Nelson, Washington, cock fighting, and a giant blue… bird

This day in London history: on 30 November 1966 Barbados, the only island in the Caribbean to have remained British throughout the colonial period, gained its independence.

Barbados was also the only place in the world, outside of North America, that George Washington visited, and Bush Hill House the only house that he lived in outside of the continental US.

Cockspur Street signOne of London’s most famous landmarks, Trafalgar Square with its statue of Nelson, was pre-dated by a statue to Nelson in the centre of Bridgetown, Barbados’s capital. The bronze statue in Bridgetown’s Trafalgar Square (officially renamed National Heroes Square in April 1999) was erected on 22 March 1813. The statue in London was constructed between 1840 and 1843

By a strange quirk of fate, there is a Cockspur Street just off Trafalgar Square in London, and one of the world’s finest rums is Cockspur Rum, made in Barbados. The brand uses a cockerel as its emblem.

Cockspur Street is one of many London streets whose name reflects the old ‘sport’ of cock fighting. The spurs with which the birds were equipped to ensure even greater flow of blood, were made and sold in this street.

On 25 July 2013 the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, unveiled a giant blue cockerel that adorned the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, and managed, according to reports at the time, to avoid the obvious verbal trap by referring to the new giant blue… bird.

The big blue… bird in Trafalgar Square