We all know London has a rich history dating back hundreds of years. Millions of people flock to the city to see its most well-known sites and museums, but not all the things you will hear about the capital are true. So we have put our investigator’s cap on to analyse some of the biggest urban legends associated with London.
1. Pigs live in the sewers
Yup, not rats, pigs! This rumour dates back centuries and no one is quite sure where it came from. The city’s terrible pollution levels at the time probably played a part in the scaremongering, but there was never any evidence of vicious “black swine” under the streets of London. When brick main sewers were introduced, the speculation started to fade away, but many Londoners still talk about this bizarre tale.
2. Big Ben isn’t actually called Big Ben
Big Ben is one of the icons of London, but have we been calling it the wrong name for years? In fact, we have. The tower featuring the timepiece was changed from the Clock Tower to the Elizabeth Tower to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 2012 and Big Ben is actually the nickname for the Great Bell inside the structure. So, there you go – Big Ben isn’t exactly wrong, but this is certainly one to remember for your next pub quiz.
3. You are always six feet from a rat
London arguably has the most historic sewers of all time and they have been the inspiration for many novels and films over the years, but rumour has it that they are overpopulated with vermin. Apparently, the city has so many rats that visitors are always just six feet away from one of them. You’ll be happy to hear this is not true. An investigation by Professor Rob Smith from the University of Huddersfield, reported by the BBC, estimates that people are more likely to be around 164 feet away from a rat. We can all breathe more easily safe in this knowledge.
4. The cemeteries are haunted
London’s long history means there have always been rumours of haunted graveyards, which have helped to give the city a reputation as one of the spookiest cities in the world. So much so, there are several ghost tours for tourists to take part in if you like a bit of a fright. Around the 1960s, there was a lot of speculation about ghosts. The Highgate Cemetery has been the site for many paranormal tales over the years, but there has been no proof of any encounters with the dead. However, it’s up to you whether you want to test this myth out for yourself!
5. You will always have a doppelganger in London
Over the years, the capital has gained a reputation for having many doppelgangers. In fact, some people have claimed that everyone will find someone who looks similar to them in the city. Before we consider London as being some unique parallel universe, it’s important to look at the facts. With millions of residents, it is unsurprising that some people will look similar. It’s safe to say we can simply dismiss this myth as being a number of amusing look-alikes.