Tricky New Year London Quiz Answers
Here are the answers to eleven odd questions about London/
1. On which London monument do pearls turn to diamonds, and why is it turning blue?
Big Ben. On the background design of its faces, working outwards. When it’s finished being renovated its hands will be blue, as they once were.
2. There’s a man-eating tiger in Knightsbridge. Where is it?
The Tippoo Tiger is in the V&A. I have never seen it move.
3. Which London department store has stairs that are designed to disorient you?
The main staircase at Liberty was planned with uneven dimensions that would confuse visitors and make them spend longer in the store.
4. Name two stores with invisible glass?
Heal’s and Simpson’s (now Waterstones) were both constructed with concave ‘invisible’ non-reflective windows.
5. It was a hotel, a masonic temple, a pub, a music venue and the site of London’s biggest beer tragedy before being demolished 132 years after being built, in 2007. What was on its roof?
The Horseshoe survived the bursting of its beer barrels (eight people were drowned by one million pints of porter) and had a huge horseshoe on its roof. It is now a nothing-to-see-here stump of an office block.
6. Which London monument was a pop-up made of wood, but proved so popular its designer remade it in stone?
The Cenotaph, by Edwin Lutyens. People wouldn’t stop putting flowers on it.
7. Which so-called ‘Soho club’ isn’t in Soho and held the wake for its owner (complete with his coffin) in his own bar?
The Phoenix Artists’ Club calls itself part of Soho but is across Charing Cross Road, technically St Giles. Maurice died and had his posthumous party in the bar. I was there, of course.
8. What’s the oldest intact building in London? (You can’t have the Coliseum!)
The White Tower. William the Conquerer clearly didn’t use my builder.
9. Alexander Pope wrote this about a London street. Fill in its name;
‘Cries he who high in Drury Lane, Lulled by soft zephyrs through the broken pane, Rhymes ere he wakes and prints before Term ends, Obliged by hunger, and request of friends.’
Pope lived in the lane, as did many writers and actors who liked being near their favourite theatres.
10. Several iconic movie cars have associations with London. Name two of them and explain why.
You all had excellent car answers and I guess Genevieve is the most memorable. I put down the original sixties’ Batmobile, Herbie the love bug and Mr Bean’s car, all at the Hayes motor museum (not the Haynes motor museum, which is in Somerset) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which was driven by Dick Van Dyke at the Lord Mayor’s Show in the sixties. I know because I was there for that as well. James Bond’s Aston Martin DB5 was stolen in Florida, but the company is making 25 replicas, right down to the revolving numberplate.
That was fun. Shall we do it again some time?