The greatest social prank of the 19th Century occurred when a frivolous young man named Theodore Hook randomly pointed to a house and bet his best friend, Sam Beazley, he could make it the most famous address in London in one week.
On 27th November at 5am the doorbell rang at no. 54 Berners Street and so began the most elaborate hoax in London’s history. Chimney sweeps, fishmongers, bakers, butchers, shoemakers, cake makers, undertakers, doctors, lawyers, priests, musicians, cobblers, dressmakers, The Archbishop of Canterbury and even THE LORD MAYOR OF LONDON are amongst the 4000 people who turned up at Mrs Tottenham’s house that day, bringing London to a standstill, plunging the streets into chaos and leaving the police and all who were summoned in confusion and bewilderment.
And so became the legend that is the Berners Street Hoax.