Everyone loves the kind of person who always contributes a piece of trivia fact about this, that or the other every so often, and you know what? The historic City of London is a goldmine for anyone looking to impress their friends with these scrumptious nuggets of knowledge. Let’s have a look at some of the Square Mile’s fun and quirky facts that we have picked up along the way.Firstly, just for the sake of clarification the Square Mile is what most Londoners refer to as The City and comprises an area of 1.05-1.12 sq mi, stretching west from just around the Royal Courts of Justice to east and the middle of Aldgate High Street, south to the Thames and north to just below Old Street.

1 – The Square Mile is home to just around 7,400 residents but during the weekday the number booms to over 400,000 workers giving ample opportunity for the curious to sleuth out the hidden histories of the City.
Gherkin city of london
2 – Now, everyone knows the Gherkin (which you may or may not be familiar with by some less proper name) and its dominant role in London’s skyline. What you perhaps may not know, however, is that during preparations of its construction in 1995, an archaeological investigation and subsequent excavation of the building’s location lead to the finding of the bones of a Roman girl from way back when. And that is truly all the way back when, to around 1,600 years ago, somewhere in the range of 350 – 400 AD when London was the Roman city of Londinium. The remains of the girl were held at the Museum of London during the construction of the Gherkin, only to be returned to its original location 12 years later. In honour of this special event, a service was held at Aldgate’s Botolph Church and accompanying music reminiscent of the times. You can visit her memorial site alongside the Gherkin on Bury Street.

Roman girl memorial gherkin

3 – In Exchange Alley, another nook of the City, you can find a plaque commemorating Jonathan’s Coffeehouse, one of two coffeehouses (Garraway’s is the other) in the same alley which saw the birth of many institutions as they both became hubs of the trading of shares and commodities, rather an early-day London Stock Exchange. You can learn more about this and other historical nuggets on Matthew Green’s lively and interesting Coffeehouse Audio Tour.

4 – Everyone loves a secret passageway, it has to be said. Fleet Street – which extends along a good stretch of the Square Mile – provides, as many nooks and crannies of London admittedly do, narrow courtyards and pathways into the never-ending histories of London. Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a pub, known to many but also pleasantly tucked away on Wine Office Court just off Fleet Street. What you might not know is that the now subterranean River Fleet still runs, in fact, all the way from Hampstead Heath, under the cellars of Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese and out into the Thames at Blackfriars.