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Seven things you probably didn't know about Rochester

Whilst every man and his dog is familiar with Charles Dickens' connections to Rochester, here are some lesser known facts you probably weren't previously aware of:

1. 007 drives along the A2 from Strood to Chatham in the 1959 James Bond novel Goldfinger. Ian Fleming even mentions the "inevitable traffic jams" on the Strood side.

2. The Royal Victoria and Bull Hotel has an interesting name origin. Initially just called 'The Bull', the pub was popular amongst workman but after a storm stuck in 1836, Princess Victoria was forced to stay during a storm. The pub changed its name in response to the royal stay thereafter and has been known as the Royal Victoria & Bull Hotel ever since.

It was discovered later on in her diary that the Queen-to-be thought it was the most uncomfortable bed she had ever slept in.

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3. Rochester is home to the second oldest school in the world. The King's School, based in the Rochester Cathedral, started in 604 AD and has been continuously operating ever since. It's called The King's School because King Henry VIII refounded it in 1541.

4. The War Game, a BBC television programme in 1965 is set in Rochester. The Academy Award-winning drama by Peter Watkins shows the shocking consequences of a nuclear attack on Britain and the opening sequence was filmed in Chatham Town Hall.

5. Rochester stopped being a city in 1998. From 1211 to 1998, Rochester was known as a city yet went amiss in 2002 on the Lord Chancellor's 'list of UK cities' where a local group spotted its disappearance. Although the town has a cathedral, the only way for it to regain its city status is an honour granted by the Queen. A petition was launched in 2008 to no avail.

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6. Model and actress Kelly Brook attended the Delce Junior School. The world-famous star later attending the Thomas Aveling School too.

7. The 2011 film Ironclad tells the story of the siege of Rochester Castle in 1215. The film had a budget of $25 million allowing them to build a replica of the castle in a studio set and shoot the entire film in Wales!


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