Interesting Facts

This is what makes the net great, you follow a link to a page with more links, you follow those and somehow you stumble across something

First up is that the pound sign (£) is actually a stylised L from the word Libra, which is Latin for… you guessed it — pound. Incidentally, it also explains why the symbol for pounds is lb.

Next, the current level of land open for public access in the UK is 7%, which sounds awfully low, although it equates to roughly 10571 sq km or 1.6 million football pitches. Only about 10% of the UK’s landmass is urbanised, most of the rest is dedicated to agriculture, forestry, etc, with nearly three quarters being used for food production. The Environment Agency puts the figures at:

  • 26% covered by grassland (pasture, meadow and amenity)
  • 33% tilled for crops
  • 11% woodland
  • 10% urban and suburban
  • 19% semi-natural vegetation (uncultivated areas such as rough grass, marsh and moorland)

Only 8.5% of England and 13.8% of Wales are covered in forest, compared with a European average of 33%, and urban land use is expected to increase to 12% by 2016.

Last, the Bank of England has more floor space underground than there is available in the tallest building in London. It was also the world’s first purposed built bank when the current building was opened in 1734. The bank says it stores 400 tonnes of UK government gold bullion in its vaults. The article also says that each bar of gold weighs 13 kg and is worth £158,000. So, 400 tonnes equates to (assuming my maths is right) roughly £4,861,538,461.