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10 More 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
Published October 31st 2014
What's the Significance of Red and Green?
The other day I told you ten interesting things you probably didn't know about the City of Westminster. Now I return with a sequel to bring you ten more tidbits of information.

1. Westminster Bridge is green and Lambeth Bridge is red. But do you know why? It is because the former is next to the House of Commons and the latter is next to the House of Lords. Everything in the House of Commons is coloured green because green used to be the cheapest dye you could get. Everything in the House of Lords is red because red used to be the most expensive dye you could get.

2. In the 1960s, Number 10 Downing Street was completely rebuilt because it was falling apart. To make sure that everything looked exactly the same, they took both exterior and interior photographs to work from. They used as much of the original material possible, and replaced the building piece by piece. It took three years and almost three million pounds.

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3.If you look on the wall inside Admiralty Arch, there is a nose hanging from it. Tour Guides used to claim it had been there since the battle of Waterloo but, in reality, it was left over from an art installation in the 1990s.

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4. Aphra Behn was one of the first English female literary writers, and a British spy. She was buried at Westminster Abbey in 1689.

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5. Charles Dickens did not want a grand funeral, so in the early hours of the 14th June 1870, he was buried in secret at Westminster Abbey.

6. Jermyn Street was named after its creator, Henry Jermyn, who was made First Earl of St Albans in the mid seventeenth century, for his contribution in developing the area of St James's.

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7. Sir Isaac Newton Lived on Jermyn Street from 1696 - 1709 and then moved to Martins Street until 1725, before moving to Winchester for the last years of hist life.

8. Despite being a major borough, Westminster is in fact the eighth smallest in London, with less than a hundred and eighty-five thousand residents.

9. The Great Fire of London, The Great Stink, The Great Freeze, but does anybody remember the Great Beer Flood of 1814? A beer vat burst, causing other vats to rupture too, and it released millions of pints of beer. Nine people drowned. It was a sad, sad day. All the beer wasted.

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10. The Oldest English Heritage Blue Plaque can be found in St James's King Street. It is dedicated to Napoleon III, and put up in 1875. He moved to England in 1971 after fleeing France in exile, and died in 1873 after having his gallstones removed.
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