he was going to have the marmalade-loving bear come from Darkest Africa, until he found out that there were no bears in Africa. He changed it to Peru, home of the spectacled bear.

paddington green police station
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6. Paddington Green Police Station is the most important high security station in the UK because it holds highly dangerous criminals, such as terrorist suspects, for interrogation.

leinster gardens
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7. Number 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens are not real houses. They are in fact facades built in the 1860s to hide a section of underground railway that was exposed to the surface and the steam that was vented off.

little ben
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8. Big Ben has a little brother. Little Ben located on Victoria Street and is only twenty feet high.

10 downing street
Photo: Sergeant Tom Robinson RLC/MOD

9. Downing Street is named after Sir George Downing, who build the houses on that road. Number 10 was originally three houses, including a mansion, cottage, and townhouse. The townhouse is what makes up the Number 10 we know today, but it was not always known as Number 10. The numbers used to change frequently, and until 1779, Number 10 was actually Number 5.

10. England's oldest door can be found in Westminster Abbey. It is an oak door in the Chapter House, dating back to 1050 CE.
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Where: City of Westminster
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