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With 10,000 years of history beneath your feet; London, itself almost 2,000 years old is chock-a-block with history and mystery.
London over the centuries is a city that has seen plunderers, builders, kings, queens, and peoples from all corners of the planet (and in some instances you would think from even beyond)
London the nerve-centre of the 2nd World War; stood alone and at bay in guarding the future of the civilised world, as the doors of Europe clanged shut. A covert city of mystery; MI5, MI6, CIA; cloak and dagger – a murky nether world of “dead letter boxes”.
London is the financial capital of the world; both a disaster and a success story the greatest and the worst of both worlds are here. A place where cutting-edge, 21st Century power and energy are tangible. Home to Westminster the forge of the national destiny; the place where the heart of the Empire beats; the Mecca of politicians throughout the ages.
Constantly in the news, London shapes not only the United Kingdom; it shapes the history of other countries and cultures in far-flung corners of the planet.
London is the centre of a democratic country that like a shape-shifter changes her personality to suit the person who lives in her suburbs.
London is a city of contrasts; poor and rich; hot and cold; pretty and ugly; clean and filthy; old and new, quiet and noisy; of fun and laughter; terror and fear; slums and opulence; a paradox of artistic expression and social ferment and human mix; work-place and playground; Leicester Square; China Town; Soho and Covent Garden.
London; a time-honoured city is constantly reinventing itself; a changing landscape of development and progress; mixing the old with the new – Westminster; Southwark; Chelsea; Canary Wharf, Olympics 2012 Village.
London is time-less; ancient, modern – ever the same and constantly changing. Yellow brick, worm-worn timbers, ancient terracotta tiles, pristine marble, a city of winding canals, twisting cobbled streets, narrow alley-ways, broad tree-lined avenues; cobwebbed and dynamic; a city redolent of antiquity with quirky and curious street names – gas-lit 1890’s streets; Bleeding Heart Yard; Cut Throat Alley; Cock Lane; Cardinal Cap Alley; Cloth Fair; Charter House; Crooked Usage; Cyclops Mews; Frying Pan Alley; Ha Ha Road; Tweezers Alley; Quaggy Walk; Bacon’s Lane; Threadneedle Street; Shoot-Up Hill; Little Britain; Haberdasher Street; Poultry Street; Crutched Frairs; Seething Lane; Pear Tree Lane (without a pear tree in sight); and a circus that is not a circus but a traffic circle.
London is a city of pubs; Shakespeare’s Head; The Ten Bells (where the Ripper likely eyed his victims); Horseshoe; King’s Head & Eight Bells; Goose and Granite; The Gatehouse;
Green Man & French Horn; Moon under the water; Rat & Parrot; Hung Drawn and Quartered; The Lamb and Flag; Witness Box; and The Viaduct Tavern in Clerkenwell.
London is a city of priceless Jewels; Abbeys; Cathedrals;
Palaces; Towers; Bridges; Squares; Parks; Gardens; Fountains;
Lakes; Statues; Monuments; half-timbered Elizabethan dwellings; Terraced Georgian Houses; Victorian Mansions; Mediaeval and Gothic Churches and Cemeteries;
a Russian Cathedral, a Crystal Palace; a palace that isn’t a palace but an exhibition hall – Alexander Palace; Synagogues; Mosques; white stucco homes and 60’s Terraced Houses; Thatched Cottages; colour-washed Mews; Tudor Homes; Modern Sky-scrapers; Theatres; cosy old pubs; cobblestones; subways; a weird subway that inspired the greatest London poem ever; underground railways and forgotten tunnels; alleyways so narrow you can’t open an umbrella in them; cannons; silver dragons;
Chinese Lanterns; Flower Shows; the world’s largest nautical museum; Museums that are home to the Rosetta Stone, ancient Egyptian Mummies, 140billion frozen peas, a quarter of a million butterflies; Sutton Hoo treasure; and world-famous paintings housed in Galleries large and small; quaint Villages; busy Market Stalls; bustling river-side Piers; a place of a maypole; a centuries old peep-hole; Victorian sewage pipes; a 13th Century White Chapel; a most spectacular statue and the Cutty Sark, city of canals and boats;
cafe’s; studios; zoos; hills, walls, woodland, fens and meadows – an urban enchanted forest.
London gave birth to Fair Maids, Feminists and Philantropists; Smugglers, Tars and Pirates; a place where 13 Knights performed three deeds of bravery –
London is also the final resting place of Heroes; Inventors; Statesmen, Kings and Queens, Cardinals, and a Forgotten Soldier; a city of Robert Browning & Elizabeth Barrett, Oscar Wilde, James Bond, Burgess, Maclean, Blunt, Philby, Shackleton and Livingston, Shakespear, Horatio Nelson, Christopher Wren, Charles Dickens,
Jack the Ripper, Dick Whittington, Winston Churchill, rock-stars, film-stars, the haunt of the Beatles, home to Nuns and Friars, the Knights of Malta, The Knights Templar, and scarlet-coated Chelsea Pensioners, Sloane Rangers, Hooray Henry’s, Cockney’s, Hippies, Punks, Goths, artists, actors, the Krays, the Elephant Man, Geoffrey Chaucer, 11,000 beheaded virgins and ‘real’ people – citizens of a thriving metropolis.
London a city that today, despite the ravages of time; riots, bombings, fires and plagues, legends, monsters and mysteries, with a rich tapestry of the paranormal – is colourful and cosmopolitan; alive with Celebration, pagentry, age-old traditions,
spectacular fireworks, concerts, strikes, carnivals, street fairs, fairs in the Square, frost fairs on the Thames – the most celebrated was the one in 1683-4 that was attended by King Charles II when the Thames froze over.
London is the city that stands at the beginning of time on the Meridian Line;
the city that inspired authors and artists; playwrights and poets.
“Earth has not anything to show more fair”. Wordsworth.