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THE MAGIC OF LONDON - Historical buildings, Climate, Transport


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Table of contents


An introductory note

City of London

London. Historical buildings

3.1 Nelsons Column, since 1843

The National Gallery

Saint Jamess Park

3.4 Buckingham Palace

3.5 The palace of Westminster

3.6 Houses of Parliament

3.7 Westminster Abbey

The Tate

3.9 Picaddily Circus

3.10 Oxford

3.11 Cambridge

The tower of London

3.13 The Royal Court Theater

3.14 Windsor palace

Other important edifices

4 Topography

5 Climate

6 Districts


8. The History Of London

8.1 Early London

8.2 Norman and medieval London

8.3 Rise of modern London


9.1 Railways

9.2 Busses

9.3 Air





Since my early childhood i have been fascinated by travelling and foreign cultures.I remeber asking my mother to buy maps and travelling guides,my most prized possesion was an atlas.The graphic was amazing such vivid colors it still exists in my collection.I recieved it on my 8th birthday and from that moment on I started reading it with great interest.It had historical and cultural details,a wonderful paper.As i was reading it i stumbled across England and the city of London.I begun reading and I felt odly drawn to it..i needed to learn more.And so i begun my research which hasent ended to this day.

I have synthetized most of the information I have gathered and the result was this paper.

It consists of ten chapters which deal with the presentation of ceratin historycal buildings such as The Big Ben, Picaddily Circus,Buchkingam Palace etc.It also deals with the toponomy of the city.

Continuing I presented climat,I disscused about districs and etymology.

After dealing with those aspects I started analysing the history of this great city,and continued by presenting the means of transportation.I finished my paper by disscusing education

London is one of the most important culturaly speaking capitaly of Europe

1. An introductory note

London is the largest urban area and capital of England and the United Kingdom. At its core, the ancient City of London, to which the name historically belongs, still retains its limited mediaeval boundaries; but since at least the 19th century the name 'London' has also referred to the whole metropolis which has developed around it. Today the bulk of this conurbation forms the London region of England and the Greater London administrative area, with its own elected mayor and assembly.

An important settlement for two millennia, London's history goes back to its founding by the Romans. Since its settlement, London has been the centre of many important movements and phenomena throughout history such as the English Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, and the Gothic Revival. In light of this, the city has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world which has increased over the years due to the city's economic growth. London boasts four World Heritage Sites; these are Palace of Westminster, the Tower of London, the historic settlement of Greenwich, and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. It is one of the world's leading business financial, and cultural centers, and its influence in politics education entertainment media fashion and the arts all contribute to its status as a major global city.London has an official population of 7,512,400 (as of mid-2006) within the boundaries of Greater London and is the most populous municipality in the European Union. The urban area of London extends beyond the limits of Greater London and has a population of 8,278,251 (as of 2001). The metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of between 12 and 14 million. London's diverse population draws from a wide range of peoples, cultures, and religions, and over 300 different languages are spoken within the city. It is an international transport hub, with five major international airports serving the area and a large port. It serves as the largest aviation hub in the world, and the multi-terminal Heathrow Airport carries more international passengers than any other airport in the world

2. City of London

With a population of just under eight million, and stretching more than thirty miles at its broadest point, London is by far the largest city in Europe. It is also far more diffuse than the great cities of the Continent, such as Rome or Paris. The majority of the Londons sights are situated to the north of the River Thames, which loops through the centre of the city from west to east, but there is no single predominant focus of interest, for London has grown not through centralized planning but by a process of agglomeration - villages and urban developments that once surrounded the core are now lost within the amorphous mass of Great London. Thus Londons highlights are widely spread, and visitors should make mastering the public transport system, particularly the Underground (tube), a top priority. One of the few areas of London witch is manageable on foot is Westminster and Whitehall, the citys royal, political and ecclesiastical power base for several hundred years. Its here youll find the National Gallery and the adjacent National Portrait Gallery, and a host of other London landmarks: Buckingham Palace, Nelsons Column, Downing Street, the House of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. From Westminster its a manageable walk upriver to the Tate Gallery, repository of the nations largest collection of modern art as well as the main assemblage of British art. The grand streets and squares of Piccadilly, St Jamess, Mayfair and Marylebone, to the north of Westminster, have been the playground of the rich since the Restoration, and now contain the citys busiest shopping zones: Piccadilly itself, Bond Street, Regent Street and, most frenetic of the lot, Oxford Street.

East of Piccadilly Circus, Soho and Covent Garden form the heart of the West End entertainment district, where youll find the largest concentration of theatres, cinemas, clubs, flashy shops, cafes and restaurants. Adjoining Covent Garden to the north, the university quarter of Bloomsbury is the traditional home of the publishing industry and location of the British Museum, a stupendous treasure house that attracts more than five million tourists a year. Welding the West End to the financial district, The Strand, Holborn and Clerkenwell are little-visited areas, but offer some of central Londons most surprising treats, among them the eccentric Sir John Soanes Museum and the secluded quadrangles of the Inns of Court.

A couple of miles downstream from Westminster, The City the City of London, to give it its full title is at one and the same time the most ancient and the most modern part of London. Settled since Roman times, it became the commercial and residential heart of medieval London, with its own Lord Mayor and its own peculiar form of local government, both of which survive, with considerable pageantry, to this day. The Great Fire of 1666 obliterated most of the City, and the resident population has dwindled to insignificance, yet this remains one of the great financial centers of the world ranking just below New York and Tokyo. The Citys most prominent landmarks nowadays are the hi-tech offices of the legions of banks and insurance companies, but the Square Mile boasts its share of historic sights, notably the Tower of London and a fine cache of Wren churches that includes the mighty St Pauls Cathedral.

The East End and Docklands, to the east of the City, are equally notorious, but in entirely different ways. Impoverished and working-class, the East End is not conventional tourist territory, but to ignore it is to miss out the crucial element of the real, multi-ethnic London. With its abandoned warehouses converted into overpriced apartment blocks for the citys upwardly mobile, Docklands is the corner of the down-at-heel East End, with the Canary Wharf tower, the countrys tallest building, epitomizing the pretensions of the Thatcherite dream.

Lambeth and Southwark comprise the small slice of central London that lies south of the Thames. The South Bank Centre, Londons little-loved concrete culture bunker, is the most obvious starting point, while Southwark, the citys low-life district from Roman times to the eighteen century, is less known, except to the gore-addicts who queue up for the London Dungeon.

In the districts Hyde Park, Kensington and Chelsea youll find the largest park in Central London, a segment of greenery which separates wealthy West London from the city centre. The museums of South Kensington the Victoria & Albert Museum, Science Museum and Natural History Museum are a must, and if you have shopping on your London agenda you may well want to investigate the hive of plush stores in the vicinity of Harrods, superstore to the upper echelons.

Some of the most appealing parts of North London are clustered around Regents Canal, which skirts Regents Park and serves as the focus for the capitals trendiest weekend market, around Camden Lock. Further out, in the chic literary suburbs of Hampstead and Highgate, there are unbeatable views across the city from half-wild Hampstead Heath, the favorite parkland of thousands of Londoners. The glory of Southeast London is Greenwich, with its nautical associations, royal park and observatory. Finally, there are plenty of rewarding day trips along the Thames from Chiswick to Windsor, a region in which the royalty and aristocracy have traditionally built their homes, the most famous being Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Palace.

3. London. Historical buildings

Political, religious and regal power has emanated from Westminster and Whitehall for almost a millennium. It was Edward the Confessor who established Westminster as London s royal and ecclesiastical power base, some three miles west of the real, commercial City of London. In the nineteenth century, Whitehall became the heart of the Empire, its ministries ruling over a quarter of the worlds populations.

The monuments and buildings from this region include some of Londons most famous landmarks Nelsons Column, Big Ben and the House of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace, plus the citys two finest permanent art collections, The National Gallery and the Tate Gallery. This is a well-trodden tourist circuit for the most part - hence the councils decision to reinstate the old red phone boxes with few shops or cafes and little street life to distract you, but its also one of the easiest parts of London to walk round, with all the major sights within a mere half-mile of each other, linked by two of Londons most triumphant avenues, Whitehall and The Mall.

Despite being little more than a glorified, sunken traffic island, infested with scruffy urban pigeons, Trafalgar Square is still one of the Londons grandest architectural set-pieces. Londons Trafalgar Square, the citys official center, features some of Englands most treasured historic monuments. The square was laid out between 1829 and 1841 on the site of the old royal stables and is lined on its northern side by the National Gallery. The gallery, begun in 1824, boasts one of the finest art collections in the world, with work from every major western artist from the 15th through the 19th centuries. The squares dominating landmark is a pedestal supporting a statue of Lord Nelson, the British naval hero who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Trafalgar in Spain, in 1805. Trafalgar Square is the location for festivities at Christmas Eve, New Year, and other major public occasions.

3.1 Nelsons Column, since 1843

Nelsons Column, raised in 1843 and now one of the Londons best-loved monuments, commemorates the one-armed, one-eyed admiral who defeated Napoleon, but paid for it with his life. The statue which surmounts the granite column is triple life-size but still manages to appear minuscule, and is coated in anti-pigeon gel to try to stem the build-up of guano. The acanthus leaves of the capital are cast from British cannon, while bas-reliefs around the base are from captured French armaments. Edwin Landseers four gargantuan bronze lions guard the column and provide a climbing frame for kids to clamber over. If you can, get here before the crowds and watch the pigeons take to the air as Edwin Lutyensfountains jet into action at 9am.

Keeping Nelson company at ground level, on either sides of the column, are bronze statues of Napier and Havelock, Victorian major-generals who helped keep India British; against the north wall are busts of Beatty, Jellicoe and Cunningham, more recent military leaders. In the northeast corner of the square, is an equestrian statue of George IV, which he himself commissioned for the top of Marble Arc, over at the northeast corner of Hyde Park, but which was later erected here temporarily; the corresponding pedestal in the northwest corner was earmarked for William IV, but remains empty.Taking up the entire north side of Trafalgar Square, the vast but dull Neoclassical hulk of the National Gallery houses one of the worlds greatest art collections. Unlike the Louvre or the Hermitage, the National Gallery is not based on a former royal collection, but was begun as late as 1824 when the government reluctantly agreed to purchase 38 paintings belonging to a Russian migr banker, John Julius Angerstein.

The National Gallery

The gallery hundred and seventy years of canny acquisition has produced a collection of more than 2200 paintings, but the collections virtue is not so much its size, but the range, depth and sheer quality of its contents. The National Gallerys original collections was put on public display at Angerteins old residence at 100 Pall Mall, until this purpose-built building on Trafalgar Square was completed in 1838.

Around the east side of the National Gallery lurks the National Portrait Gallery, which was founded in 1856 to house uplifting depictions of the good and the great. Through it has some fine works among its collection of 10,000 portraits, many of the studies are of less interest than their subjects, and the overall impression is of an overstuffed shrine to famous British rather than a museum offering any insight into the history of portraiture. However, it is fascinating to trace who has been deemed worthy of admiration at any moment: warmongers and imperialists in the early decades of this century, writers and poets in the 1930s and 40s, and, latterly, retired footballers and pop stars. The special exhibitions, too, are well worth seeing and the photography shows, in particular, are often excellent.

3.3 Saint Jamess Park

St Jamess Park, on the south side of The Mall, is the oldest of the royal parks, having been drained for hunting purpose by Henry VII and opened to the public by Charles II, who used to stroll through the grounds with his mistresses, and even take a dip in the canal. By the eighteenth century, when some 6500 people had access to night keys for the gates, the park had become something of a byword for prostitution. The park was finally landscaped by Nash into its present elegant appearance in 1828, in a style that established the trend for Victorian city parks.

Today the pretty tree-lined lake is a favorite picnic spot for the civil servants of Whitehall and an inner-city reserve for wildfowl. James Is two crocodiles have left no descendants, but the pelicans can still be seen by the lake, and there ducks and Canada geese aplenty. From the bridge across the lake theres a fine view over Westminster and the jumble of domes and pinnacles along Whitehall. Even the dull faade of Buckingham Palace looks majestic from here.

3.4 Buckingham Palace

Changing the guards

The graceless colossus of Buckingham Palace, popularly known as Buck House, has served as the monarchs permanent London residence only since the accession of Victoria. It began its days in 1702 as the Duke of Buckinghams city residence, built on the site of a notorious brothel, and was sold by the dukes son to George III in 1762. The building was overhauled for the Prince Regent in the late 1820s by Nash, and again by Aston Webb in time for George Vs coronation in 1913, producing a palace thats about as bland as its possible to be.

For ten months of the year theres little to do here, with the Queen in residence and the palace closed to visitors not that this deters the crowds who mill around the railings all day, and gather in some force to watch the changing of the guard, in which a detachment of the Queens Foot Guards marches to appropriate martial music from St Jamess Palace (unless it rains).

3.5 The palace of Westminster

The palace of Westminster, better known as the Houses of Parliament, is Londons best-known monument. The mother of all parliaments and the worlds largest building or it was claimed at that time- it is also the citys finest Victorian building, the symbol of a nation once confident of its place at the centre of the world. Best viewed from the south side of the river, where the likes of Monet and Turner set up their easels, the building is distinguished above all by the ornate, gilded clock tower popularly known as Big Ben, which is at its most impressive at night when the clock-face is lit up.

The original Westminster Palace was built by Edward the Confessor in the first half of the eleventh century, so that he could watch over the building of his abbey. It then served as the seat of all the English monarchs until a fire forced Henry VIII to decamp to Whitehall. The Lords have always convened at the palace, but it was only following Henrys death that the House of Commons moved from the abbeys Chapter House into the palaces St Stephens Chapel, thus beginning the buildings associations with the parliament

3.6 Houses of Parliament

Westminster Hall - virtually the only relic of the medieval palace is the bare expanse of Westminster Hall, on the north side of the complex. First built by William Rufus in 1099, it was saved from the 1834 fire by the timely intervention of the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, who had the fire engines brought into the hall itself, and personally took charge of the fire fighting. The sheer scale of the hall 240 ft by 60 ft and its huge oak hammerbeam roof, added by Richard II in the late fourteenth century, make it one of the most magnificent secular halls in Europe.

St Stephens Hall and the Central Lobby - from Stephens Porch the route to the parliamentary chambers passes into St Stephens Hall, designed by Barry as a replica of the chapel built by Edward I, where the Commons met for nearly 300 years until 1834. The ersatz vaulted ceilings, faded murals statuary and huge wooden doors create a rather sterile atmosphere doing nothing to conjure up the dramatic events that have unfolded here. Shortly after wards the Civil War began, and no monarch has entered the Commons since St Stephens also witnessed the only assassination of a Prime Minister, when in 1812 Spencer Perceval was shot by a merchant whose business had been ruined by the Napoleonic wars. After a further wait the door keeper shepherds you through the bust link, octagonal Central Lobby, where constituents lobby their MPs. In the tilling of the lobby Pugin inscribed in Latin the motto : Except the Lord keep the house, they labor in vain that build it.

3.7 Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is the oldest and most famous of the great churches of London. There has been a place of worship on its site since the seventh century when, according to legend, Saint Peter consecrated a church that had been founded in his name. The present structure is the result of rebuilding begun by Henry III in 1245, which continued intermittently until 1745. Many British monarchs have been crowned in the Abbey since the coronation of Harold II in 1066, and the church holds the tombs of many kings and queens, including Edward the Confessor; Elizabeth I; Mary, Queen of Scots; and Henry VII. The Abbey also honors poets, politicians, and war heroes, including the 'Unknown Soldier' who fought in World War I.

3.8 The Tate

Founded in 1897 with money from Sir Henry Tate, inventor of the sugar cube, the Tate Gallery does its best to perform a difficult dual function as both the nations chief collections of British art and its primary gallery for international modern art.

The Tate hosts some of Londons best art exhibitions and every autumn sponsors the Turner Prize, the countrys most prestigious modern art prize. In particular, the role of the Saatchis, the advertising magnates who sit on the Tates committee of patrons, has been called into question. Prime movers in the art world, they are in a position to manipulate the art market through the Tate and their own gallery of modern art, thus wielding undue influence over the promotion of certain artists for their own financial benefit.

3.9 Picaddily Circus

Anonymous and congested it may be, but Piccadilly Circus is, for many Londoners, the nearest their city comes to having a centre. A much-altered product of Nashs grand 1812 Regent Street plan, and now a major traffic bottleneck, it is by no means a picturesque place, despite a major clean-up in recent years. Its probably best seen at night when the spread of illuminated signs gives it a touch of Las Vegas dazzle, and when the human traffic flow is at its most frenetic

Although it has declined in popularity today, the tradition of afternoon tea has been a part of English life since the 18th century. The most formal afternoon tea is served at grand hotels, such as the Ritz on London's Piccadilly Circus. Here, thin sandwiches of cucumber, watercress, or smoked salmon are served with a range of teas from China and India, followed by sweet pastries, or scones served with jam and cream. Traditional afternoon tea is also served in quaint country teashops, which are found throughout England

3.10 Oxford

Oxford - The towers and spires of Oxford lure students and travelers from around the world to south central England. Situated near the confluence of the Rivers Thames and Cherwell, this site was settled by Saxon traders in the 10th century. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which logs the countrys history from the beginning of the Christian era, first mentions Oxford in 912.

This historic English city seats the 12th-century University of Oxford, the countrys first university and one of the worlds most esteemed places of learning. Rhodes scholars, outstanding foreign students selected from the Commonwealth of Nations, the United States, South Africa, and Germany, study at the University of Oxford for two years. Today this university enrolls more than 13,000 students and has more than 35 individual colleges.

The heart of Oxford, known as Carfax, derives its name from the Latin quadrifurcua, which means four-forked. This refers to the four points of the compassthe direction of the citys main streets. Walls surrounding ancient Carfax helped the city withstand attacks by the Danes during the 10th and 11th centuries. By the mid-13th century Oxford had become a major educational center, and the university attracted leading scholars and students from throughout Europ

To the north of Oxford Street lies Marylebone, once the outlying village of St Mary-by-the-Bourne. Sights in this part of town include the massively touristed Madame Tussauds and the Planetarium , on Marylebone Street Road, the low-key galleries of the Wallace Collection, and Sherlock Holmesold stamping grounds around Baker Street. There is a pleasure, though, in just wandering the Marylebone streets, especially the village-like quarter around Marylebone High Street See in the picture)

3.11 Cambridge

Cambridge, located on the River Cam north of London, is important as a center of learning and is the seat of the University of Cambridge, one of the great educational institutions of Europe. It is also a market center for the surrounding agricultural region and manufactures electronic equipment and precision instruments.

Cambridge has many outstanding edifices, including the Church of Saint Benet, a 10th-century Saxon structure; the restored Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of the four round Norman churches in England; and the 15th-century Kings College Chapel, one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in Europe. The many museums and galleries here include the Fitzwilliam Museum, featuring both archaeological and art collections.

Cambridge University

The 15th-century Kings College Chapel is one of the grandest buildings in the university town of Cambridge, and possibly all of England. The building, conceived by Henry VI, is spectacular for its high vaulted roof, lofty spires, great buttresses, and magnificent stained-glass windows. Kings College is one of the oldest in the university, dating back to the 1440s. It forms part of the towns main line of colleges, including Queens, Trinity, and Magdalene, through whose landscaped lawns and gardens the picturesque River Cam winds its way. Situated in the heart of London, the royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea is chiefly a residential district and has several fashionable shopping areas, such as Kensington High Street and the King's Road. In the late 17th century, Nottingham House, in Kensington, became a royal residence. It was later remodeled by the architect Sir Christopher Wren and became known as Kensington Palace. The palace is still the residence of the royal family, but it is open to the public.

Also in Kensington are the British Museum; the Victoria and Albert Museum; the Science Museum; the Natural History Museum; the Royal Colleges of Science, Art, and Music; and the Royal Albert Hall. Founded in 1753, the British Museum is one of the world's oldest and most comprehensive museums, with artifacts ranging from Egyptian mummies to Roman treasures.

3.12 The tower of London

The historic fortress known as the Tower of London was built on the remains of Roman fortifications on the north bank of the River Thames. The original tower, known as the White Tower or Keep, is flanked by four turrets and enclosed by two lines of fortifications. It was built about 1078 by Gundulf, bishop of Rochester. The inner fortifications, called the Ballium Wall, have 12 towers, including Bloody Tower, Record or Wakefield Tower, Devereux Tower, and Jewel Tower.

The tower was used as a royal residence as well as for a prison until Elizabethan times. It is now largely a showplace and museum. It holds the crown jewels of England and is one of the countrys greatest tourist attractions. A popular feature is the Yeomen of the Guard, known as Beefeaters, who still wear colorful uniforms of the Tudor period.

The Royal Court Theater

The Royal Court Theater is a landmark of Londons Kensington and Chelsea District, a center for the citys artistic and cultural set. The Royal Court specializes in modern and avant-garde productions, such as John Osbornes Look Back in Anger, which premiered here in 1956. Beginning at Sloane Square, Kensington and Chelseas main street, Kings Road, stretches along the north bank of the Thames. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the area was jammed with the tiny cottages of Londons working class. From 1830, the neighborhood became an extremely fashionable place to live. Kensington and Chelseas Sloane Street and Kings Road feature dozens of expensive shops and restaurants, while the streets running down to the Thames embankment contain many elegant Georgian and Queen Anne houses dating to the 18th and 19th centuries.

From the 16th century onward, royalty and courtiers lived at Kew, which was conveniently located close to Richmond Palace. Kew Palace, a Dutch-style house now within Kew Gardens, is the only survivor of several royal residencesGeorge III and Queen Charlotte lived here. The gardens, originally developed by several 18th-century queens with a passion for landscape and botany, were passed over to the nation in 1840 as the Royal Botanic Gardens. The stately Hampton Court Palace, built in the early 16th century, soon became the residence of Henry VIII, and remained a royal residence for more than two centuries.

3.14 Windsor palace

The royal residence of the British monarchs since the Middle Ages, Windsor Castle adorns the north bank of the River Thames about 35 kilometers (about 20 miles) west of London in the ancient town of Windsor. William the Conqueror originally chose this site for a fortress in the 11th century, after his triumph at the Battle of Hastings. Over the next eight centuries, various monarchs transformed and altered the castle into a 5-hectare (13-acre) royal spread.

The dominant feature of Windsor Castle is its 16th-century stone Round Tower, which divides the castle into two courts, called the Lower Ward and the Upper Ward. The Lower Ward, to the west, holds Albert Memorial Chapel as well as the Perpendicular-style Saint Georges Chapel, a royal mausoleum and the site of the annual installation of the Knights of the Garter. The Upper Ward contains the State Apartments, the royals living quarters and guest apartments. The celebrated Throne Room and the Waterloo Chamber are among the rooms open for tours. In November 1992 the State Apartments were the site of a raging fire that left several apartments gutted but spared most of the priceless art collection housed there.

3.15 Other important edifices

Home Park, which contains the Mausoleum of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, adjoins Windsor Castle on the south, east, and north. The larger Great Park borders the castle grounds to the south. Across the Thames lies the town of Eton, home of prestigious Eton College, founded by Henry VI in 1440.

Big Ben - is a 13.5-ton bell, tolls the hours in the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament. The original palace on the site of the Houses of Parliament was largely destroyed by fire in 1834. The current building was completed in 1852.

The House of Commons if youre heading for the House of Commons, youll be ushered into a small room where all visitors sign a form vowing not to cause a disturbance; long institutional staircases and corridors then lead to the Strangerss Gallery, rising steeply above the chambers. Since an incendiary bomb in May 1941 destroyed Barrys original chamber, what you see now is rather lifeless reconstruction by Giles Gilbert Scott, completed in 1950. Members of the cabinet occupy the two front benches; the rest are backbenchers.

The House of Lords On the other side of the Central Lobby a corridor leads to the House of Lords (or Upper House), a far dozier establishment, peopled by unselected Lords and Ladies, both hereditary and appointed by successive Mps, and a smattering of bishops. Their home boasts a much grander dcor than the Commons, full of regal gold and scarlet, and dominated by a canopied gold throne where the Queen sits for the state opening of parliament in November.

The royal apartments if the House of Lords takes your fancy, you can see pomp and glitter by joining up with a guided tour. Youll be asked to meet at the Norma Porch entrance below Victorian Tower, where the Queen arrives in her coach for the state opening. Then, after the usual security checks, youll be taken up the Royal Staircase to the Norman Porch itself, every nook of which is stuffed with busts of eminent statesmen.

Jewel Tower and the Victoria Tower Garden the Jewel Tower, across the road from parliament, is a remnant of the medieval palace. The tower formed the southwestern corner of the exterior fortifications (theres a bit of moat left, too), and was constructed by Edward III as a giant strong-box for the crown jewels. On the other side of the road are the rather more attractive and leafy Victoria Tower Gardens, which look out onto the Thames.

4 Topography

Greater London covers an area of 609 square miles (1,579 km), making it the 37th largest urban area in the world. Its primary geographical feature is the Thames, a navigable river which crosses the city from the south-west to the east. The Thames Valley is a floodplain surrounded by gently rolling hills such as Parliament Hill Addington Hills, and Primrose Hill. These hills presented no significant obstacle to the growth of London from its origins as a port on the north side of the river, and therefore London is roughly circular. Many of the highest points in London are located in the suburbs or on the boundaries with adjacent counties.

The Thames was once a much broader, shallower river with extensive marshlands; at high tide, its shores reached five times their current width. Since the Victorian era It has been extensively embanked, and many of its London tributaries now flow underground. The Thames is a tidal river, and London is vulnerable to flooding. The threat has increased over time due to a slow but continuous rise in high water level by the slow 'tilting' of Britain (up in the north and down in the south) caused by post-glacial rebound. In 1974, a decade of work began on the construction of the Thames Barrier across the Thames at Woolwich to deal with this threat. While the barrier is expected to function as designed until roughly 2030, concepts for its future enlargement or redesign are already being discussed.

5. Climate

]Weather averages for London















Average high C (F)

Average low C (F)

Precipitation mm (inches)

London has a temperate marine climate, like much of the British Isles, with regular but generally light precipitation throughout the yearunlike the rest of the UK and even the nearby coast. The warmest month is July, with an average temperature range at Greenwich of 13.6 C to 22.8 C

(56.5 to 73.0 F). Record high temperatures of up to 38.1 C (101 F) were recorded in different parts of London on 10 August . The coolest month is January, averaging 2.4 C to 7.9 C (35.6 to 46.2 F). Average annual precipitation is 583.6 mm (22.98 in), with February on average the driest month. Snow is relatively uncommon, particularly because heat from the urban area can make London up to 5 C (9 F) hotter than the surrounding areas in winter. Light snowfall, however, is generally seen a few times every year. London is in USDA Hardiness zone 9, and AHS Heat Zone 2.

Climate chart for London













temperatures in C precipitation totals in mm
source: Met Office

6. Districts

London's vast urban area is often described using a set of district names (e.g. Bloomsbury Knightsbridge Mayfair Whitechapel Fitzrovia). These are either informal designations, or reflect the names of superseded parishes and city wards. Such names have remained in use through tradition, each referring to a neighborhood with its own distinctive character, but often with no modern official boundaries. Since 1965 Greater London has been divided into 32 London boroughs in addition to the ancient City of London.

London is one of the world's three largest financial centers (alongside New York and Tokyo) with a dominant role in several international financial markets, including cross-border bank lending, international bond issuance and trading, foreign-exchange trading, over-the-counter derivatives, fund management and foreign equities trading. It also has the world's largest insurance market, the leading exchange for dealing in non-precious metals, the largest spot gold and gold lending markets, the largest ship broking market, and more foreign banks and investment houses than any other centre. The City has its own governance and boundaries, giving it a status as the only completely autonomous local authority in London. London's new financial and commercial hub is the Docklands area to the east of the City, dominated by the Canary Wharf complex. Other businesses locate in the City of Westminster, the home of the UK's national government and the famous Westminster Abbey

The West End is London's main entertainment and shopping district, with locations such as Oxford Street Leicester Square Covent Garden and Piccadilly Circus acting as tourist magnets. The West London area is known for fashionable and expensive residential areas such as Notting Hill Knightsbridge and Chelseawhere properties can sell for tens of millions of pounds. The average price for all properties in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is 894,000 with similar average outlay in most of Central London

The eastern side of London contains the East End and East London. The East End is the area closest to the original Port of London, known for its high immigrant population, as well as for being one of the poorest areas in London. The surrounding East London area saw much of London's early industrial development; now, Brownfield sites throughout the area are being redeveloped as part of the Thames Gateway including the London Riverside and Lower Lea Valley, which is being developed into the Olympic Park for the 2012 Olympics

  1. City of London
  2. City of Westminster
  3. Kensington and Chelsea
  4. Hammersmith and Fulham
  5. Wandsworth
  6. Lambeth
  7. Southwark
  8. Tower Hamlets
  9. Hackney
  10. Islington
  11. Camden
  12. Brent
  13. Ealing
  14. Hounslow
  15. Richmond
  16. Kingston
  17. Merton

  1. Sutton
  2. Croydon
  3. Bromley
  4. Lewisham
  5. Greenwich
  6. Bexley
  7. Havering
  8. Barking and Dagenham
  9. Redbridge
  10. Newham
  11. Waltham Forest
  12. Haringey
  13. Enfield
  14. Barnet
  15. Harrow
  16. Hillingdon


The etymology of London remains unclear. The earliest mention of the city'stoponym can be attributed to Geoffrey of Monmouth in Historia Regum Britanniae. The name is described as originating from King Lud in which he had allegedly taken over the city and named it after himself to Kaerlud. This was then eventually slurred into Kaerludein and finally London. Few modern sources support this theory. Many other theories have been advanced over the centuries, mostly deriving it from Welsh or British, but occasionally from Anglo-Saxon or even Hebrew

In 1998 Richard Coates, a linguistics professor now at the University of the West of England criticised both these suggestions on linguistic grounds, and proposed his own argument that the name derives from the pre-Celtic *plowonida, which roughly means 'a river too wide to ford'. He suggested that the part of Thames at London was given this name, and then when a settlement was established, the inhabitants added the suffix -on or -onjon to the name for the settlement. Proto-Indo-European *p was regularly lost in proto-Celtic, and through linguistic change, the name developed from Plowonidonjon to Lundonjon, then contracted to Lundein or Lundyn, Latinised to Londinium, and finally borrowed by the Anglo-Saxons as Lundene.

8. The History Of London

8.1 Early London

Although there is some evidence of scattered Brython settlement in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans in AD 43 as Londinium, following the Roman conquest of Britain. The first London lasted for just seventeen years. Around AD 61, the Iceni tribe of Celts led by Queen Boudica stormed London, burning it to the ground. The next, heavily-planned incarnation of the city prospered and superseded Colchester as the capital of the Roman province of Britannia in AD 100. At its height in the 2nd century AD, Roman London had a population of around 60,000. However, by the 3rd century AD, the city started a slow decline due to trouble in the Roman Empire, and by the 5th century AD, it was largely abandoned.

By AD 600, the Anglo-Saxons had created a new settlement called Lundenwic about 1,000 yards (1 km) upstream from the old Roman city, around what is now Covent Garden There was probably a harbour at the mouth of the River Fleet for fishing and trading, and this trading grew until disaster struck in AD 851, when the city's defenses were overcome by a massive Viking raid and it was razed to the ground. A Viking occupation twenty years later was short-lived, and Alfred the Great, the new King of England, established peace and moved the settlement within the defensive walls of the old Roman city (then called Lundenburgh). The original city became Ealdwic ('old city'), a name surviving to the present day as Aldwych

Subsequently, under the control of various English kings, London once again prospered as an international trading centre and political arena. However, Viking raids began again in the late 10th century, and reached a head in 1013 when they besieged the city under Danish King Canute and forced English King Ethelred the Unready to flee. In a retaliatory attack, Ethelred's army achieved victory by pulling down London Bridge with the Danish garrison on top, and English control was re-established.

Canute took control of the English throne in 1017, controlling the city and country until 1042, when his death resulted in a reversion to Anglo-Saxon control under his pious stepson Edward the Confessor, who re-founded Westminster Abbey and the adjacent Palace of Westminster. By this time, London had become the largest and most prosperous city in England, although the official seat of government was still at Winchester

8.2 Norman and medieval London

Following a victory at the Battle of Hastings William the Conqueror, the then Duke of Normandy, was crowned King of England in the newly-finished Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066. William granted the citizens of London special privileges, while building a castle in the south-east corner of the city to keep them under control. This castle was expanded by later kings and is now known as the Tower of London, serving first as a royal residence and later as a prison

In 1097, William II began the building of Westminster Hall, close by the abbey of the same name. The hall proved the basis of a new Palace of Westminster, the prime royal residence throughout the Middle Ages. Westminster became the seat of the royal court and government (persisting until the present day), while its distinct neighbor, the City of London, was a centre of trade and commerce and flourished under its own unique administration, the Corporation of London. Eventually, the adjacent cities grew together and formed the basis of modern central London, superseding Winchester as capital of England in the 12th century.

London grew in wealth and population during the Middle Ages. In 1100 its population was around 18,000, by 1300 it had grown to nearly 100,000. However disaster struck during the Black Death in the mid-14th century, when London lost nearly a third of its population. Apart from the invasion of London during the Peasants' Revolt in 1381, London remained relatively untouched by the various civil wars during the Middle Ages, such as the first and second Barons' Wars and the Wars of the Roses

After the successful defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, political stability in England allowed London to grow further. In 1603, James VI of Scotland came to the throne of England, essentially uniting the two countries. His enactment of harsh anti-Catholic laws made him unpopular, and an assassination attempt was made on 5 November the famous Gunpowder Plot

Plague caused extensive problems for London in the early 17th century, culminating in the Great Plague in 16651666. This was the last major outbreak in England, possibly thanks to the disastrous fire of 1666. The Great Fire of London broke out in the original City and quickly swept through London's wooden buildings, destroying large swathes of the city. An incomparable first hand narrative of both plague and fire was provided by Sir Samuel Pepys Rebuilding took over ten years largely under direction of a Commission appointed by King Charles II and chaired by Sir Christopher Wren

8.3 Rise of modern London

Following London's growth in the 18th century, it became the world's largest city from about 1831 to 1925. This growth was aided from 1836 by London's first railways, which put countryside towns within easy reach of the city. The rail network expanded very rapidly, and caused these places to grow while London itself expanded into surrounding fields, merging with neighboring settlements such as Kensington. Rising traffic congestion on city centre roads led to the creation of the world's first metro systemthe London Undergroundin 1863, driving further expansion and urbanisation. Because of this rapid growth, London became one of the first recordedcities in human history to reach a population of one million, and was the first ever to surpass five million.

London's local government system struggled to cope with the rapid growth, especially in providing the city with adequate infrastructure. Between 1855 and 1889, the Metropolitan Board of Works oversaw infrastructure expansion. It was then replaced by the County of London, overseen by the London County Council, London's first elected city-wide administration.

The Blitz and other bombing by the German Luftwaffe during World War II killed over 30,000 Londoners and flattened large tracts of housing and other buildings across London. The rebuilding during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s was characterised by a wide range of architectural styles and has resulted in a lack of architectural unity that has become part of London's character. In 1965 London's political boundaries were expanded to take into account the growth of the urban area outside the County of London's borders. The expanded area was called Greater London and was administered by the Greater London Council

In the decades following World War II, large-scale immigration from Commonwealth countries and beyond transformed London into one of the most racially and culturally diverse cities in Europe. Integration of the new immigrants was not always smooth, with major race riots in Notting Hill and Brixton, but was certainly smoother than in other English regions and largely lacking in widespread support for far right organisations, unlike its European or American contemporaries.

An economic revival from the 1980s onwards re-established London's position as a pre-eminent international centre. However, as the seat of government and the most important city in the UK, it has been subjected to bouts of terrorism Provisional Irish Republican Army bombers sought to pressure the government into negotiations over Northern Ireland, frequently disrupting city activities with bomb threatssome of which were carried outuntil their 1997 cease-fire. More recently, a series of coordinated bomb attacks were carried out by Islamic extremist suicide bombers on the public transport network on 7 July just 24 hours after London was awarded the 2012 Summer Olympics

9 Transport

Transport is one of the four areas of policy administered by the Mayor of London.However the mayor's financial control is limited and he does not control the heavy rail network (although in November 2007 he assumed responsibility for the in the world, but faces congestion and reliability issues, which a large investment programme is attempting to address, including 7 billion (10 billion) of improvements planned for the Olympics. London was recently commended as the city with the best public transport. Cycling is an increasingly popular way to get around London. The London Cycling Campaign lobbies for better provision.

9.1 Railways

The London Underground is the oldest, longest, and most expensive metro system in the world, dating from 1863.

The centrepiece of the public transport network is the London Underground commonly referred to as The Tube which has eleven interconnecting lines. It is the oldest, longest, and most expensive metro system in the world, dating from 1863. The system was home to the world's first underground electric line, the City & South London Railway, which began service in 1890. Over three million journeys a day are made on the Underground network, around nearly 1 billion journeys are made each year. The Underground serves the central area and most suburbs to the north of the Thames, while those to the south are served by an extensive suburban rail surface network.

The Docklands Light Railway is a second metro system using smaller and lighter trains, which opened in 1987, serving East London and Greenwich on both sides of the Thames. Commuter and intercity railways generally do not cross the city, instead running into fourteen terminal stations scattered around its historic centre; the exception is the Thameslink route operated by First Capital Connect, with terminus stations at Bedford Brighton and Moorgate. Since the early 1990s, increasing pressures on the commuter rail and Underground networks have led to increasing demands particularly from businesses and the City of London Corporation for Crossrail: a 10 billion east-west heavy rail connection under central London, which was given the green light in early October 2007.

High-speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International with Lille and Paris in France, and Brussels in Belgium. Journey times to Paris and Brussels of 2h 15 and 1h 51 respectively make London closer to continental Europe than the rest of Britain by virtue of the newly-completed High Speed 1 rail link to the Channel Tunnel. From 2009 this line will also allow for high speed domestic travel from Kent into London. The redevelopment of St. Pancras was key to London's Olympic bid, as the station also serves two international airports through Thameslink, and will also provide direct rail links to the Olympic site at Stratford using British Rail Class 395 trains running under the Olympic Javelin name; these will be based on Japanese Shinkansen high-speed trains.

9.2 Busses

The modern Enviro 400 double decker bus operating services on route 24

London's bus network is one of the biggest in the world, running 24 hours, with 8,000 buses, 700 bus routes, and over 6 million passenger journeys made every weekday. In 2003, the network's ridership was estimated at over 1.5 billion passenger trips per annum which is more than the Underground. Around 850m is taken in revenue each year and London has the largest wheelchair accessible network in the world and, from the 3rd quarter of 2007, became more accessible to hearing and visually impaired passengers as audio-visual announcements were introduced. The buses are internationally recognised, and are a trademark of London transport along with black cabs and the Tube.

9.3 Air

Heathrow Airport is the world's busiest airport in terms of numbers of international passengers

London is a major international air transport hub. No fewer than eight airports use the words London Airport in their name, but most traffic passes through one of traffic, and is the major hub of the nation's flag carrier, British Airways. After completion of the fifth terminal in March 2008, Heathrow may once again be the world's busiest airport, handling a mixture of full-service domestic, European and inter-continental scheduled passenger flights. Plans are already being considered for a sixth terminal, to the disapproval of residents near to the airport and to its take-off and landing corridors Similar traffic, with the addition of some low-cost short-haul flights, is also handled at London Gatwick Airport London Stansted Airport and London Luton Airport cater mostly for low-cost short-haul flights. London City Airport, the smallest and most central airport, is focused on business travellers, with a mixture of full service short-haul scheduled flights and considerable business jet traffic.

9.4 Roads

The M25 London orbital

Although the majority of journeys involving central London are made by public transport, travel in outer London is car-dominated. The inner ring road (around the city centre), the North and South Circular roads (in the suburbs), and the outer orbital motorway (the M25, outside the built-up area) encircle the city and are intersected by a number of busy radial routesbut very few motorways penetrate into inner London. A plan for a comprehensive network of motorways throughout the city (the Ringways Plan) was prepared in the 1960s but was mostly canceled in the early 1970s. In 2003, a congestion charge was introduced to reduce traffic volumes in the city centre. With a few exceptions, motorists are required to pay 8 per day to drive within a defined zone encompassing much of congested central London. Motorists who are residents of the defined zone can buy a vastly reduced season pass which is renewed monthly and is cheaper than a corresponding bus fare.

London also has 2 central park and ride sites for the convenience of shoppers on Oxford Street and Bond Street, Westminster City Council car parks run a courtesy bus service from its Park Lane and Marble Arch car parks.

10 Education

Royal Holloway, as a part of the University of London, a federation of London higher education institutions.

The British Library of Political and Economic Science was founded in 1896, and is the largest social sciences library in the world, part of the prestigious LSE

Home to a range of universities, colleges and schools, London has a student population of secondary schools in London follow the same system as the rest of England

With 125,000 students, the University of London is the largest contact teaching university in the United Kingdom and in Europe. It comprises 20 colleges as well as several smaller institutes, each with a high degree of autonomy. Constituent colleges have their own admissions procedures, and are effectively universities in their own right, although most degrees are awarded by the University of London rather than the individual colleges. Its constituents include multi-disciplinary colleges such as UCL King's and Royal Holloway and more specialized institutions such as the London School of Economics SOAS, the Royal Academy of Music and the Institute of Education

Imperial College London and UCL have been ranked among the top ten universities in the whole world by The Times Higher Education Supplement: in 2007 Imperial was ranked the 5th best and UCL the 9th best university in the world. In addition, the London School of Economics is considered the worlds leading social science institution for teaching and research.

London's other universities, such as Brunel University City University London Metropolitan University Imperial College London Middlesex University University of East London, the University of Westminster and London South Bank University, are not part of the University of London. Some were polytechnics until these were granted university status in , and others which were founded much earlier. London is also known globally for its business education, with the London Business School (ranked 1st in Europe - Business Week) and Cass Business School (Europe's largest finance school) both being top world-rated business schools.

London is home to many museums, galleries, and other institutions which are major tourist attractions as well as playing a research role. The Natural History Museum (biology and geology), Science Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum (fashion and design) are clustered in South Kensington's 'museum quarter', while the British Museum houses historic artifacts from around the world. The British Library at St Pancras is the UK's national library, housing 150 million items. The city also houses extensive art collections, primarily in the National Gallery Tate Britain and Tate Modern. See the list of museums in London


More than anything ,cultural capital

London has been the setting for many works of literature. Two writers closely associated with the city are the diarist Samuel Pepys, famous for his eyewitness account of the Great Fire, and Charles Dickens, whose representation of a foggy, snowy, grimy London of street sweepers and pickpockets has been a major influence on people's vision of early Victorian London. James Boswell's biographical Life of Johnson mostly takes place in London, and is the source of Johnson's famous aphorism: 'When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.' The earlier (1722) A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe is a fictionalization of the events of the 1665 Great Plague William Shakespeare spent a large part of his life living and working in London; his contemporary Ben Jonson was also based in London, and some of his work - most notably his play The Alchemist - was set in the city. Later important depictions of London from the 19th and early 20th centuries are the afore-mentioned Dickens novels, and Arthur Conan Doyle's famous Sherlock Holmes stories. Trollope's Palliser novels are largely set in London, vividly depicting Westminster and its surrounds. The 1933 novel Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell describes life in poverty in both cities. A modern writer pervasively influenced by the city is Peter Ackroyd, in works such as London: The Biography, The Lambs of London and Hawksmoor. Academic Bloomsbury and hilly Hampstead have traditionally been the liberal, literary heartlands of the city.

London has played a significant role in the film industry, and has major studios at Pinewood Shepperton Elstree and Leavesden, as well as an important special effects and post-production community centered in Soho in central London Working Title Films has its headquarters in London. Many films have also used London as a location and have done much to shape international perceptions of the city. See main article London in film

The city also hosts a number of performing arts schools, including the Central School of Speech and Drama (alumni: Judi Dench and Laurence Olivier), the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (alumni: Jim Broadbent and Donald Sutherland) and the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (alumni: Joan Collins and Roger Moore

In conclusion London is a wonderful city, filled with history and beauty. How can one not fall in love with such a exquisite place?


London, United Kingdom Forecast : Weather Underground (weather and elevation at Heathrow Airport) (online). Retrieved on - .

^ a b c T 08: Selected age groups for local authorities in the United Kingdom; estimated resident population; Mid-2006 Population Estimates (XLS). Office for National Statistics (August 22, 2007). Retrieved on - .

^ a b c KS01 Usual resident population: Census 2001, Key Statistics for urban areas

^ a b World Gazetteer - World: metropolitan areas

^ a b London Metropolitan Area population (August 28, 2007). Retrieved on - .

Neighbourhood Statistics

Mills, A., Dictionary of London Place Names, (2001)

^ a b Government Offices for the English Regions - Fact Files: London

Elcock, H., Local Government, (1994)

Jones, B., Kavanagh, D., Norton, P. & Moran, M., Politics UK, (2004)

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