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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
30th April 1980 Terrorists seize Iranian Embassy in London
30th April 1943 Noel Coward's This Happy Breed, premieres in London
30th April 1763 London Journalist John Wilkes confined in the Tower
30th April 1695 William Congreve's Love for Love, premieres in London
30th April 1290 Joan of Acre, daughter of King Edward I was married to the 7th Earl of Gloucester in Westminster Abbey.
Biker Denis Johnson worked here
The inventor of the hobby horse or first bicycle worked here.
Location: 69-75 Long Acre, Covent Garden, London
Description: Denis Johnson was a London coachmaker (1760-1833), married to Mary Newman in St Annes Church, Soho in 1792 and they had 2 daughters. He worked out of 75 Long Acre here for about 15 years from 1818.
Coachmaking was a main industry in this part of Covent Garden. About this time the 2-wheel velocipede was introduced by the German nobleman, Karl Von Drais and Johnson obtained one of these wooden machines and, seeing the potential it had, set about improving it.
His professional skills as a coachmaker enabled him to make an elegant machine which he patented and called the pedestrian curricle and then the hobby horse, it became Britains first bicycle and Regency dandies made them very popular.
The craze only lasted about three years and Johnson continued as a coachmaker until he died on Christmas Day 1833. The family business continued to trade here until 1867.
Tony Banks MP, the late Minister for Sport, unveiled the plaque in 1998.