London

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Map of England

London (लंदन) is the capital and most populous city of England and the United Kingdom.It was founded by the Romans, who named it Londinium.

Location

Standing on the River Thames in the south east of the island of Great Britain, London has been a major settlement for two millennia.

Etymology

It is an ancient name, attested already in the first century AD, usually in the Latinised form Londinium;[1] for example, handwritten Roman tablets recovered in the city originating from AD 65/70-80 include the word Londinio ("in London").[2]

Over the years, the name has attracted many mythicising explanations. The earliest attested appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written around 1136.[3] This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had allegedly taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.[4]

Modern scientific analyses of the name must account for the origins of the different forms found in early sources Latin (usually Londinium), Old English (usually Lunden), and Welsh (usually Llundein), with reference to the known developments over time of sounds in those different languages. It is agreed that the name came into these languages from Common Brythonic; recent work tends to reconstruct the lost Celtic form of the name as *Londonjon or something similar. This was adapted into Latin as Londinium and borrowed into West Germanic, the ancestor-language of English, before English had become widely spoken in what later became England.[5]

The etymology and original meaning of the Common Brythonic form is much debated. A prominent explanation was Richard Coates's 1998 argument that the name derived from pre-Celtic Old European *(p)lowonida, meaning "river too wide to ford". Coates suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London; from this, the settlement gained the Celtic form of its name, *Lowonidonjon.[6] However, most work has accepted a Celtic origin for the name, and recent studies have favoured an explanation along the lines of a Celtic derivative of an proto-Indo-European root *lendh- ('sink, cause to sink'), combined with the Celtic suffix *-injo- or *-onjo- (used to form place-names). Peter Schrijver has specifically suggested, on these grounds, that the name originally meant 'place that floods (periodically, tidally)'.[7][8]


Important Sites

London contains four World Heritage Sites:

  1. The Tower of London: Tower of London, officially Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078.
  2. Kew Gardens:Kew Gardens is a botanical garden in southwest London that houses the "largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world"
  3. The site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret's Church:
  4. The historic settlement of Greenwich (in which the Royal Observatory, Greenwich defines the Prime Meridian, 0° longitude, and GMT).[9] Royal Museums Greenwich is an organisation comprising four existing museums in Greenwich, London. The Royal Museums Greenwich Foundation is a Private Limited Company by guarantee without share capital use of 'Limited' exemption, company number 08002287, incorporated on 22 March 2012.[1] It is registered as charity number 114727. National Maritime Museum, Queen's House, Royal Observatory, Greenwich, Cutty Sark

The landmarks:

  • Westminster Bridge is a road-and-foot-traffic bridge over the River Thames in London, linking Westminster on the west side and Lambeth on the east side. The bridge is painted predominantly green, the same colour as the leather seats in the House of Commons which is on the side of the Palace of Westminster nearest to the bridge.
  • Palace of Westminster is the meeting place of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Commonly known as the Houses of Parliament after its occupants, the Palace lies on the north bank of the River Thames in the City of Westminster, in central London.
  • Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, is a large, mainly Gothic abbey church in the City of Westminster, London, just to the west of the Palace of Westminster.
  • London Eye: The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. It is Europe's tallest Ferris wheel.The London Eye offered the highest public viewing point in London until it was superseded by the 245 metres high observation deck on the 72nd floor of
  • Elizabeth Tower: Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London and is usually extended to refer to both the clock and the clock tower. The official name of the tower in which Big Ben is located was originally the Clock Tower, but it was renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II.

*Portcullis House - Portcullis House is an office building in Westminster to provide offices for 213 members of parliament and their staff. Part of the Parliamentary Estate, the building augments limited space in the Palace of Westminster and surroundings.

  • Parliament Square: Parliament Square is a square at the northwest end of the Palace of Westminster in central London. It features a large open green area in the centre with trees to its west, and it contains twelve statues of statesmen and other notable individuals.
  • St Margaret Church: Church of St Margaret, Westminster Abbey, is situated in the grounds of Westminster Abbey on Parliament Square.
  • Buckingham Palace: Buckingham Palace is the London residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and royal hospitality. It was acquired by King George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte and became known as The Queen's House. At the rear of the palace is the large and park-like garden, which together with its lake is the largest private garden in London. The Mall, a ceremonial approach route to the palace, was designed by Sir Aston Webb and completed in 1911 as part of a grand memorial to Queen Victoria. It extends from Admiralty Arch, across St James's Park to the Victoria Memorial.
  • St James's Park is a 23-hectare park in the City of Westminster, central London. The park lies at the southernmost tip of the St James's area, which was named after a leper hospital dedicated to St James the Less. It is the most easterly of a near-continuous chain of parks that also includes (moving westward) Green Park, Hyde Park, and Kensington Gardens. The park is bounded by Buckingham Palace to the west, the Mall to the north, Horse Guards to the east, and Birdcage Walk to the south. It meets Green Park at Queen's Gardens with the Victoria Memorial at its centre, opposite the entrance to Buckingham Palace. St James's Palace is on the opposite side of The Mall. The closest London Underground stations are St James's Park, Green Park, Victoria, and Westminster.
  • Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall on the northern edge of South Kensington, London, which has held the Proms concerts annually each summer since 1941. The Hall was originally supposed to have been called the Central Hall of Arts and Sciences, but the name was changed to the Royal Albert Hall of Arts and Sciences by Queen Victoria upon laying the Hall's foundation stone in 1867, in memory of her husband, Prince Albert, who had died six years earlier. It forms the practical part of a memorial to the Prince Consort – the decorative part is the Albert Memorial directly to the north in Kensington Gardens, now separated from the Hall by Kensington Gore.
  • Albert Memorial is situated in Kensington Gardens, London, directly to the north of the Royal Albert Hall. It was commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her beloved husband Prince Albert, who died in 1861. The memorial was designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott in the Gothic Revival style.
  • Kensington Gardens, once the private gardens of Kensington Palace, are among the Royal Parks of London. The gardens are shared by the City of Westminster and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and sit immediately to the west of Hyde Park, in western central London. The gardens cover an area of 270 acres.[1] The open spaces of Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Green Park, and St. James's Park together form an almost continuous "green lung" in the heart of London.
  • Kensington Palace is a royal residence set in Kensington Gardens, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London, England. It has been a residence of the British Royal Family since the 17th century, and is currently the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Princess Eugenie of York, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke and Duchess of Kent, and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
  • Hyde Park is a Grade I-listed major park in Central London. It is the largest of four Royal Parks that form a chain from the entrance of Kensington Palace through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park, via Hyde Park Corner and Green Park past the main entrance to Buckingham Palace. The park is divided by the Serpentine and the Long Water.
  • Piccadilly Circus,
  • St Paul's Cathedral,
  • Tower Bridge,
  • Trafalgar Square
  • The Shard, which opened to the public on 1 February 2013. The London Eye adjoins the western end of Jubilee Gardens (previously the site of the former Dome of Discovery), on the South Bank of the River Thames between Westminster Bridge and Hungerford Bridge beside County Hall, in the London Borough of Lambeth.
  • British Museum, located in the Bloomsbury area of London, United Kingdom, is a public institution dedicated to human history, art and culture. Its permanent collection numbers some 8 million works.
  • National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, in Central London. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900.

*Natural History Museum in London exhibits a vast range of specimens from various segments of natural history. It is one of three major museums on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, the others being the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Natural History Museum's main frontage, however, is on Cromwell Road.

  • Southbank Centre is a complex of artistic venues in London, England, on the South Bank of the River Thames (between Hungerford Bridge and Waterloo Bridge). It comprises three main performance venues (the Royal Festival Hall including the Saison Poetry Library, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Purcell Room), together with the Hayward Gallery, and is Europe’s largest centre for the arts.
  • Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located in London. It is Britain's national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group (together with Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives and Tate Online). It is based in the former Bankside Power Station, in the Bankside area of the London Borough of Southwark.
  • Victoria and Albert Museum in London is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 2.27 million objects. It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Located in the Brompton district of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in an area that has become known as "Albertopolis" because of its association with Prince Albert, the Albert Memorial and the major cultural institutions with which he was associated. These include the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Royal Albert Hall.
  • Science Museum is a major museum on Exhibition Road in South Kensington.
  • Somerset House is a large Neoclassical building situated on the south side of the Strand in central London, overlooking the River Thames, just east of Waterloo Bridge. The building, on the site of a Tudor palace, was designed by Sir William Chambers in 1776, and further extended with Victorian wings to the east and west in 1831 and 1856 respectively.[2][3] The East Wing forms part of the adjacent Strand campus of King's College London.
  • National Portrait Gallery (NPG) is an art gallery in London housing a collection of portraits of historically important and famous British people. It was the first portrait gallery in the world when it opened in 1856.[4] The gallery moved in 1896 to its current site at St Martin's Place, off Trafalgar Square, and adjoining the National Gallery.

London is home to numerous museums, galleries, libraries, sporting events and other cultural institutions, including the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres.[10]

The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world.

History

London's ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its 1.12-square-mile (2.9 km2) medieval boundaries. Since at least the 19th century, "London" has also referred to the metropolis around this core, historically split between Middlesex, Essex, Surrey, Kent and Hertfordshire,[11]which today largely makes up Greater London,[12] a region governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Prehistory

Two recent discoveries indicate probable very early settlements near the Thames in the London area. In 1993, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the south foreshore, upstream of Vauxhall Bridge.[13] This bridge either crossed the Thames or reached a now lost island in it. Two of those timbers were radiocarbon dated to between 1750 BC and 1285 BC.[14]

In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to between 4800 BC and 4500 BC,[15] were found on the Thames's south foreshore, downstream of Vauxhall Bridge.[16] The function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on the south bank, at a natural crossing point where the River Effra flows into the Thames.[17]

Roman London

Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans about four years[18] after the invasion of AD 43.[19] This lasted only until around AD 61, when the Iceni tribe led by Queen Boudica stormed it, burning it to the ground.[20] The next, heavily planned, incarnation of Londinium prospered, and it superseded Colchester as the capital of the Roman province of Britannia in 100. At its height in the 2nd century, Roman London had a population of around 60,000.[21]

Anglo-Saxon London (and Viking period)

With the collapse of Roman rule in the early 5th century, London ceased to be a capital, and the walled city of Londinium was effectively abandoned, although Roman civilisation continued in the area of St Martin-in-the-Fields until around 450.[22] From around 500, an Anglo-Saxon settlement known as Lundenwic developed slightly west of the old Roman city.[23] By about 680, the city had regrown into a major port, although there is little evidence of large-scale production. From the 820s repeated Viking assaults brought decline. Three are recorded; those in 851 and 886 succeeded, while the last, in 994, was rebuffed.[24]


The Vikings established Danelaw over much of eastern and northern England; its boundary stretched roughly from London to Chester. It was an area of political and geographical control imposed by the Viking incursions which was formally agreed by the Danish warlord, Guthrum and the West Saxon king Alfred the Great in 886. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that Alfred "refounded" London in 886. Archaeological research shows that this involved abandonment of Lundenwic and a revival of life and trade within the old Roman walls. London then grew slowly until about 950, after which activity increased dramatically.[25]

By the 11th century, London was beyond all comparison the largest town in England. Westminster Abbey, rebuilt in the Romanesque style by King Edward the Confessor, was one of the grandest churches in Europe. Winchester had previously been the capital of Anglo-Saxon England, but from this time on, London became the main forum for foreign traders and the base for defence in time of war. In the view of Frank Stenton: "It had the resources, and it was rapidly developing the dignity and the political self-consciousness appropriate to a national capital."[26]

Middle Ages

Westminster Abbey, as seen in this painting (by Canaletto, 1749), is a World Heritage Site and one of London's oldest and most important buildings

After winning the Battle of Hastings, William, Duke of Normandy was crowned King of England in the newly completed Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066.[27] William constructed the Tower of London, the first of the many Norman castles in England to be rebuilt in stone, in the southeastern corner of the city, to intimidate the native inhabitants.[28] In 1097, William II began the building of Westminster Hall, close by the abbey of the same name. The hall became the basis of a new Palace of Westminster.

In the 12th century, the institutions of central government, which had hitherto accompanied the royal English court as it moved around the country, grew in size and sophistication and became increasingly fixed in one place. For most purposes this was Westminster, although the royal treasury, having been moved from Winchester, came to rest in the Tower. While the City of Westminster developed into a true capital in governmental terms, its distinct neighbour, the City of London, remained England's largest city and principal commercial centre, and it flourished under its own unique administration, the Corporation of London. In 1100, its population was around 18,000; by 1300 it had grown to nearly 100,000. Disaster struck in the form of the Black Death in the mid-14th century, when London lost nearly a third of its population. London was the focus of the Peasants' Revolt in 1381.[29]

London was also a centre of England's Jewish population before their expulsion by Edward I in 1290. Violence against Jews took place in 1190, after it was rumoured that the new King had ordered their massacre after they had presented themselves at his coronation.[30] In 1264 during the Second Barons' War, Simon de Montfort's rebels killed 500 Jews while attempting to seize records of debts.[31]

References

  1. Mills, David (2001). Dictionary of London Place Names. Oxford Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0-19-280106-7. OCLC 45406491. p. 139
  2. "UK's oldest hand-written document 'at Roman London dig'". BBC News. 1 June 2016.
  3. Mills 2001, p. 139
  4. Ackroyd, Peter (2 December 2001). "London". The New York Times. ISBN 978-0-7011-7279-4.
  5. Theodora Bynon, 'London's Name', Transactions of the Philological Society, 114:3 (2016), 281–97, doi: 10.1111/1467-968X.12064.
  6. Coates, Richard (1998). "A new explanation of the name of London". Transactions of the Philological Society. 96 (2): 203–229. doi:10.1111/1467-968X.00027
  7. Peter Schrijver, Language Contact and the Origins of the Germanic Languages, Routledge Studies in Linguistics, 13 (New York: Routledge, 2014), p. 57.
  8. Theodora Bynon, 'London's Name', Transactions of the Philological Society, 114:3 (2016), 281–97, doi: 10.1111/1467-968X.12064.
  9. "Lists: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". UNESCO.
  10. "West End Must Innovate to Renovate, Says Report". What's On Stage. London. 25 January 2008.
  11. Joshua Fowler (5 July 2013). "London Government Act: Essex, Kent, Surrey and Middlesex 50 years on". BBC News.
  12. Elcock, Howard (1994). Local Government: Policy and Management in Local Authorities. London: Routledge. p. 368. ISBN 978-0-415-10167-7.
  13. Denison, Simon (July 1999). "First 'London Bridge' in River Thames at Vauxhall". British Archaeology (46).
  14. Denison, Simon (July 1999). "First 'London Bridge' in River Thames at Vauxhall". British Archaeology (46).
  15. "London's Oldest Prehistoric Structure". BAJR.
  16. Milne, Gustav. "London's Oldest Foreshore Structure!". Frog Blog. Thames Discovery Programme.
  17. "London's Oldest Prehistoric Structure". BAJR.
  18. [http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk/archives/view/no1poultry_molas_2007/ Number 1 Poultry (ONE 94) Museum of London Archaeology, 2013 ]
  19. Perring, Dominic (1991). Roman London. London: Routledge. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-203-23133-3.
  20. "British History Timeline —Roman Britain". BBC.
  21. Anne Lancashire (2002). London Civic Theatre: City Drama and Pageantry from Roman Times to 1558. Cambridge University Press. p. 19.
  22. "The last days of Londinium". Museum of London.
  23. "The early years of Lundenwic". The Museum of London.
  24. Wheeler, Kip. "Viking Attacks"
  25. Vince, Alan (2001). "London". In Lapidge, Michael; Blair, John; Keynes, Simon; Scragg, Donald. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-631-22492-1.
  26. 1. Stenton, Frank (1971). Anglo-Saxon England (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 538–539. ISBN 978-0-19-280139-5. 2. Blair, John (2001). "Westminster". In Lapidge, Michael; Blair, John; Keynes, Simon; Scragg, Donald. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Anglo-Saxon England. Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-631-22492-1.
  27. "History – 1066 – King William". BBC.
  28. Tinniswood, Adrian. "A History of British Architecture — White Tower". BBC.
  29. "Richard II (1367–1400)". BBC.
  30. Jacobs, Joseph (1906). "England". Jewish Encyclopedia. JewishEncyclopedia.com.
  31. Robin R. Mundill (2010), The King's Jews, London: Continuum, ISBN 9781847251862, LCCN 2010282921, OCLC 466343661, OL 24816680M; see p88-99