Fun and boring facts about London
Back in the 1200’s a bunch of Benedictine monks owned what was known as the Convent Garden, a small plot of land used for grazing animals and a small orchard. The trees and critters went about their respective business until about 1540 when Henry XIII decided that taking Westminster Abbey wasn’t enough of a dick move and also claimed the pasture lands they held. His son then gave the land to a fellow named John Russell, then an Earl and later a Duke.
Around 1630 one of Russell’s descendents built some fancy homes and St. Paul’s church on the land. Following the establishment of much nicer places to the south some 20 years later, all of the wealthy folks moved out and the former convent gardens became a center for pubs and prostitutes. By the early 1900’s the area was renowned throughout London as a red light district and home to some of the more famous ‘courtesans’ of the day, among them Betsy Careless and Jane Douglas. Somewhere along the way the idea that perhaps a red light district called convent garden was in ill taste took hold and the area has since been referred to as Covent Garden.
By 1918 the lands had been sold to various land speculators and businessmen who split and resold the lands repeatedly until somehow the more entertaining aspects of its history slipped into archaic irrelevancy. Currently the area is full of fruit markets and tourists, although I am sure if one were determined enough both Nuns and Prostitutes could still be found.
The Canary Islands where fairly major exporters of fruits to London, and the primary port of arrival was the west India docks in east London. Somehow this resulted in the area being named for the Canary Islands.
This part is far less interesting than the battle of Canary Wharf that took place, according to Dr Who, in July of 2007. The Torchwood institute discovered a source of energy high above the city and built a large tower beneath it, known in reality as One Canada Square. The building is commonly and incorrectly known as Canary wharf despite not being a wharf and having its name engraved on it in massive letters on all four sides…
From 1990 to 2010 this was the tallest building in the UK at 240 meters until someone for reasons unknown built an ever taller building in a nation known for not building skyscrapers. The Shard is taller however has the least appealing shape possible for a building and also appears in an episode of Dr Who proving once again that despite being an intergalactic time traveler he spends far to much time in London.
While both of these buildings are landmarks of a sort I would suggest their only actual value is that they can be seen from a great distance when walking and can be used as navigation aids.