London Oddities # 3: Queen Caroline's Sunken Bath
Queen Caroline was the Princess Di of her day - married to her unfaithful husband King George IV. When he decided to leave her the decision made him very unpopular throughout the kingdom. Caroline was already a Brunswick Princess before marrying George; it is said the marriage was arranged to pay large gambling debts. Caroline first arrived in England in 1795. George was shocked to see that she was no oil painting. She gave birth to a daughter in 1796 by which time George was back to his old ways of having mistresses. Caroline moved from the Royal Palace to Montague House on Blackheath in 1797, doing the same as her husband by having orgies and suchlike. In the August of 1804, she decided to leave England for good and live in exile abroad - which is what George had been waiting for. So as to have no reminder of his wife's pleasurable parties he ordered the demolition of Montague House saying he wanted it razed to the ground. Obeying his wish the house was demolished, though the bits beneath the ground were overlooked. It was not until 1909 that the sunken bath was discovered. It can still be seen inside Greenwich Park along the Eastern Wall near the Charlton way entrance.
London Oddities # 4: The Coade's Lion
As you cross Westminster Bridge going south outside what was once County Hall (now the Marriott Hotel), you will notice a friendly lion with a smiling face known as the Coade Lion. Mrs Eleanor Coade made it at her stonework's factory that once stood where the London Eye stands today. Lots of stone works were produced from here and are to be seen all over London. The beauty of this stone is it never ages or discolours. Like all good mysteries, nobody knows the secret of how the stone was made - the secret of which died with Eleanor Coade, who lies buried at St Mary's Church Lambeth.
London Oddities # 5: Crocker's Folly
Entrance to where the station should have been opposite the pub.
As they were building the underground for the new Metro line, a strong rumour was making the rounds - a new station was going to be built in Aberdeen Place St John's Wood. This would service the Middlesex Cricket Club at Lords. To get ahead of the game, Mr Crocker had a hotel built opposite where the station entrance was being cut out. Unfortunately for him the plan was changed by the railway department and the new station was relocated where it still stands today, in the Finchley Road, just a few yards from Lords cricket ground. Of course this meant no passing trade was coming by Crocker's new hotel, all his money spent on this venture was fast disappearing. Poor Mr Crocker in deep desperation took his own life by jumping from the top floor window. The hotel, a public house in our picture and aptly named Crocker's Folly, sadly now stands empty.
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