Tours | Categories (New, Hot) | Map
Alcohol - Ancient - Animal - Architecture - Art - Aviation - Boxing - Celebrity - Charity - Children - Church - Cinema - Comedy - Crime - Dance - Death - Disaster - Drugs - Fashion - Food - Gambling - Ghost - Grave - Health - Historical - Industry - Justice - LGBT - Literary - Look Up - Medical - Military - Motoring - Murder - Museum - Music - Nature - Naval - Paranormal - Pioneer - Poetry - Police - Politics - Pub - Public Amenities - Quirky - Religion - Retail - Ripper - River - Royalty - Science - Sculpture - Sex - Signs - Society - Sport - Subterranean - Technology - Theatre - Train - Transport - Tube - TV - Weather -
IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
21st January 1996 Late 80's pop-dance duo The London Boys were both killed in a car crash in Austria.
21st January 1976 Born today: Emma Lee Bunton, Baby Spice, Finchley London, vocalist (Spice Girls)
21st January 1974 Gold hits record $161.31/silver hits record $3.97 an ounce in London
21st January 1970 Panama Boeing 747 1st flight NY-London
21st January 1950 George Orwell, author (Animal Farm, 1984), dies in London at 46
21st January 1944 447 German bombers attack London
21st January 1929 Robert Sherriff's Journey's End, premieres in London
21st January 1878 Cleopatra's Needle arrives in England at Gravesend, after a journey of 4 months.
21st January 1670 Claude Duval, the Gentleman Highwayman, was hanged at Tyburn.
Spend a Penny
This is where the first paid-access toilet was installed.
Location: Royal Exchange, London
Description: In the hot summer of 1858 when the country was bathed in a prolonged heatwave, The Pong, so writers of the time recorded, was significant, London was described as The Big Stink.
The government made the installation of a new sewer system a priority and encouraged entrepreneurs to open new, privately owned public loos.
One of the first such ventures was built here outside the Royal Exchange in London and the proprietors approached magician Maskelyne to design a device that would enable them to charge users for the privilege.
Maskelyne was already known for his inventions; the bus conductor's ticket punch, a typewriter, the film projector, all manner of theatrical props and - of crucial importance to the development of public lavatories - mechanical tableaux that came to life when a coin was dropped into the slot were all invented by Maskelyne.
With his know-how, the design for a loo lock operated by a penny piece was patented by Maskelyne, worked well and was manufactured in thousands to appear in public conveniences in all parts of Britain and the empire.
The euphemism 'spending a penny' was popularized in gags and songs by performers on the music hall stage, although the first record of it appearing in print was not until 1945 in a novel by H. Lewis called 'Strange story'.
Tagged in this Tour: Historic Magic Circle Tour