As part of our look at what puts the “Great” into Britain, we have put together a list of some weird and wonderful facts about Britain and us Brits. Enjoy these little bits of British wackiness through the ages….
Now, be honest, how many of these facts did you know?
William the Conqueror ordered that everyone should go to bed at eight ob clock.
Some 80,000 umbrellas are lost annually on the London Underground.
There are over 30,000 John Smiths in Britain.
No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver or purple
The British eat twice as many baked beans per head as Americans do.
Nothing officially happened in Britain between 3 and 14 September 1752. This was because the country was switching from the old Julian calendar to the Western or Gregorian calendar, a move initially instituted by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582. Britain didnb t get round to changing until 1752 when those 11 days went unobserved.
Because Britain lived by the Julian calendar, until 1752 New Yearb s Day fell on 25 March.
There are a dozen secret rivers flowing beneath London. One, the Effra travels under the Oval cricket ground.
Berwick-upon-Tweed was officially at war with Russia for 110 years. As the border town frequently changed hands between England and Scotland over the centuries, it was usually referred to as a separate entity in all State documents. At the outbreak of the Crimean War, Britain declared war on Russia in the name of Britain, Ireland, Berwick-upon-Tweed and all British Dominions. But when the war ended two years later in 1856, the Paris Peace Treaty omitted Berwick.
Law reformer Jeremy Bentham left his entire estate to Londonb s University College in 1832 on condition that he be stuffed, dressed in his finest clothes and mounted in a chair from where he would continue to attend the annual meeting of the universityb s board of governors. His figure is still brought out to preside over an annual debate.
If you find a Cab-driver in London not carrying a bale of hay overboard, he is breaking the law.
Britainb s first holiday camp was Doddb s Socialist Holiday Camp at Caister-on-Sea in Norfolk, which opened in 1906. Alcohol was strictly banned and any holidaymaker caught talking loudly after 11pm was thrown out. Accommodation was under canvas and anyone failing to keep his it her tent tidy was liable to a 6d fine for each offence.
When the water level is very low at Ladybower Reservoir in Derbyshire, a church spire appears above the surface. It is the only visible remains of the villages of Ashopton and Derwent, both of which were flooded when the reservoir was filled in 1943.
Portugal is Englandb s oldest ally. The Anglo-Portuguese Treaty signed in 1373 is still in force.
The town of Beverley, near Hull, was named after the number of beavers which once lived in the area.
In Great Britain, a pregnant woman may relieve herself wherever she wishes
In 1945, a flock of starlings landed on the minute hand of Big Ben and put the time back by five minutes.
Nowhere in Britain is more than 74B= miles from the sea.
An old red telephone kiosk in Huddersfield was converted into a bar by a hotelier who promptly dubbed it the smallest public bar in Britain.
A three-seater outside lavatory at Bishopb s Tawton in North Devon is a Grade II listed building.
The tax on a deck of playing cards in 16th-century England was 2s 6d b much more than a lot of people warned in a month.
There are more chickens than humans in England.
After the 1745 rebellion, led by Bonnie Prince Charlie, the government made it illegal for Scotsmen to wear kilts. The ban remained in force until 1832.
Although the Great Fire of London destroyed much of the city, only six people were killed.
Rudolf Hess was the last prisoner to be kept in the Tower of London.
Buckingham Palace was built on the site of a notorious brothel
Dying is illegal in the Houses of Parliaments.
There are many, many more… maybe for another day!