Vaguely Interesting Snippets | 29 January 2013
  • The Kop is a colloquial name for a number of football stands at stadia across the country. It is a contraction of ‘Spion Kop’, in commemoration of a famous battle in the Boer War. The steep terraces were said to evoke the hill near Ladysmith in South Africa that was the scene of the Battle of Spion Kop in January 1900. Arsenal’s Manor Ground in Plumstead may have been the first to have such a stand, as a local journalist likened the silhouette of fans standing on a newly-raised bank of earth to soldiers standing atop the hill at the Battle of Spion Kop.
  • In 1954, the royal cipher on Scottish postboxes was replaced with the Scottish crown. Campaigners had argued that the inscription ‘E II R’ was unacceptable because Elizabeth I had not reigned over Scotland.
  • Sir David Attenborough is not only a national treasure, he is a national repository of honorary degrees from British universities. Over his long career, he has picked up at least 31 – more than any other individual in the UK. His awards include degrees from Oxford, Cambridge, Queen’s University, Belfast, St Andrews and the Open University. Close behind is Baroness Helena Kennedy QC with just under 30 honorary degrees.