People seem to like lists these days (Channel 4 programme commissioners in particular who fill seemingly endless hours of airtime with talking heads counting down some list or other…), so I thought I’d join in.  In no particular order, my top 10 arcane facts about the City of London:

  • TS Eliot once worked at Lloyds Bank on Cornhill…
  • …and Kenneth Grahame at the Bank of England
  • The church of St Mary Woolnoth on the corner of Lombard Street and King William Street is the only church in the City of London with an underground station beneath it
  • Contrary to popular belief, the Monarch does not own all the swans on the River Thames.  That right is shared with The Worshipful Company of Vintners and The Worshipful Company of Dyers who conduct the annual Swan Upping ceremony
  • The City of London police force is the only UK police force not to have the St Edward’s Crown (the coronation crown) on their badge (they carry the City of London coat of arms)
  • The £.s.d currency system was based on the Roman librae, solidi, denarii currency system and was first introduced in this country in the 13th century by immigrant Italians who settled in Lombard Street (but don’t tell UKIP…)…
  • …as was the term “bank” (from banco, the Italian word for the benches from which they conducted their trade)
  • The term “floats” in parades originates from the fact that up until 1856 the annual Lord Mayor’s procession took place on the river and the City Livery companies would follow in barges.  Which float.  Obviously…
  • The only signatory of the Magna Carta not to be a baron or a bishop was the sitting Lord Mayor of London at the time (William Hardel)
  • The first clock in London to have a minute hand was on the church of St Dunstan in the West