Our book of the month for August is Everything You Know About London is Wrong, the perfect book for those flocking to visit London this summer. The book is filled with lots of wonderful facts and debunks many long held myths, so it is worth true Londoners reading it as well!

Everything You Know About London is Wrong

The book is divided into ten sections, each addressing a different area of information, such as myths for visitors, landmark lies and tourist-trap trivia. Each section deals with a selection of common mistakes people make about London and provides the truth behind them. It is amazing to see how many statements which are thought of as common knowledge are actually the results of rumours and whispers rather than historical fact. The idea that the Great Fire of London brought about the end of the Great Plague that had been raging through the country has been frequently suggested as fact; in this book further research shows that the Great Plague was already easing off before the fire ever started.

As well as debunking myths the book also provides wonderful pieces of trivia that you may never have learned otherwise, such as the London A-Z containing deliberate mistakes so publishers can spot if someone has copied their version of the map. In the spirit of the book we thought we would share some interesting facts about visiting Westminster Abbey that you might not have heard:

 Westminster Abbey had the oldest door in Britain

The old door on the right hand side as you go into the Chapter House has been found to be nearly a thousand years old. The door would have probably been put in place as part of the construction of the church built on this site by St Edward the Confessor. 

Cosmati Pavement

The Cosmati Pavement predicts the end of the world

Within the complex design of the Cosmati pavement, which sits in front of Westminster Abbey’s High Altar, there are inscriptions formed of brass letters. Although they are somewhat damaged now, they have been translated from Latin to show that they calculate that the world will last for 19,983 years. 

Westminster Abbey’s College Garden is one of the oldest gardens in Britain

College Garden has been in cultivation for over 900 years and was originally the infirmary garden for the monks that lived at the Abbey. It is only open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays so be sure to plan your visit accordingly if you wish to see this beautiful space. 

Bicci di Lorenzo Triptych

Westminster Abbey has a wonderful art collection

Although many people visiting will expect the beauty of Westminster Abbey to lie in its incredible architectural details, there are in fact several beautiful works of art to enjoy as well. The magnificent portrait of Richard II near the Great West Door is one of the most obvious examples but visitors should also look for Vivarini’s Mother and Child which hangs at the altar of the Lady Chapel. More of the Abbey’s treasured art collection will be available to view when the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries open next year.

 To find out more about the Abbey’s many hidden treasures, you can purchase Treasures of Westminster Abbey.