London is one of my favorite European countries and I’ve visited it many times. Of course, the first two times in the town I went straight to the most famous places, like The Big Ben or Victoria and Albert Museum. But then I wanted to see more, to find out more about London’s amazing history. And I was not disappointed, because you can find history at every corner in this amazing city. You can literally walk past something interesting daily. Here is my list of interesting, history-rich places in London.
The final resting place of Joseph Merrick
Whitechapel is famous for being the hunting ground of the infamous Ripper, but it also offers other interesting and history-rich places. One of them is the Royal London Hospital, which is the last resting place of Joseph Merrick, known as the “Elephant Man”. He suffered from an unknown medical condition which deformed his face and skull. After he was paraded around Europe in a curiosity freak show, he ended up in the Royal London Hospital, where he died in 1890. A replica of his skeleton can be seen at the hospital’s museum, located in a small church, along with other interesting exhibits. The museum is across the street from the actual hospital, downstairs in the former crypt and is very easy to access from the Whitechapel underground station.
Trafalgar square’s smallest police station
Walking along Trafalgar Square you will see a large post for a street lamp, equipped with a black door. Well, I found that it was actually a Police post. The smallest in London, installed in 1926 and kept in use for some time. A policeman was sitting inside the tiny post to watch the people in Trafalgar Square. If things went wrong, they could intervene on the spot, after they called for backups from the Scotland Yard. The little post has windows and when I peeked inside I could see a lot of cleaning materials and mops… Strange, but the actual post is cute.
We all know that joke when someone farts on a lamp and it lights it up, but London actually has its own version of this joke. Welcome to the Farting Lane! The real name of the road is Carting Lane and nearby the Savoy Hotel you can see the last sewer lamp. They were all around London in the 19th century and they were used to burn off the horrific smell from the sewers and to light up the streets. The lamp is lit 24/7 and is said to be fueled by the guests of Savoy. Truth or fiction, the lamp looks very fashionable and is not far from Trafalgar Square.
The cholera-giving water pump
If you become thirsty in London and you have a strong stomach you can try to drink water from Dr. John Snow’s water pump, on Broad Wisk Street, in Soho. The pump helped Dr. John Snow realize that illnesses are spread by contaminated water, not miasma, how it was previously thought. In 1850s, there was a cholera outbreak in Soho and that water pump was blamed by Dr. Snow to be the center point of the entire epidemic. The doctor is now known as the parent of epidemiology and modern medicine. As for the water pump, I didn’t try to use it. Who knows? I don’t want to wonder if I got anything from drinking water from it next time I get a cold.