This page was created by Mary Soon Lee.
Please note that I no longer live in London, and so
cannot provide you with up-to-date information.
A visitor may see grimy old buildings, tee shirts of the royal family
on sale in every tourist stall, ten million anonymous strangers in ten
thousand anonymous streets. But these are the streets I grew up in.
I see this complex, ugly, straining city--Soho and Brixton; Chelsea
and middle class suburbia; people crushed together on the underground;
the fat black London taxis; red double-decker buses; tiny parks tucked
in unexpected corners; the wide, dirty river that started it all; a
history deep enough to decay into comfortable neglect and still anchor
this city--and it is a thing of beauty.
Located at 51deg30 N, 0deg10 W, London is the capital city of England.
The home of famous buildings from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of
Parliament, London welcomes millions of tourists each year. Since the
London Stock Exchange was founded in the eighteenth century, the city
has been one of the leading international finance centres. London is
also a manufacturing city, focusing on light industries such as
electronics and pharmaceuticals.
What to do in London?
Having grown up in London, I visited and re-visited and re-re-visited
many of the tourist attractions. My interest in seeing Buckingham
Palace has likewise waned. But I recommend any of the following:
- Feeding the pigeons at Trafalgar Square (wear old clothes) --
very sadly, I think this activity has now been made illegal.
- Bookshop crawls: London has numerous bookshops, ranging from small
specialist stores to the bewildering maze of Foyle's. I particularly
like Forbidden Planet near Tottenham Court Road tube station.
- Kew Gardens, near Richmond
in South West London. If you're tired of city streets, Kew Gardens
has huge green lawns, trees that are centuries old, glasshouses
containing exotic plants, a lake, views of the Thames, a Pagoda,
rhododendrons, azaleas, bamboo, roses.
- Hampton Court
- London Zoo in Regent's Park
- Nighttime sightseeing. Maybe I'm jaded due to overexposure, but
sights that bore me by day become beautiful after dark. The lighted
bridges over the Thames, St. Paul's Cathedral by floodlight,
Piccadilly Circus pulsing neon-bright.
- 43 AD: the Romans founded the settlement of Londonium near
a suitable crossing point of the River Thames.
- 61 AD: Boadicea sacks London while rebelling against the Romans.
- 1066: William the Conqueror made London his capital.
- 1350: population of London approximately 35,000.
- 1500: population of London approximately 120,000.
- 1665: the Great Plague of London.
- 1666: the Great Fire of London destroyed many buildings.
- 1700: population of London approximately 700,000.
- 1800: population of London approximately 900,000.
- 1890: London is the site of the first electric underground
- 1900: population of London approximately 4,700,000.
- 1990: the Greater London conurbation has a population of