The Washing of the Lions

As reported in Dawks’s News-Letter the following day, several persons were sent to the Tower Ditch to see the Lions washed. This is the earliest known record of an April Fool's Day prank. The joke was that there were no lions being washed in the Ditch of the Tower of London. It was a fool's errand. For well over a century after this, the prank of sending unsuspecting victims to see the "washing of the lions" at the Tower of London remained a favorite April Fool's Day joke. In the mid-nineteenth century, pranksters even printed up official-looking tickets that they distributed around London on April first, promising admittance to the annual lion-washing ceremony.