London is full to the brim with creative minds, minds that we would be completely and utterly lost without. Seriously, how on earth would we cope if somebody hadn’t thought to make garibaldis and christmas crackers? Huh? HUH?
1. Garibaldi Biscuits
Lovingly known as the squashed fly biscuit, the garibaldi is an absolute classic. It’s named the garibaldi because us Brits were quite fond of an Italian bloke called Giuseppe Garibaldi — the man who fought for a united Italy. He came over to visit once and made quite a good impression so, naturally, we named a biscuit after him. Despite the Italian name, it was invented in a biscuit factory over in Bermondsey called Peek Freans. The same factory also invented the Bourbon biscuit in 1910.
2. Cash Machines
The cash machine was invented by a man named John Shepherd-Barron, who claimed his idea came from chocolate vending machines. The first ATM was installed outside a Barclays branch in Enfield in 1967.
3. Scotch Eggs
You would reasonably assume that the Scotch egg was a Scottish invention, right? Well, you’re wrong. The first Scotch egg was actually made by department store Fortnum & Mason in 1738 (or so they claim).
4. Christmas Crackers
London is to blame for many modern Christmas traditions — we sent the first Christmas cards in 1843 and we cracked the Christmas cracker in 1847. The idea for the modern day cracker was thought up by a sweet seller called Tom Smith, who was inspired by bon bons wrapped in a twist of tissue paper when on a visit to Paris. He took his time developing the idea and eventually arrived at the cracker that we see today — paper hats and terrible jokes and all!
5. Cornish Pasties
Despite their very misleading name, Cornish pasties were actually created by middle class Londoners in the Victorian times. In fact, pasties that were made in Cornwall were almost entirely meat free, whereas the Cornish pasties that we all know and love are markedly meaty.
6. Two-Ply Toilet Paper
Ahh the luxury of soft toilet paper! We have St. Andrew’s Paper Mill in Walthamstow to thank for that. While the world was at war, this lot were working their bums off for the comfort of our bums. Before 1942, many brands were single-ply and people had absolutely NO idea what they were missing.