The Quirky Side to Kaplan Destinations
The UK is well known for its vibrant, varied culture and vast history, but under the surface you’ll find a host of unique oddities scattered throughout the land. We did a bit of digging and found out that some of these strange and unusual places happen to be in some of the locations that house our schools. So we complied a list of locations from our English schools, exposing some of their more quirky sides for anyone looking to discover the weird history of the UK.
Do you ever feel someone is trying to ‘stick their nose’ in your business? Well, the London noses certainly do. A unique artistic installation of noses can be found on random buildings throughout the east part of London, created by artist Rick Buckley as a protest against CCTV in 1997. The most famous nose is the pink one on Admiralty Arch, which is said to be a spare for Nelson in Trafalgar Square, or a tribute to the Duke of Wellington, famous for his rather large nose. With so much art and culture to be explored around ever corner of this bustling city, why not come see it for yourself while learning English at Kaplan Covent Garden.
Cemeteries can be a little creepy and fascinatingly nostalgic, but the Victorian cemetery situated in Hyde Park is a little peculiar. The first burial back in the 1880s was Cherry, the pet terrier of Mr and Mrs Bernard. This started a short-lived fashion where wealthy Londoners would have their favourite furry friend buried appropriately with a coffin, head stone and funeral service; this was until the little area ran out of space in 1915 after 300 burials.
Ever wondered where J. K. Rowling found her muse for the Harry Potter books? Edinburgh, the historical, hilly Scottish capital, is where you can find the real grave of Thomas Riddell, in Greyfriars Kirkyard. Rumour has it that this gravestone inspired Rowling when naming the evil Lord Voldemort for her beloved book series. While Rowling’s spelling (Tom Riddle) is somewhat different, it is well-known to locals that she did a lot of writing at a nearby café and would likely have seen the stone – plus the spelling change allows for the anagram I am Lord Voldemort from Tom Marvolo Riddle! Interested in seeing more of Scotland? Why not learn English with Kaplan in Edinburgh.
Within Manchester is a city proud of its creation of the earliest modern computers and also, of course, of its enormous football-driven popularity. Adding to the city’s football charm, in 2011 Fulham Football Club’s owner Mohamed Al Fayed, a close friend to Michael Jackson, decided to commemorate the time Jackson came to watch a game back in 1999 by having a plaster statue of the King of Pop placed outside the stadium. The gesture from Fayed was ridiculed by the public, and the statue was removed and placed in the Manchester Football Museum in 2013. In that same year, rival Manchester City FC gained more success than ever before and Fulham was demoted to a lower league. Fayed strongly believes the Jackson statue was a good luck charm, and the Fulham FC fans want it back desperately.
Many people associate the historic maritime and port city of Liverpool with its most famous exports – the Beatles. What many people don’t know, however, is the story of one of their most famous songs. Behind the twisted iron ruby gates of Strawberry Field was a Salvation Army home for young orphaned children, which was surrounded by thick woodland that backed onto John Lennon’s childhood home on Menlove Avenue. This quiet field, full of graffiti and often empty these days, is the inspiration of one of the most famous songs of all time, written by John Lennon himself reminiscing about his childhood playing in the Strawberry Fields. Avid Beatles fans should also check out Penny Lane! Life in this city is ideal for music fans and explorers alike, so maybe our English school in Liverpool is the right fit for you.
Although Bournemouth is most famous for its 7 hours of daily sunshine in the summer and 7 miles of stunning beaches, it can also be known as the site of an incident that almost changed world history! Winston Churchill nearly died in Bournemouth (and not because of the 6 cigars a day he famously smoked), which would have drastically impacted the course of World War II. In 1892, a very young and adventurous Winston Churchill fell 29 feet from a bridge in Bournemouth and was unconscious for 3 days, with injuries that left him stuck in a hospital bed for 3 months! Luckily, he pulled through, and in 1940 would become one of the most famous British Prime Ministers of history.
You might know Torquay for its traditional British charm and harbour setting, but you can also thank it for the Eurovision Song Contest! In 1948, Torquay hosted and televised the sailing events of the Olympic games based in London, catching eyes from countries across the globe. In 1950, a group of television producers from all over Europe chose Torquay to host a conference following the success of the Olympics. They sat together with cream tea in the Imperial Hotel, where they had the idea for a singing competition. And so, there in the little seaside town of Torquay, the Eurovision Song Contest was born. It’s up to you whether you’re grateful for them or not! And that's not all this beautiful coastal city has to offer. Come see for yourself and find out how quickly you can learn English at our Torquay school.
Bath, the home of gorgeous Georgian architecture and Roman baths, is the famous home of author Jane Austen, but what isn’t quite so famously known is that her aunt, who lived at No.1 The Paragon, was arrested for eight months after being accused of shoplifting. Bath may be very proud of being Jane Austen’s home, but it’s also the city that inspired Mary Shelley to finish writing the ingenious Frankenstein. Hopefully her inspiration wasn’t seeing a Frankenstein-like figure running round the Royal Crescent!
These are some of our favourite lesser-known corners and anecdotes of our Kaplan cities. Have any stories of your own you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments!