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The most famous Highgate epitaph belongs to Karl Marx - 'Workers of All Lands Unite' - though the most diffident belongs to
comedian Max Wall - '
the most I've had is just a talent to amuse'. Carved on the tomb of Tom Sayers, last of the great British
bare-fisted boxers, is the huge effigy of his faithful dog, the chief mourner among 10,000 people at the funeral.
That it was London Zoo's very first elephant, named Jumbo (acquired in 1867), who gave his name to any object of giant size
(such as the jumbo jet). The elephants were such a novelty that they became the talk of London and so frantic was the 'elephant-mania'
that Jumbo's mate, Alice, lost some 30cm of her trunk to a ruthless souvenir hunter!
The raffish picture of William Shakespeare, the Chandos Portrait (painted c1610), is the sole known contemporary portrait
of the Bard of Avon and is therefore claimed to be his only true likeness. It was the first picture to enter the gallery.
On a similar note, there are also few original portraits of Christopher Wren in existence and the National Portrait Gallery's
is one of the best.
The landmark spire of St Bride, a 'madrigal in stone' and the tallest of any Wren church at 69m, is said to be the model for
the traditional tiered wedding cake. These were first made around 200 years ago by Mr Rich, a Fleet Street pastry-cook who
became famous for his spire inspired confections.
For centuries Southwark was the centre of London's forbidden pleasures. Because it lay just outside the City fathers' jurisdiction,
venues such as bull-baiting and bear-baiting rings, cock-fighting pits, rowdy inns, brothels and gambling dens were all allowed
to flourish. Theatres too were deemed to be unacceptable within the City, hence the location of the Globe and other famous
Tower Bridge contains over 27,000 tons of bricks, enough to build around 350 detached houses. An average of 432 men worked
for nearly 2,900 days on it, and the final cost was around £1.2 million. The bridge is 268m long from shore to shore and its
drawbridges each weigh 1,000 tons.
Contrary to popular legend, Admiral Lord Nelson never wore an eye patch, though he did have a special hat (on display in Westminster
Abbey's Undercroft Museum) to shade the eye he injured at the Battle of Calvi. The bullet-holed jacket and blood-stained clothing
that Nelson wore at the Battle of Trafalgar is in the museum's Nelson Gallery.