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The Fiver: Five Insane but True Things About London

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London has captivated the hearts of millions with its rich history, iconic landmarks, and diverse culture. However, beyond the well-known attractions and historical significance, London is also home to some truly bizarre and mind-boggling facts that will leave you scratching your head in disbelief. In this article, we unveil five insane but true things about London that will undoubtedly pique your curiosity.

The Harrods Dress Code for Staff

Harrods, the world-famous luxury department store in Knightsbridge, is renowned for its impeccable service and high-end offerings. However, what many may not know is that the store has a strict dress code for its staff that borders on the bizarre. Employees are required to adhere to a 16-page manual that dictates everything from the appropriate shade of makeup to the type of underwear they should wear. Yes, you read that correctly – the underwear policy specifies that staff must wear “skin-colored bras and flesh-colored underwear” to maintain a sleek and flawless appearance under their uniforms.

The Leaning House of Windsor

While the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa is well-known for its striking tilt, few are aware that London has its own leaning wonder. Located in the historic town of Windsor, the Crooked House of Windsor leans at an incredible angle of almost 30 degrees. Originally built in the 16th century, this quirky structure was intended to be a one-room residence for a wealthy merchant. However, due to its precarious lean, it was later used as a brewery, a butcher’s shop, and even a brush maker’s workshop. Today, it stands as a testament to the unique architectural oddities that can be found in London’s surroundings.

The Ghostly Inhabitants of the Underground

London’s Underground, also known as the Tube, is one of the oldest and most extensive metro systems in the world. However, beneath the bustling stations and tunnels, there lurk tales of ghostly apparitions and unexplained phenomena. One of the most famous ghost stories involves the spirit of an Egyptian prince who is said to haunt the British Museum station. Witnesses have reported seeing a shadowy figure in ancient Egyptian attire wandering the platforms. Additionally, some claim to have heard eerie whispers and unexplained footsteps in the tunnels. Whether you believe in the paranormal or not, these spine-chilling tales add an extra layer of intrigue to London’s iconic Underground.

The Unusual Museum Exhibits

London is home to countless museums showcasing a wide array of historical artifacts and cultural treasures. However, some of these institutions house exhibits that are downright bizarre. For instance, the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons boasts a collection of anatomical specimens, including Winston Churchill’s dentures and the skeleton of a 7-foot-7-inch tall Irishman named Charles Byrne. Additionally, the Wellcome Collection museum features a collection of medical curiosities, including a display of human hair fashioned into intricate designs and even a human spinal column adorned with jewelry. These unusual exhibits provide a fascinating, if not unsettling, glimpse into the darker corners of human history and curiosity.

The Bizarre Street Names

While many of London’s street names are steeped in history and tradition, some are simply downright bizarre. Take, for example, Piccadilly Circus’ neighboring streets: Shaftesbury Avenue and Haymarket. These seemingly innocuous names take on a whole new meaning when you discover their origins. Shaftesbury Avenue was named after the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, who was known for his eccentric behavior, which included publicly urinating in the streets. Meanwhile, Haymarket got its name from the practice of selling hay and straw there, a far cry from the bustling entertainment district it is today. Other peculiar street names include Queer Street, Birdcage Walk, and Wormwood Street, leaving visitors scratching their heads in bewilderment.

London is a city that never ceases to amaze us, and these five insane but true facts are just the tip of the iceberg. From the quirky dress codes of luxury department stores to the ghostly inhabitants of the Underground, and from the bizarre museum exhibits to the peculiar street names, London truly is a place where the extraordinary and the unexpected collide. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these mind-boggling facts will undoubtedly add an extra layer of intrigue and fascination to your exploration of this remarkable city.

Author: jonathan

Jonathan is a consummate Anglophile who launched Anglotopia.net in 2007 to channel his passion for Britain. Londontopia is its sister publication dedicated to everything London.

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