If the streets of London could talk, oh the stories they would tell. The historic districts of London are teeming with secrets waiting to uncovered. If you’re a history hunter heading to the city, you will have your cut out for you if you plan on uncovering the rich history of London in just one trip.
One of the oldest areas in London is the City of Westminster. Just around the corner from the Park Grand Hotel London, the ancient political hub has been the centre point of history for centuries.
There is always a lot of debate about the borders than run through London and their exact locations but the area of Westminster has become a particular source of controversy. There is a common misconception that the official boundaries of the city fall short of West Kilburn, when in fact it reaches further than that. Although there are eight boroughs in London which have higher population figures, Westminster is much bigger than you may think.
After you venture out from our hotels near Westbourne Terrace and make your way to the historic City of Westminster, you may notice that many of the street lamps are inscribed with ‘CC’. This image looks suspiciously like the Coco Chanel logo, which has led many to believe that they were erected in tribute to the famous French fashion designer. Although you may hear many tour guides telling tales of the second Duke of Westminster and his affair with Coco Chanel, the lampposts were installed years after the couple’s romance and the ‘CC’ actually stand for City Council.
The oldest blue plaque
In the heart of Westminster on the gorgeous King Street, you’ll find the city’s oldest official blue plaque. There are several of these memorials dotted around the city but none have such a rich history as this one. It was unveiled in 1848 and was dedicated to Napoleon III. The interesting thing about this plaque is that it’s the only one to have been put up while the subject was still alive. In fact, Napoleon III was given six years to admire his plaque before he died.
Believe it or not, there is only one line on the Underground that does not have a station in Westminster. Other than the Waterloo and City Line, Westminster is crossed by every colour on the map.
Not many people will know this but what is now the City of Westminster used to be independent of London. The area is now a borough of England’s capital but there was once a time when it was a separate city.
Although there have been very few natural disasters to strike London, there have been quite a few man-made ones. In 1814 a huge tidal wave of beer crashed through the streets of Westminster after a vat burst on Tottenham Court Road. The incident, unfortunately, took the lives of nine people and has gone down in history as one of the city’s biggest mishaps.