Late in March 1860 numerous people throughout London received the following invitation:
"Tower of London—Admit Bearer and Friend to view annual ceremony of Washing the White Lions on Sunday, April 1, 1860. Admittance only at White Gate. It is particularly requested that no gratuities be given to wardens or attendants."
By twelve o’clock on April 1st a large crowd had gathered outside the tower. However, no lions had been kept in the tower for decades, so the people went home disappointed. This prank had a very long pedigree. An instance of it was recorded as far back as 1698
. For decades, it had been regularly perpetrated (on a smaller scale) upon unsuspecting out-of-towners. (See article: Washing the Lions