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Historical Facts About the UK You Probably Didn't Know

06 Jan 2018 4089
Historical Facts

Many students are fascinated by the long and interesting history of the UK and opt for the subject. And the centuries-old historical buildings, great architecture, royal streets, etc., are proof of some of the great events that took place years ago. In fact, most of the tourists love and admire the same. But, many of the visitors and countrymen are familiar with the prominent events of the British history such as the battle of Hastings, the Roman invasion, the Reformation, etc. We all know how they conquered, flourished, and became an important part of three continents. However, there are many lesser-known and strange stories that we overlooked.

We have gathered some of the fantastic historical facts of the UK that you will never want to miss. So, take a look:

1. Art Was an Olympic Sport

The founders of the Olympic Movement believed that sports should reflect a completely educated man, and art and sport need to be combined. So, from 1912 to 1948, art was considered an Olympic sport and medals were awarded in architecture, literature, music, painting and sculpting categories. In 1954, this idea was replaced by Olympic cultural programs.

2. Great Horse Manure Crisis

The number of horses was so high in London that in 1894, The Times predicted that by 1950 every street would be nine feet deep in horse dung. As horses are not toilet trained, so this was a common issue. Also, there was a problem of removing their carcasses, but with the invention of motor cars, horses became obsolete.

3. Used Goose Instead of Chimney Sweeps

In Victorian Britain, small children were the chimney sweepers as they could fit in that space. So, people who could not afford these services dropped the live goose down their chimney. It cleans the chimney while coming down and flapping the wings. After Queen Victoria found out that people are breathing in smoky air, she ordered all the chimneys to be cleaned regularly. This is how the phrase “the blacker the goose, the cleaner the flue” started.

4. Photograph With the Deceased

In Victorian Era, paintings were slow and expensive as compared to the photographs which were quicker and reasonable. Also, child mortality rates were high, so family used to dress the deceased babies in beautiful clothes in a sitting position for family photographs. This made them immortalize.

5. First Fine for Speeding

The first person to be fined for speeding was Walter Arnold in Kent, in 1896 as he was going at a speed of 8 mph in a 2 mph zone. The speed limits were very low back then as compared to now. He was chased by a constable who was on a bicycle for five miles. Also, it was compulsory for one person to walk in front of the vehicle and wave a red flag to alert the pedestrians.

6. Vinegar Valentines

Valentine's Day is to show love by nice gestures like sending gifts or cards. But, in the 1800s, some people used to send the vinegar cards to others. They were the low-quality papers with rude comments and insults about the recipient’s appearance, intelligence, etc. Another interesting point is that the person receiving the letter had to pay the money in those days, instead of the person sending them.

7. Most Common Name-Mary

As per the records collected from census, doctor’s registration, approx one-fourth of the Britain women were named Mary in 1811. It was the first popular name with 82 percent share among the top ten names. Same was the case with the name John.

8. Tax on Beard

In the 16th century, King Henry VIII imposed the tax on beards which differed according to the social status of the man. His daughter Elizabeth I, reintroduced the tax on the man with more than two weeks old beard. A copper or silver token was given to the person who paid tax, and who failed to do so was shaved publicly.

These were some amazing and fun facts about the history of the UK. We hope you enjoyed reading the blog, and it helped you to know your country better. Keep looking forward to some more interesting blogs.

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