5 Common London Myths that Aren’t True

May 25, 2017 9:36 am Published by

London has a long and colourful history, but there are also a lot of myths circulating about London that don’t have any truth about them. Given how many absurd and bizarre tales are true, it can be difficult to distinguish fact from fiction, even for the most seasoned London buffs. Here is some of the most persistent fake news there is about London.

Old London Bridge was Not Sold to a Gullible American

The story goes that an American bought Old London Bridge thinking that it was Tower Bridge. However, the real story is even stranger – a US businessman called Robert P. McCulloch bought the last London Bridge and brought it to Arizona where it still stands today, in Lake Havasu City. The City of London sold it since it wasn’t strong enough to support the increased traffic that was flowing through London, so McCulloch bought it as a tourist attraction. The bridge was dismantled and stones were numbered so that it could be reassembled, but not until 15-20cm were sliced off the original stones. It wasn’t even built over a river or lake – the bridge was rebuilt over dry land and a canal was then dredged under it and flooded.

The Viaduct Tavern Does Not Contain Cells from Newgate Prison

Unfortunately there is no interesting tale to counteract this myth – just a plain old cellar.

You Are Not Always Within 6ft of a Rat

This obviously changes if you’re in the habit of taking your pet rat with you wherever you go, but the old myth that you are always this close to a rat is not true. Research suggests that the figure is closer to around 164ft, which is the length of about 11 elephants or about 3ft short of the elevation of the Niagara Falls.

 The C Logo on Westminster Lampposts Does Not Stand for Chanel        

London may be a pricey city, but Chanel lampposts are a little too far even for Westminster. While it is true that Coco Chanel was linked to the Duke of Westminster in the 1920s and 1930s, the interlocking Cs on lampposts in the London borough stand for City Council (of Westminster) – a little less romantic than a tribute to the fashion designer.

Pregnant Women Should Really Use a Toilet

Policemen’s helmets may look odd, but they are not a makeshift toilet for pregnant women, no matter how desperate they may be. A law does state that pregnant women can relieve themselves in public if there isn’t a toilet nearby, but there’s no mention of using any item of a policeman’s dress in the process. Nowadays, there’s usually a Starbucks nearby anyway.

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This post was written by Matt Watts