Wildly interesting facts about London you never knew, until now

, Credit: ,

How well do you really know London? Probably not as well as the brains behind the show QI. You can now play the trivia game at home thanks to a book packed with facts about the capital.

Here are some of London's facts from 1234 QI Facts to Leave You Speechless.

  • The reigning Olympic tug-of-war champions are the City of London Police

  • In 19th-century London, fake ice cream was made from mashed turnip

  • You could fit all 3,561 Tesco stores in the UK into an area the size of the City of London

  • London milkmaids used to shout ‘mi-ow’ in the streets. It was short for ‘milk below’

  • In 1952, the Great Smog of London was so bad that blind people led sighted people home from the train stations

  • In 2014, not a single 07.29 a.m. Brighton–London Victoria train reached its destination on time

  • The 1908 London Olympics were sponsored by Oxo, Odol mouthwash and Indian Foot Powder

  • The first man to send a Valentine’s card was a Frenchman imprisoned in the Tower of London

  • There is more toxic nitrogen dioxide in London’s Oxford Street than anywhere else in the world

  • In the 14th century, London had a higher murder rate than any US city today

  • A London by-law of 1351 prohibited boys from playing practical jokes on MPs

  • In the 19th century, many main roads into London were paved with wood

  • London’s first telephone directory didn’t have any numbers in it

  • The first London buses were so slow that operators provided free reading matter

  • When the waltz first arrived in London, it was called an ‘obscene display’ best confined to ‘prostitutes and adulteresses’ by The Times

  • London, Ontario, is on a river called the Thames

  • When Usain Bolt ran the 100m at the 2012 London Olympics, his feet only touched the ground for two seconds

  • The Museum of London has a whole drawer of codpieces that one embarrassed Victorian curator catalogued as ‘shoulder pads