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  1. ITV Report

Wildly interesting facts about London you never knew, until now

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