|| For a city as internationally
famous as London it perhaps comes as something of a shock
to discover that the city actually has no known founder.
Myth and legend speak of a King Lud, after whom Ludgate
Hill and Ludgate Circus are named. A statue of the monarch
who historians believe to be imagined can be located beside
the church of St Dunstan, Fleet Street.
There is no specific foundation date for London either.
Shortly after the Roman conquest of 43 AD invaders grasped
the strategic significance of the river Thames and named
By the 5th century Londinium was left to become a wasteland
after the Roman empire fell. The invading Anglo-Saxons
were mostly farmers and neglected city life, so they moved
out into the villages surrounding the city and founded
some of London’s most famous suburbs including Fulham,
Mitcham, Ealing and Barking.
London was gradually revived and became a hub of business
and enterprise but suffered – as did much of Europe
– by the epidemic of the bubonic plague in 1348-9.
Otherwise known as the Black Death, this plague devastated
London and led to the deaths of thousands of people in
the city and surrounding areas.
London thrived after this period and became known as an
international business player but life in Victorian London
during the 1800s was harsh and dirty. Victorian London
found its perfect chronicler in Charles Dickens, whose
home in Doughty Street survives as his museum.
The World Exhibition of 1865 introduced a change in London
life and gave London’s finest artists and businessmen
a world showcase to promote their talents. Many prominent
buildings were built during this time including the impressive
By the time Edward VII ascended the throne in 1901 London
was the largest city in the world, with a population of
more than six million.
London was on the up during the first quarter of the 20th
century but suffered when the World War I sacrificed many
of the cities’ most influential young men.
The World War II devastated much of London and the bombing
of Central London became known as “The Blitz”.
Huge loss of life and destruction of many beautiful buildings
knocked the capital for six and it wouldn’t be until
the 1960s that the rebuilding programme was to be fully
The 1960s saw London swinging to the sounds of Abbey Records
as the nation descended on Carnaby Street and The Kings
Road to celebrate the birth of pop radio and the freedom
of the teenager. It was during this time that local lads
like The Rolling Stones became the centre of attention
and the once prominent royalty took a back seat.
Fashion reigned over London and in the 1970s the youths
of London yet again turned their back on both the government
and the royal family with the uprising of the punk movement.
The music, the safety pins and the Mohican hairstyles
were born on the Kings Road and the shop that Vivienne
Westwood and Malcolm Maclaren owned called Sex became
the hub of the universe to young punks. Malcolm was also
responsible for forming and managing The Sex Pistols.
Celebrations to mark the new millennium included The Millennium
Bridge and the London Eye wheel, which has brought a new
lease of life to tourism in the area.
From its very beginning, London remains the biggest city
in Europe and continues to lead the way in commerce, business
and fashion where the rest of the UK follows.