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5 puzzling facts about London you probably don't know
Posted on 05/08/2020

SocietyUnited Kingdom

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From spooky underground stations to everyone's favourite disney characters, these five facts about London will blow your mind.

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  • 1. The city's most elite department store used to sell cocaine
    1. The city's most elite department store used to sell cocaine

    Harrods is known for its opulence, luxe and prim and proper British culture. But did you know that you could buy cocaine and heroin over the counter at Harrods until 1916? It may come as a surprise, but shop assistants at this orderly store would suggest pure cocaine, aka "Ryno's Hay Fever and Catarrh Remedy" for a red and runny nose. What's more, Harrods also provided complimentary gift packs containing morphine and cocaine to soldiers during World War I.

  • 2. Being a black cab driver requires a geography test
    2. Being a black cab driver requires a geography test

    Think being a cab driver was easy? To become a black cab driver, you must pass a mind-boggling geography test known as The Knowledge. It requires you to learn 320 basic routes around London, all 25,000 streets within these routes, and 20,000 landmarks within a 6 mile radius of Charing Cross. I'm tired already! To achieve this level of knowledge is thought to take 2 to 4 years!

  • 3. Be at One bar has more history than you may think
    3. Be at One bar has more history than you may think

    Ever been to Be at One in Great Windmill Street? If you don't know already, Be at One is a trendy chain of bars dotted around London, serving mouth-watering cocktails and a DJ that will take you from dusk till dawn. However, more surprisingly, Be at One Great Windmill Street was formerly Karl Marx's haunt for drafting The Communist Manifesto. Now how's that for a drunken conversion?

  • 4. Winnie the Pooh lived at London Zoo
    4. Winnie the Pooh lived at London Zoo

    Surprisingly, there is a lot more to this honey-coloured character than meets the eye. Ever wondered where the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh came from? He was named after Winnie, a bear at the London Zoo, and author A.A. Milne's son's favourite animal.

  • 5. Aldgate station has over 1000 bodies buried beneath it
    5. Aldgate station has over 1000 bodies buried beneath it

    Ever sensed something spooky about Aldgate station? Aldgate was built on top of a plague pit, a mass grave for victims of the Bubonic plague. It is thought that 1000 bodies rest beneath this popular station.

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It's hard to be surprised by anything in London. With so many people and so many things to do it's almost impossible to be shocked amidst its hustle and bustle. But the UK's largest city still has some tricks up its sleeve. Read on to discover some of London's best-kept secrets.

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