Portal:London

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Introduction

London is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom, and the most populous city in the European Union.

London is one of the world's major business, political and cultural centres. It is a leader in international finance, politics, communications, entertainment, fashion and the arts and has considerable influence worldwide. It is widely regarded as one of the world's major global cities, and has been an important settlement for nearly 2000 years.

London has an estimated population of 8 million (as of 2011) and a metropolitan area population of between 12 and 14 million. London has an extremely cosmopolitan population, drawing from a diverse range of peoples, cultures and religions, speaking over 300 different languages. Residents of London are referred to as Londoners.

The city is an international transport hub and a major tourist destination, counting iconic landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace amongst its many attractions, along with famous institutions such as the British Museum and the National Gallery.

London has three main central business districts: the City of London, the West End in Westminster and Canary Wharf in Docklands. The City of London is the largest financial and business district in Europe.

Featured article

Postman's Park and the Wall of Heroes.JPG

Postman's Park is a 0.67-acre (2,700 m2) park in the City of London, adjacent to the site of the former head office of the General Post Office and a short distance north of St Paul's Cathedral. Opened in 1880 on the site of the former churchyard and burial ground of St Botolph's Aldersgate church, it expanded over the next 20 years to incorporate some adjacent burial grounds and nearby land previously occupied by housing. A shortage of space for burials in London meant that corpses were often laid above existing graves and covered over with soil instead of being buried, and thus Postman's Park, as an interment site for over 800 years, is significantly elevated above the streets which surround it. Since 1900 it has been the location of the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice, a monument erected by George Frederic Watts to ordinary people who died saving the lives of others, and who might otherwise have been forgotten. In 1972, key elements of the park, including the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice, were grade II listed to preserve their character. Following the 2004 film Closer, Postman's Park experienced a resurgence of interest, as key scenes were filmed in the park.

Featured picture

King's Cross Western Concourse.jpg
Photo credit: Colin

The western departures concourse of King's Cross railway station. Designed by John McAslan, it opened in 2012. The architect claims that the roof is the longest single-span station structure in Europe.

Selected quotation

Samuel Johnson, 20 September 1777. Quoted in The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. (1791) by James Boswell

Featured biography

Sir Edgar Speyer

Edgar Speyer (1862–1932) was an American-born financier and philanthropist. He became a British citizen in 1892 and was chairman of Speyer Brothers, the British branch of his family’s international finance house, and a partner in the German and American branches. He was chairman of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London Limited from 1906 to 1915, a period during which the company opened three underground railway lines, electrified a fourth and took over two more. Speyer was a supporter of the musical arts and a friend of several leading composers, including Edward Elgar, Richard Strauss and Claude Debussy. He was chairman of the Classical Music Society for ten years, and he largely funded the Promenade Concerts between 1902 and 1914. His non-musical charitable activities included being honorary treasurer of the fund for Captain Scott's Antarctic expedition. For his philanthropy he was made a baronet in 1906 and a Privy Counsellor in 1909. After the start of the First World War, he became the subject of anti-German attacks in the Press. In 1921, the British government investigated accusations that Speyer had traded with the enemy during the war, and had participated in other wartime conduct incompatible with his British citizenship. Speyer denied the charges, but his naturalisation was revoked and he was struck off the list of members of the Privy Council.

Did you know...

V&A Museum of Childhood.jpg
  • ...that the Dulwich Picture Gallery opened in 1817 with a collection assembled for a never-realised Polish national gallery, and that it was first purpose-built public art gallery in England?
  • ...that the remains of London's Roman amphitheatre can be found in the basement of the Guildhall Art Gallery?
  • ...that the Secretum was the name given to a cupboard in the British Museum containing a collection of supposed ancient erotica, which in fact largely consisted of Victorian fakes?

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Transport

London has one of the oldest and largest public transport systems in the world. Many components of its transport system, such as the double-decker bus, the Hackney Carriage black taxi and the Tube, are internationally recognised symbols of London.

The majority of transport services in the capital are provided by Transport for London (TfL), an executive agency of the Mayor of London. The Oyster card is accepted as payment across most TfL-controlled transport modes. In the past ten years TfL has invested heavily in walking and cycling to promote more sustainable travel choices in London, including a Velib-style bike hire scheme which opened in Summer 2010.

Routemaster LDS402A.jpg Hackney carriage.jpg Westminster.tube.station.jubilee.arp.jpg Tramlink-Beckenham Jn.jpg BA Planes T4 2004.jpg

London has a comprehensive rail network with several major railway stations. London has two international train stations, at St. Pancras railway station and Stratford International, which connect London to mainland Europe through the Eurostar service. London also has six international airports.

In addition to public transport, London is the start point for a number of motorway routes. The M25 is an orbital motorway which enables vehicles to avoid travelling through central London and is one of the busiest motorways in Europe.

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1836 Boat Race · 1839 Boat Race · 1840 Boat Race · 1841 Boat Race · 1842 Boat Race · 1845 Boat Race · 1846 Boat Race · 1849 (March) Boat Race · 1849 (December) Boat Race · 1852 Boat Race · 1854 Boat Race · 1856 Boat Race · 1857 Boat Race · 1860 Boat Race · 1861 Boat Race · 1866 Boat Race · 1867 Boat Race · 1868 Boat Race · 1869 Boat Race · 1870 Boat Race · 1871 Boat Race · 1873 Boat Race · 1875 Boat Race · 1876 Boat Race · 1878 Boat Race · 1880 Boat Race · 1881 Boat Race · 1882 Boat Race · 1883 Boat Race · 1884 Boat Race · 1888 Boat Race · 1889 Boat Race · 1890 Boat Race · 1891 Boat Race · 1892 Boat Race · 1893 Boat Race · 1894 Boat Race · 1897 Boat Race · 1898 Boat Race · 1899 Boat Race · 1901 Boat Race · 1903 Boat Race · 1904 Boat Race · 1905 Boat Race · 1906 Boat Race · 1907 Boat Race · 1908 Boat Race · 1909 Boat Race · 1911 Boat Race · 1920 Boat Race · 1921 Boat Race · 1922 Boat Race · 1923 Boat Race · 1924 Boat Race · 1925 Boat Race · 1927 Boat Race · 1928 Boat Race · 1929 Boat 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