Walking the City of London

Category: Quizzes

The Christmas Quiz!

I almost can’t believe that this is my seventh Christmas quiz. When I started my blog way back in 2017 I wasn’t sure I could maintain a weekly publication, but here I am now writing blog number 325!

Happy Christmas and thank you so much for subscribing.

Here are the questions. They are all based on blogs published during 2023 and the answers are at the end of today’s edition.

1. This great 19th century philanthropist gave his name to good quality housing specifically designed for London’s ‘working poor’. Born in America, he was so admired by Queen Victoria that, when he died, she arranged for his body to be returned home on a British battleship. Who was he?

2. ‘Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy …’

Where is this window commemorating Shakespeare’s plays?

3. This window can be found at St Margaret Lothbury. What Livery Company has the lovely motto True Hearts and Warm Hands?

4. Look at these formidable boilers …

… and the massive pumping engine they service …

What world famous London landmark did they once help to operate?

5. The eyes of the man represented in this bust clearly indicate blindness …

He is commemorated in the church of St Giles-without-Cripplegate where he was buried in 1674. Who is he?

6. They are ‘two people’ but ‘only one artist’. Their new gallery opened on 1st April 2023. Who are they?

7. This innocuous tiled corridor was known as ‘Dead man’s walk’. Where is it?

8. This ceremonial staff, inscribed with his title ‘Surveyor to the Fabric’, belonged to a man whose work as an architect created much of the way the City looks today, over 300 years after his death. Who was he?

9. This mark is chiselled into the base of the church tower of St Alban Wood Street …

This one is on the Cheapside face of St Mary-le-Bow …

What do they signify?

10. What Livery Company is represented by this coat of arms?

11. This lady represents Science …

Nearby other ladies represent Fine Art, Agriculture and Commerce. Where are they?

12. This sundial is on a building that was once a Protestant church, then a Methodist Chapel, next a Jewish synagogue and is now a Mosque …

Where is it?

13. This watchtower was once used by brave crews who, when spotting danger to life, rushed to the rescue. Where is it and who were they?

14. These figures in the old churchyard of St John Zachary in Gresham Street represent a trade and profession that once flourished in nearby Fleet Street. What was it? And who do the figures represent?

15. This statue stands in the river opposite The Grapes pub in Limehouse. Who is the sculptor?

16. It’s believed that the Romans brought these animals to Britain and this one left its mark on a 2,000-year-old tile. What kind of animal was it?

17. This book was published in 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death. It’s a collection of 36 of his works and was brought together by two of his friends, John Heminge and Henry Condell. What is it commonly known as?

18. This is the oldest Catholic church in England and was once located on a vast estate owned by the Bishop of Ely. Where is it?

19. Represented in beautiful stained glass in the church of St Bartholomew the Less, who is the chap in the snazzy tights?

20. This bell, dating from the early 17th century and on display in the Holy Sepulchre church, has a morbid connection with Newgate Gaol. When and why was it rung?

The answers:

1. George Peabody (1795-1869). Read more about him here.

2. Southwark Cathedral. See more images here.

3. It’s the Worshipful Company of Glovers. Read more here about the St Margaret’s stained glass.

4. Tower Bridge. Read more here.

5. John Milton. He was not allowed to rest in peace – read more here.

6. Of course, it’s Gilbert and George.

7. Below the Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court.

8. Sir Christopher Wren.

9. They are what is known as Bench Marks and indicate where the height above sea level has been calculated.

10. The Worshipful Company of Saddlers.

11. On Holborn Viaduct.

12. Brick Lane. The Latin roughly translates as ‘We are but shadows’. Read about more sundials here.

13. The firefighter crews based at the old Bishopsgate Fire Station.

14. The trade and profession was the newspaper industry. Commissioned by the Westminster Press Group in 1954, it represents the newspaper process with a newsboy (sales), printer and editor (or proprietor).

15. It’s a sculpture by Anthony Gormley and is one of a series entitled Another Time.

16. A Cat. Read all about a terrific new exhibition about Roman London here.

17. The First Folio. An original copy (and other fascinating Shakespeare related material) is on display at the Guildhall Art Gallery until 25th January 2024.

18. Ely Place.

19. Rahere, the founder of St Bartholomew’s.

20. In 1605, a wealthy merchant called Robert Dow made a bequest of £50 for a bellman from the church to stand outside the cells of the condemned at midnight, ring the bell, and chant as follows:

All you that in the condemned hole do lie, Prepare you, for tomorrow you shall die; Watch all and pray, the hour is drawing near, That you before the Almighty must appear; Examine well yourselves, in time repent, That you may not to eternal flames be sent: And when St. Sepulchre’s bell tomorrow tolls, The Lord above have mercy on your souls.

Read more about the church here.

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The Christmas Quiz!

Hello, friends, Happy Christmas!

It’s time again for the Christmas Quiz based on my blogs from 2022. I trust you are all OK in these difficult times and send you my very best wishes for 2023. I am sure that, like me, you hope that it will bring happier times for everyone than the year gone by.

Here are this year’s questions.

1. These families enjoying the pleasures of a sandy beach are not at the seaside. Where are they?

2. In the Seething Lane Garden a paving stone has a carving showing a pair of forceps and a bladder stone. Whose surgical operation is represemted?

3. Where will you find the extraordinary tomb of Dame Mary Page?

4. In St Margaret Lothbury you’ll find this lovely stained glass window showing the motto of one of the City Livery Companies – True Hearts and Warm Hands. What Livery Company is it?

5. What is this chap up to and where is he?

6. In 1818 a coffin was patented that would be extremely difficult to open. It was made of iron with spring clips on the lid and an example is on display in St Bride’s Church Fleet Street …

Why did people believe such an invention was needed?

7. A couple got married here in Wesley’s Chapel on 13 December 1951 and one of them went on to become Prime Minister, later donating this communion rail in 1993 …

What were the names of the couple?

9. Outside the Guildhall, this sculpture shows a man pausing on Highgate Hill having just heard the bells of St Mary-le-Bow ring out a message. He’s giving it some serious thought as his cat curls around his legs (note the tear in his leggings indicating that he has experienced hard times) …

Who is he? And what was the message he heard?

10. What were these items of footwear for and what City church hosts this little exhibition?

11. This door in Leadenhall Market at 42 Bull’s Head Passage is featured in a Harry Potter film. What part did it play?

12. Looking down onto the Thames River bed one can often see red tiles, bits of chalk and oyster shells. How did they get there?

13. What busy London railway terminus was home to the London Necropolis Company whose trains carried coffins containing deceased Londoners out of the capital to the new cemetery at Brookwood?

14. What East End Gallery boasts these beautiful leaves covered in gold leaf by the artist Rachel Whiteread?

15. The tree in the background is Cercis siliquastrum, but what is its more sinister nickname?

16. This sculpture is part of the 2022 Sculpture in the City project. Where can it be found?

17. This is the face of a young woman found drowned in the River Seine in Paris in the late 1880s. No one could identify the body, but the pathologist reportedly became fascinated with her serene expression and commissioned a death mask. Soon multiple reproductions were on sale throughout Paris …

However, she later became very well known for another reason. What was it?

18. Described as ‘the most outstanding English poet before Shakespeare’ here he is in the Guildhall Art Gallery …

Who was he and what is his most famous work?

19. This church’s dome, dating from 1672, was Christopher Wren’s prototype for the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. It was the first classical dome to be built in England at the time. What’s the name of the church?

20. This is the entrance to what was once one of the most heavily guarded areas areound St Katharine Docks. Can you guess what was stored there?

Answers to the quiz along with links to previous blogs and sources :

1. People had walked on the Thames foreshore for thousands of years but Tower Beach, as it was known, was created in 1934 by bringing 1,500 barge loads of sand to the site alongside the Tower of London. When it was officially opened, King George V decreed that the beach was to be used by the children of London, and that they should be given ‘free access forever’. Read all about it here along with some great images.

2. Samuel Pepys – at the age of 25 he survived an operation to remove a bladder stone ‘the size of a tennis ball’. You’ll find my blog about the garden here.

3. In the Bunhill Burial Ground. It appears that Mary Page suffered from what is now known as Meigs’ Syndrome and her body had to be ‘tap’d’ to relieve the pressure. She had to undergo this treatment for over five years and was so justifiably proud of her bravery and endurance she left instructions in her will that her tombstone should tell her story.

4. It’s The Worshipful Company of Glovers of London. Here’s the link to the blog about this window and other fascinating aspects of the church.

5. Taxi! by the American Sculptor J Seward Johnson is cast bronze and is now interestingly weathered. If you think the baggy trousers, moustache and side parting are erring on the retro, that’s because this particular office worker was transferred from New York in 2014. It was sculpted in 1983 and originally stood on Park Avenue and 47th Street. It’s now on the north side of Queen Victoria Street. Read more about what’s in the fairly close vicinity here.

7. Until well into the 18th century the only source of corpses for medical research was the public hangman and supply was never enough to satisfy demand. As a result, a market arose to satisfy the needs of medical students and doctors and this was filled by the activities of the so-called ‘resurrection men’ or ‘body snatchers’. Some churches built watchtowers for guards to protect the churchyard, but these were by no means always effective – earning between £8 and £14 a body, the snatchers had plenty of cash available for bribery purposes.

One answer was a coffin that would be extremely difficult to open and such an invention was patented by one Edward Bridgman of Goswell Road in 1818. Read more about the St Bride’s Museum where it’s on display here.

8. Margaret Thatcher (then Margaret Roberts) married Denis Thatcher here on 13 December 1951 and both their children were christened here. Read more about the Chapel here.

9. Dick Whittington is on Highgate Hill and the message from the bells of St Mary-le-Bow declares ‘Turn again Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London’. Well, the bit about him being Lord Mayor is true, and it was four times rather than three, but two of the terms were consecutive. Unlike the pantomime story, the historical Richard Whittington (1358-1423) was the youngest son of Sir William Whittington, a wealthy Gloucestershire Squire. By his early thirties, he was a successful London mercer and extremely weathy in his own right (and there is no record of him ever owning a cat). You can read more about him here.

10. Pattens were under-shoes slipped on to protect the wearer’s shoes or clothing – not least from the filth on the streets in the Middle Ages. The church hosting the lttle display is St Margaret Pattens and has long had an association with the Pattenmakers’ Guild.

11. It plays the door of The Leaky Cauldron, a popular wizarding pub. Here Hadrig leads Harry through the ‘pub door’ …

12. The picture, taken at Queenhithe Dock, shows a collection of medieval (and possibly Roman) roof tiles. Oysters were once a common food for the population (even poor folk) and large chalk beds were once laid down to provide a soft settling place for barges at low tide.

13. It was Waterloo Station. Read more about the Necropolis company’s fascinating history here.

14. It’s the Whitechapel Gallery – read more about it and see more images here.

15. It is also known as the ‘Judas tree’. This comes from the legend that Judas Iscariot, full of shame after his betrayal of Jesus, hanged himself from one of its branches. You’ll find the relevant blog here.

16. Aldgate Square – if you look closely you can just read the street sign. Here’s a link to this and other works.

17. In the 1950s a Norwegian toymaker, Asmund Laerdal, was commissioned to produce a mannequin in which people could practise mouth-to-mouth and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Seeking a non-threatening model, he chose LInconnue (as she was known) and when his mannequin was mass-produced she became world-famous for a second time, known to this day as ‘Resusci Anne’. The death mask pictured here is held in the fascinating Museum of the Order of St John.

18. This is Geoffrey Chaucer and the most famous of his works was The Canterbury Tales.

19. It’s St Stephen Walbrook. Read about a visit I made there four years ago here.

20. Ivory, of course, in a specially designed building. Read all about it and other fascinating sights around St Katharine Docks here.

I hope you enjoyed doing the Quiz and found it fun – my very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

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The Christmas Quiz!

Hello, friends, Happy Christmas!

It’s time again for the Christmas Quiz based on my blogs from 2021. I trust you are all OK in these difficult times and send you my very best wishes for 2022. I am sure that, like me, you hope that it will bring happier times for everyone than the year gone by.

1, Whose dressing gown is this? He wore it when he met Frank Sinatra in Las Vegas in 1955 …

2. Who is this, holding a protective arm over a hind?

3. What conflict does this memorial on Tower Hill commemorate?

4. This elegant column in Paternoster Square also has a practical purpose. What is it?

5. Number 116 Old Street used to be the Margolin Gramophone Company factory. They manufactured a record player that was very famous right through from the 1950s to the early 1970s. What was it called?

6. Coloured lines painted on the roads and pavements carry messages for workers who may have to dig there. What do red lines signify?

7. This studious monk looks down at his missal in Austin Friars. What order of monks had their monastery here before the dissolution?

8. Who is this with their post-execution head stitched back on?

9. What lady wants her time with you when you meet at St Pancras International?

10. This famous Londoner is represented in stained glass at the church of St Michael Paternoster Royal. Someone once said he looked like a Hoxton Hipster. Who is he?

11. This sign, located in the Museum of London rotunda, was once affixed to a famous coaching inn. What was it called?

12. This is the view from the rooftop restaurant of famous City landmark building. Which building is it?

13. This street name commemorates the action of a brave young lady called Alice Ayres. She also has a plaque on the Watts Memorial. What brave act is she remembered for?

14. This magnificent Shakespeare Memorial Window was created in 1954 to replace another destroyed in enemy action. It shows characters from the Bard’s plays. Where is it?

15. This image was taken in the only surviving late 17th century Gothic church in the City of London and is especially notable for its unique plaster vaulting. What church is it?

16. In what great City pageant is this uniform worn?

17. In what ancient market would you find these extraordinary characters?

18. This pump was once described as ‘the pump of death’. Where is it and why did it get that name?

19. This service is taking place in the bombed-out, roofless ruins of a famous church. What is its name?

20. Where can you find this mural showing elephants helping the emperor Claudius invade Britain in AD 43?

Answers to the quiz along with links to previous blogs and sources :

  1. Noël Coward – see my blog on the recent exhibition at the Guildhall Art Gallery.

2. St Giles – read all about him here.

3. The Falklands War. Read more about this and other City memorials here.

4. It’s a ventilation shaft for the underground car park. Read about more interesting sculptures here.

5. The Dansette. See my walk along Old Street.

6. Red means ‘danger – electricity’. See what different colours mean in this blog.

7. It was the Augustinians.

8. Charles the First. See his and more faces at the Museum of London.

9. Tracey Emin. Read more about her and John Betjeman at St Pancras station here.

10. Dick Whittington. Read more about City of London stained glass here.

11. The Bull and Mouth.

12. It’s The Gherkin.

13. She bravely rescued three children from a fire but lost her own life in the process. Read more here in my visit to Southwark.

14. The window is in Southwark Cathedral. Read more about my visits to this wonderful place here and here.

15. It’s St Mary Aldermary.

16. This uniform is worn by Pikemen in the Lord Mayor’s Show. See more pictures here.

17. You’ll find them (along with other interesting public art) in Spitalfields Market.

18. At the junction of Fenchurch Street and Leadenhall Street you’ll find this, the Aldgate pump. It came to be known as the Pump of Death when, in the 1870s, it was discovered that the water was poisoning people. During its passage underground from north London it had passed through and under numerous new graveyards thereby picking up the bacteria, germs and calcium from the decaying bodies.

19. St Mary-le-Bow.

20. On a wall inside the Museum of London.

I hope you enjoyed this year’s Quiz.

My very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year!

If you would like to follow me on Instagram here is the link …


The Christmas Quiz!

Hello, friends, Happy Christmas!

It’s time again for the Christmas Quiz based on my blogs from 2020. I trust you are all OK in these difficult times and send you my very best wishes for 2021. I am sure that, like me, you hope that it will bring happier times for everyone than the year gone by.

  1. This magnificent statue of the Duke of Wellington stands outside the Royal Exchange. What is it made from?

2. This beautiful clock is sited alongside the church of St Magnus the Martyr and dates from a time when the church was clearly visible from the ‘old’ London Bridge. It was the gift of a Lord Mayor, Sir Charles Duncombe. What’s the story behind his generosity?

3. This extraordinary sculpture of St Bartholomew is, appropriately, on display in the church of St Bartholomew the Great in Smithfield. Entitled Exquisite Pain, as well as his skin the saint also holds a scalpel in one hand and a pair of scissors in the other. Who was the sculptor?

4. The Auroch is a beast that’s been extinct for nearly 400 years. This particular skull dates from the Neolithic period (4,000 -2,200 BC) and was discovered in Ilford, East London, where herds of this creature once roamed.

Where must you go to see it?

5. This brave policeman sacrificed his life saving warehouse workers from a First World War bombing raid. Where can you find this memorial to him?

6. In what way is this church in Eldon Street unique? It’s called St Mary Moorfields.

7. If you visit St Sepulchre-without-Newgate you can admire this font cover with its beautiful craftmanship. Made of oak, it was created about 1690 and is typical of many such covers made for City churches after the Great Fire of 1666. Until 1940 it belonged in Christchurch Newgate Street, so how did it come to reside in St Sepulchre’s?

8. Look at this extraordinary statue at 193 Fleet Street now, sadly, somewhat weathered. Is it a man dressed as a woman or a woman dressed as a man?

9. This cross-section shows the layers of paint from a lamp standard on a famous City landmark. What landmark is it?

10. These figures, called Atlantes, support a balcony overlooking Farringdon Street. Do they date from 1814, 1914 or 2014?

11. This is known as The Dean’s Door and the carver was stonemason and architect Christopher Kempster (1627-1715), one of Wren’s favourite craftsmen. His work on the cherubs’ heads and foliage was considered so good Wren awarded him an extra £20 for ‘the extraordinary diligence and care used in the said carving and his good performance of the same’. Where is The Dean’s Door?

12. This churchyard survives from the 17th century, its banked-up top surface a reminder that it is still bloated with the bodies of victims of the Great Plague of 1665. Three hundred and sixty five were buried there including Mary Ramsay, who was widely blamed for bringing the disease to London. What is the name of the church and what famous civil servant and diarist lived nearby and frequently worshipped there?

13. At the church of St Martin within Ludgate on Ludgate Hill rests this very unusual font. The bowl is white marble and the wooden supporting plinth is painted to look like stone. It dates from 1673, predating the church, and was previously located in a ‘tabernacle’ used by the congregation during the rebuilding. The inscription on it reads Niyon anomhma mh monan oyin (which translates as ‘Cleanse my sin and not my face only’). There is something unusual about the Greek wording – can you tell what it is?

14. In St Bartholomew the Less, high up on the south wall, is the memorial to Robert Balthrope, Sergeant Surgeon to Queen Elizabeth I …

The inscription reads …

Here Robert Balthrope Lyes intombed,
to Elizabeth Our Queene
Who Sergeant of the Surgeons Sworne,
Neere Thirtye Yeeres Hathe Beene
He Died at Sixtye Nine of Yeeres,
Decembers Ninthe The Daye
The Yeere of Grace Eight Hundred Twice

Deductinge Nine A waye.
Let Here His Rotten Bones Repose
Till Angells Trompet Sounde
To Warne The Worlde of Present Chaunge
And Raise the Deade From Grounde.

Can you do the maths and calculate the year he died?

15. What famous cat is this and who lived for a time in the house he is staring at?

16. Here a lady, her head bowed, strains hard to control a gigantic horse (and there is a similar male figure at the other end of the building). The sculpture, called Controlled Energy, dates from 1932 and the sculptor, William Reid Dick, was asked why he included female figures in the work.

This was the sculptor’s interesting reply: ‘These days women are controlling affairs nearly, if not quite, as much as men. They begin to take control in some respects … as soon as they are out of their cradles, and the idea would have been incompletely carried out if only men had been used’.

What building was he working on?

17. What notorious prison is this? Now demolished, where it once stood is now the site of the Central Criminal Court or Old Bailey.

18. What children are represented in this sculpture outside Liverpool Street Station?

19. A friar carrying his missal stands in an alcove in an area named after an order of monks that were finally expelled in 1538 as a result of the dissolution of the monasteries. What is the area called?

20. Tucked away in a corner at Liverpool Street railway station is this plaque directly underneath the main memorial to the First World War dead. Within two hours of unveiling the memorial Sir Henry Wilson was dead. What happened to him?

Answers to the Quiz:

  1. The statue is made of bronze from captured enemy cannon melted down after the Battle of Waterloo. You can read more here.
  2. The story goes that when he was a young apprentice, and rather poor, he missed an important meeting with his master on London Bridge because he had no way of telling the time. He vowed that, if ever he became rich, he would erect a clock in the vicinity and this magnificent example of the clockmakers’ art was the result. Read more here.
  3. It’s by Damien Hirst. Read more about my visit to the church here.
  4. The Museum of London.
  5. He is commemorated on the Watts Memorial in Postman’s Park. Read about him and three other brave policemen here.
  6. It’s the only Catholic church in the City of London. You can read more about its history here.
  7. When Christchurch was a blazing inferno as a result of the Blitz a postman ran into the building and rescued the font cover. Read more about this and other rescued artifacts here.
  8. It’s a woman dressed as a man, by Giuseppe Grandi, and dates from 1872. The shop owner, George Attenborough, had a niche created specially for it over the front door. Kaled is the page of Count Lara in Bryon’s poetic story of a nobleman who returns to his ancestral lands to restore justice. He antagonises the neighbouring chieftains who attack and kill him. Kaled stays with his master and lover to the end, when it is revealed he is in fact a woman. (Spoiler alert) She goes mad from grief and dies.
  9. It comes from a lamp standard on Holborn Viaduct. Read more about it here.
  10. 2014, when the staircase to the north east pavilion of Holborn Viaduct was rebuilt in Victorian style. Read more about the history of the viaduct and its statues here.
  11. It is situated on the south side of St Paul’s Cathedral.
  12. The church is St Olave Hart Street and the famous civil servant and diarist Samuel Pepys. Read more about him and the terrible plague of 1665 here.
  13. The Greek words are a palindrome copied from the Cathedral of St Sophia in Constantinople. Read more about unusual church artifacts here.
  14. Here is the inscription again and the answer to the maths:

Here Robert Balthrope Lyes intombed,
to Elizabeth Our Queene
Who Sergeant of the Surgeons Sworne,
Neere Thirtye Yeeres Hathe Beene
He Died at Sixtye Nine of Yeeres,
Decembers Ninthe The Daye
The Yeere of Grace Eight Hundred Twice

Deductinge Nine A waye.
Let Here His Rotten Bones Repose
Till Angells Trompet Sounde
To Warne The Worlde of Present Chaunge
And Raise the Deade From Grounde.

He died in 1591, but the poet who devised this eulogy presumably had a problem getting 1591 to rhyme with anything. So he chose the frankly odd solution of asking the reader to do some mental arithmetic – ‘The Yeere of Grace Eight Hundred Twice’ (i.e. 800 x 2 = 1600) Deductinge Nine A waye (1600 – 9 = 1591).

15. The famous cat, Hodge, is remembered by this attractive bronze by John Bickley which was unveiled by the Lord Mayor, no less, in 1997. Hodge belonged to Dr Johnson, who lived for a while in the house opposite. Hodge sits atop a copy Johnson’s famous dictionary and alongside a pair of empty oyster shells. Read more here.

16. Unilever house at Blackfriars. You can read more here.

17. It was Newgate Gaol. Read more about it here along with its connection to St Sepulchre’s church including the bell that was rung outside the cells of condemned prisoners the night before their execution.

18. It is the Kindertransport commemorative statue. In 1938 and 1939, nearly ten thousand unaccompanied Jewish children were transported to Britain to escape persecution in their hometowns in Germany, Czechoslovakia and Austria. These children arrived at Liverpool Street station to be taken in by British families and foster homes. Often they were the only members of their families to survive the Holocaust.

19. Austin Friars (off Old Broad street), once the location of an Augustinian Friary. Read more here.

20 Wilson was assassinated outside his house in Eaton Place at about 2:20 pm. Still in full uniform, he was shot six times, two bullets in the chest proving fatal. The two perpetrators, IRA volunteers Reginald Dunne and Joseph O’Sullivan, shot two police officers and a chauffeur as they attempted to escape but were surrounded by a hostile crowd and arrested after a struggle. Interestingly both were former British army officers and O’Sullivan had lost a leg at Ypres, his subsequent disability hindering their escape. After a trial lasting just three hours they were convicted of murder and hanged at Wandsworth gaol on 10 August that year – justice was certainly delivered swiftly in those days. No organisation claimed responsibility for Wilson’s murder. Read more and view other interesting memorials here.

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The Christmas Quiz!

Hello, friends,

Wow, doesn’t time fly. It’s time for another Christmas quiz!

There are 20 questions with answers supplied at the end of the blog. All questions relate to subjects I have written about during 2019.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  1. This extraordinary building near Liverpool Street Station is now a restaurant. But what was it when it first opened in 1895?

2. This man as portrayed in glazed faience reliefs in Widegate Street is clearly working very hard. What does he have in the sack?

3. What’s the name of the alley where this ecclesiastical man’s head peers down on us?

4. You’ll find various versions of this elegant lady throughout the City. What famous livery company does she represent?

5. Just what is this happy chap up to?

6. These men are going to meet a nasty end in this 1964 horror movie. What was the film called and what City church are they entering?

7. Where is this winged horse and what is it an emblem of?

8. This voluptuous lady resting on a plinth in the Broadgate Centre has an appropriate nickname. What is it?

9. Why is the Thames riverbank littered with thousands of lumps of chalk?

10. This pretty lady in a Hart Street church looks like she is in mid-conversation. Who is she?

11. These offices in Garrett Street off Golden Lane have a very shallow, sloping set of stairs as a result of the original use of the building in 1897. What was that use?

12. What famous piece of home entertainment equipment was once manufactured in these premises on Old Street? The name of the building is a subtle clue.

13. What can you sometimes hear if you put your ear to this grating at the junction of Greville Street and Saffron Hill?

14. Where can you find this wall tile representing the Palace of Westminster?

15. Why does this elaborate water fountain memorial contain a carving of a Christmas cracker?

16. This creature was a sculptor’s best effort at imagining what an alligator looked like. Where is it?

17. Where is this unusual post box and what is particularly odd about it?

18. Why did the word ‘Resurgam’ have a particular significance for Sir Christopher Wren?

19. What was the connection between the Thomas Cook Travel agency and Fleet Street?

20. No one takes much notice of it now, but why was this piece of street furniture once known as ‘The Pump of Death’?

Answers to the Quiz

  1. It’s in Bishopsgate Churchyard near Liverpool Street Station and was originally a Turkish Bath. You can read all about its history here.

2. Also near Liverpool Street Station, this is the exterior of the former Nordheim Model Bakery at 12-13 Widegate Street. Here there are glazed faience reliefs which, as a group, show the bread-making process in beautiful detail. The man in the picture is hauling flour.

3. It is, of course, Pope’s Head Alley which runs between Cornhill and Lombard Street. I have written about it and other alleys and courtyards here.

4. She is a Mercer Maiden and marks a building, or an area, as belonging to the Mercer Company. She appeared a few times in 2019 blogs but I first wrote about her in detail here in 2017.

5. The artist Ben Wilson brightens up our lives by painstakingly turning pieces of discarded chewing gum into art. Read more about him and his work on the Millennium Bridge here.

6. The film was Children of the Damned and the church St Dunstan in the East. Read more and view a clip from the movie here along with a dramatic Iron Maiden soundtrack.

7. Pegasus, the winged horse, is the emblem of the Middle Temple in the Inns of Court.

8. Created by Fernando Botero especially for the site she is known as the Broadgate Venus.

9. On the Thames Riverbank large chalk beds were once laid down to provide a soft settling place for barges at low tide. Take a look at my Riverbank walk blog.

10. She is Elizabeth, the wife of Samuel Pepys, and her monument can be found in the Church of St Olave Hart Street. Pepys was distraught when she died from typhoid fever at the early age of 29. His memorial is directly opposite hers and their eyes meet eternally across the nave where they are buried alongside one another.

11. These were the stables custom-built in 1897 for the dray horses that pulled the Whitbread Brewery wagons. Where the staircase is now there was a slope which allowed the horses to be easily led up to the first floor.

12. Number 116 used to be the Margolin Gramophone Company factory. They manufactured the Dansette record player – a name very familiar to us baby-boomers. The stylus is a needle that rests against a record in order to play the recording.

13. Here you can occasionally hear the sound of running water since, directly underneath, runs probably the most famous of London’s ‘lost’ subterranean rivers, the Fleet.

14. Aldgate East station has some fascinating tiles that date from the 1930s. Many were created by the artist and craftsman Harold Stabler, who was commissioned by the London Passenger Transport Board in 1936 to design tiles to decorate new and refurbished underground stations. The first of the tiles were installed at Aldgate East when it was rebuilt in 1938.

15. It’s a memorial to Tom Smith, the inventor of the Christmas cracker. Read all about it here.

16. You will find this sculpture, which commemorates Queen Anne, outside the west front of St Paul’s Cathedral. The queen is surrounded by four allegorical figures and this one represents America. In 1712, this is what the original sculptor Francis Bird imagined an alligator would look like.

17 .This post box is just on the other side of the Henry VIII gateway to St Bartholomew’s Hospital. It’s unique in carrying no royal cipher and also because, although it faces the hospital, it is emptied from the other side of the wall in the street.

18. If you look up at the pediment of the south porch of St Paul’s Cathedral this is what you will see. Whilst staking out the foundations in the newly cleared site, Sir Christopher needed to mark a particular spot and asked a labourer to fetch a stone. The man came back with a fragment of a broken tombstone on which was carved 0ne word, RESURGAM – I shall rise again. Wren’s son later wrote that the architect never forgot that omen and it was an incident from which he drew comfort when the obstacles that arose during the long years of rebuilding seemed insuperable.

19. Thomas Cook, in partnership with his son, John Mason Cook, opened an office in Fleet Street in 1865. In accordance with his beliefs, Mr Cook senior and his wife also ran a small temperance hotel above the office. You can still see the building now, graced with numerous globes and cherubs.

20. Hundreds died when water from the pump became contaminated as a result of flowing underground too close to cemeteries.

I hope you enjoyed this year’s quiz.

Have a lovely Christmas break and a happy new year!

Do remember that you can follow me on Instagram :


The Christmas Quiz!

Hello, friends,

Wow, doesn’t time fly. It’s time for another Christmas quiz!

There are 20 questions with answers supplied at the end of the blog. All questions relate to subjects I have written about during 2018.

1. Can you spot the thief in this painting of the Lord Mayor’s procession The Ninth of November 1888?

2. Who designed and created these lovely murals that can be found on the Highwalk between the Barbican Centre and Speed House?

3. People have obviously been stroking the head of this curled up bronze lion. He is portrayed on the door of what famous building?

4. This man is frantically waving his arm at the Embankment traffic. What is he trying to do?

5. The Tower Hill Memorial records that all these men lost their lives when one ship was sunk by a U Boat on 7 May 1915. What was the name of the ship?

6. A handsome, bearded Sir Thomas Gresham looks down from the gates at the entrance to what building?

7. This naughty 18th century fireplace tile showing a lady spanking a man’s bottom is now, along with other even naughtier ones, held ‘securely’ in the Museum of London. In what famous Fleet Street pub was it discovered?

8. In the old churchyard of St John Zachary are these three figures. What profession do they represent?

9. A South African engineer stands atop a ventilation shaft outside Bank Underground Station – an appropriate location bearing in mind his great invention. What is his name and what did he invent?

10. This stained glass window in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral celebrates the actions of a brave lady. She also has a commemorative plaque in a small City of London park along with plaques recognising the heroic self sacrifice of 53 other ‘humble’ folk.

What is the name of the park?

11. Non-resident dogs no doubt read this sign and go elsewhere. Resident dogs are reminded how to behave.

Where are these gardens?

12. This rodent balancing on a weathervane above Bishopsgate is a reminder of an 18th century institution that dominated the fur trade. What was the most popular fur and what was the institution?

13. What’s unusual about this Greek inscription on the font in St Martin within Ludgate: Niyon anomhma mh monan oyin?

14. Sir Henry was murdered shortly after unveiling the war memorial in what City of London Station?

15. I am sure there are very few dishonest solicitors nowadays, but there seems to have been a time when an honest one was rather unusual, and this virtue was so exceptional that his clients paid for a memorial plaque saying so. It reads ‘Hobson Judkin, late of Clifford’s Inn, THE HONEST SOLICITOR who departed this life June 30th 1812’. In what church can it be found?

16. The Reverend Dr Chad Varah takes a call at St Stephen Walbrook in November 1953 – what Charity did he found?

17. What is the connection between this famous movie and the Fleet Street legend and prolific author Edgar Wallace?

18. Who is this handsome chap? His bust stands outside St Paul’s Cathedral and his effigy was the only one that survived when the old cathedral burnt down in the Great Fire of 1666.

19. And who is this not so handsome fellow with a distinct squint? The statue’s inscription describes him as a ‘champion of English freedom’.

20. A legendary Lord Mayor, one commentator claimed that this stained glass representation of him in St Lawrence Jewry made him look like a ‘Hoxton hipster’. Who was he?


Here are the answers along with links to the relevant blog:

1. It’s the little boy reaching around to nick an orange from the old lady’s basket. You can view the full picture here.

2. Dorothy Annan, who I wrote about last week.

3. The Bank of England. Fascinating details of other doors (and the ‘Lothbury Ladies’) can be found here.

4. The poor guy has been trying to hail a taxi since 1983.

5. The Lusitania. I have researched some of the men’s stories and you can read about them here.

6. The Royal Exchange. Read more about Sir Thomas and the Royal Exchange here and here.

7. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – rebuilt shortly after the Great Fire of 1666. Read more about it, and Fleet Street’s lanes and alleys, here.

8. The newsprint profession. Read more about this sculpture and others here.

9. It’s James Henry Greathead. He invented the Greathead Shield which transformed the art of tunneling to the significant advantage of London’s Underground. Go to the blog to see where you can actually find an example.

10. Postman’s Park. See details of other memorials and stories behind them here.

11. They are next to the gates to Inner Temple Gardens.

12. The fur was from the beaver and the institution the Hudson’s Bay Company. Read about more City animals here.

13. It’s a palindrome. Translated it reads ‘Cleanse my sin not only my face’. See more unusual church discoveries here.

14. Liverpool Street Station.  Read more about the Field Marshal here and the station itself here.

15. St Dunstan-in-the-West on Fleet Street. Read more about this tribute and other unusual memorials here.

16. The Samaritans. Here’s the full story.

17. He wrote the original screenplay. Read about his extraordinarily productive life here.

18. John Donne, poet and Dean of St Paul’s. Read more about him here.

19. John Wilkes. Read more about him here.

20. It’s Dick Whittington accompanied by his loyal cat. There is much more beautiful stained glass in the City and I write about it here.

Finally, if you are interested, here is a link to last year’s quiz.

Thank you so much for following the blog – my sincere best wishes for Christmas and the New Year!














The Christmas Quiz!

Hello, Friends,

Many of you have been following this blog from its early days in August this year (thank you so much for your support) and some of you have only subscribed recently. The Quiz is based on earlier blogs so long-time followers will have an advantage. Nonetheless, however long you have been a reader, I hope you find the questions fun. All the answers are given at the end as well as links to the blogs to which they refer, so hopefully some of you will discover new stories of interest.

Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Here is the Quiz:

1. Who used this room above Temple Bar to entertain Winston Churchill and the Prince of Wales after her husband bought the building for her in 1888?

2. Who submitted this plan for the rebuilding of London after the Great Fire of 1666?

3. This lady on a building in Moorgate is holding a serpent and a skull – what do they symbolise?

4. What acclaimed artist added these golden leaves to the front of the Whitechapel Gallery?

5. Why is this little boy on a building near Bank junction holding a goose? Could it have something to do with the name of the street?

6. Fox’s in London Wall used to sell umbrellas – what does it sell now?

7. What Livery Company has been honoured by a King so that it is now an Honourable Company rather than (like others) a Worshipful one? This is its coat of arms …

8. Where do these devils live and what is the story behind them?

9. Henry VIII and his wife, Catharine of Aragon, appeared together on 21 June 1529 at the Black Friars Monastery – what was the occasion?

10. Who wrote the poem containing these famous lines and where is he buried?

And did those feet in ancient time,

Walk Upon England’s mountains green

And was the holy lamb of God

On England’s pleasant pastures seen!

11. What is the difference between a dragon and a griffin? Which one of these is which?

12. This beautiful and serene lady is dated 1669. What livery company does she represent?

13. This sundial (‘We are but shadows’) is on a building that was once a Protestant Church, then a Methodist Chapel, next a Jewish Synagogue and is now a Mosque. Where is it?

14. This famous cat has his own statue in Gough Square – who was his devoted owner?

15. The statues of these two queens are a 100 yards apart in Fleet Street – one ordered the execution of the other. Who are they?

16. Samuel Pepys worshipped in this church. The gateway to the graveyard prompted Dickens to call it ‘St Ghastly Grim’. What church is it?

17. Where can you find these two cherubs chatting to one another on an early 20th century telephone?

18. Lady Justice, bathed in sunlight, stands atop the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey. Who is this appearing to salute her?

19. What is the historical significance of this little drinking fountain on the corner of Snow Hill and Holborn Viaduct?

20. Three camels are led past the bones of a dead one. How did this portrayal end up in Eastcheap?


1. She was Lady Valerie Meux, a beautiful ex-actress and singer who had married Sir Henry Meux of the wealthy brewing family. There is lots more here about Temple Bar itself and this eccentric, and fascinating, lady: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/09/07/temple-bar-and-the-banjo-playing-lady/

2. The plan was submitted by Christopher Wren – you can read more about the City and its residents after the Great Fire in my blog City Living : https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/12/07/city-living/

3. She is part of a coat of arms incorporated into the wall of the old London Headquarters of the Metropolitan Life Assurance Society. The serpent signifies wisdom and the skull mortality. You can read more about old insurance headquarter buildings here: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/11/30/insurance-company-ghosts/

4. The artist was Rachel Whiteread and I have written more about Art Nouveau in the City in this blog: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/11/23/art-nouveau-in-the-city/

5. Why a goose? A clue is the ancient name of the street and the goose was a suggestion by the architect Sir Edwin Lutyens to commemorate its original market function. The street was, and is still, called Poultry – you can read more about it here along with other City animals: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/11/16/city-animals-3/

6. It is now a wine bar. Read more about its history and Art Deco in the City generally here: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/category/art-deco/

7. It is the Honourable Company of Master Mariners and King George V granted them this privilege. There is more about them here along with many other livery company coats of arms: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/11/02/coats-of-arms-a-quick-quiz/

8. They are known as the Cornhill Devils. The story goes that, when plans were submitted for the late Victorian building next to the church, the rector noticed that they impinged slightly on church land and lodged a strong objection. Everything had to literally go back to the drawing board at great inconvenience and expense. The terracotta devils looking down on the entrance to the church are said to be the architect’s revenge with the lowest devil bearing some resemblance to the cleric himself. Read more about them here: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/10/26/city-angels-and-a-few-devils/

9. It was the venue of their divorce hearing. On 21 June 1529 they appeared before Cardinal Wolsey and the papal legate Cardinal Campeggio, who were there to hear testimonies as to the validity of the King’s marriage. I have written about Blackfriars and medieval monasteries here: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/10/19/the-medieval-city-monasteries/

10. It was, of course, William Blake. It was originally from the preface of his epic Milton, a Poem in Two Books (c 1808) but is now best known as the anthem Jerusalem set to music by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916. Blake is buried in Bunhill Burial Ground. Take a walk with me there as I point out other interesting graves and monuments: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/10/12/stones-and-bones-a-walk-through-bunhill-burial-ground/

11. The first picture is a griffin and the second (the symbol of the City of London) is a dragon. A griffin (or gryphon) is a legendary creature with the body, tail and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of an eagle; and an eagle’s talons as its front feet. Dragons, on the other hand, have a serpent’s tail, tend to be scaly all over and breathe fire and smoke. There are some more pictures here: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/10/05/dragons-and-maidens/

12. She is a Mercer Maiden and her symbol is part of the coat of arms of their Livery Company – according to their website she first appears on a seal in 1425. Her precise origins are unknown, and there is no written evidence as to why she was chosen as the Company’s emblem. This lady is the earliest surviving. There are more maidens here marking property owned by the Company: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/10/05/dragons-and-maidens/

13. It’s in Brick Lane. Read more about it (and other fascinating sundials) here: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/09/21/we-are-but-shadows-city-sundials/

14. He was called Hodge and he belonged to Dr Johnson. There is more about him here along with other City animals: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/09/14/city-animals-2/

15. They are, as I am sure you know, Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I. You can read more about the statues and their history here: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/08/31/three-queens-and-a-king/

16. It is St Olave in Hart Street and you can read more about Pepys and his time in London here: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/08/24/samuel-pepys-and-his-own-church/

17. Now known as 2 Temple Place, the house where the cherubs grace the entrance was built in 1892 for William Waldorf Astor, and was one of the first London residences to have a telephone installed.  There are more stories about City cherubs here: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/wp-admin/post.php?post=380&action=edit

18. It is Prince Albert, mounted on his horse in Holborn Circus. There are other statues of Lady Justice in the City (all  blindfolded except one!). You can read all about them here: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/08/10/justice/

19. Unveiled on 20th April 1859, it was the first public drinking fountain in London. Many more fountains followed and their story is a fascinating one: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/03/21/philanthropic-fountains/

20. Constructed between 1883 and 1885, the building at 20 Eastcheap was once the headquarters of Peek Brothers & Co, dealers in tea, coffee and spices, whose trademark showed three camels bearing different shaped loads being led by a Bedouin Arab. The sculptor, William Theed, was very famous: https://symbolsandsecrets.london/2017/03/20/a-dead-camel-in-eastcheap/





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