London Essay

“London Essays provide powerful ideas and important perspectives on some of the key challenges impacting the world’s greatest city. Each issue offers a provocative, enjoyable and informative read. London deserves a title with this level of ambition, insight and authority and Capco is proud to support it.”

Ian Hawksworth, Chief Executive,  Capital & Counties Properties PLC

London Essays is a journal published by Centre for London. It explores the economic, social, and environmental challenges facing London and other cities, and ways they can be addressed.

Each issue of London Essays has a single theme, addressed by contributors from varied disciplines and with differing perspectives – writers and academic experts, business leaders and social entrepreneurs, policymakers and politicians. London Essays includes interviews, reviews and short comments, as well as longer features. All content appears in both print and online editions, free and available to all.

London Essays has been generously supported by Capital & Counties Properties PLC.

A London Essays production: London Futures 

London is a city of hope and potential, but the capital also faces some huge challenges. A shortage of homes, an overcrowded transport system, high levels of pollution and a growing population to name just a few.

In this short film, Centre for London speaks to leaders from across the city to hear about their solutions to these challenges.


London Essay partners

Centre for London

Centre for London generates ideas for a prosperous and inclusive city. Working across economic, environmental and social issues, the Centre develops research and policy recommendations for the capital. As a politically independent think tank, the Centre influences government and decision makers. Since launching in 2011 the Centre’s ideas have been widely adopted.

Capital & Counties Properties PLC

Capital & Counties Properties PLC (Capco) is one of the largest listed property companies in central London, with two key estates at Covent Garden and Earls Court. Capco is a significant investor in the capital and aims to create and grow value through distinctive placemaking, innovation and enterprise.


First published in 2015
© Centre for London, all rights reserved
40 Bermondsey Street
London SE1 3UD

Print ISSN 2058-7953
Online ISSN 2058-7961

For the city in Canada, see London, Ontario.


Clockwise from top: City of London skyline, Trafalgar Square, London Eye, Tower Bridge and a London Underground roundel in front of Elizabeth Tower

Location of London in the UK.


Coordinates: Coordinates: 51°30′28″N00°07′41″W / 51.50778°N 0.12806°W / 51.50778; -0.12806
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Constituent countryEngland
RegionGreater London
DistrictsCity & 32 London boroughs
Settled by Romansas Londinium ca. AD 50
 • Regional authorityGreater London Authority
 • Regional assemblyLondon Assembly
 • MayorSadiq Khan
 • HQCity Hall
 • UK Parliament
 - London Assembly
 - European Parliament
74 constituencies
14 constituencies
London constituency
 • City1.00 sq mi (2.6 km2)
 • Greater London609 sq mi (1,580 km2)
Elevation[1]79 ft (24 m)
Population (mid-2006 est)
 • Urban9.7 million
(Greater London Urban Area)
 • Metro13–14 million
 • Density8,215/sq mi (3,172/km2)
 • Greater London7,512,400
 • Greater London density12,331/sq mi (4,761/km2)
Time zoneGMT (UTC0)
 • Summer (DST)BST (UTC+1)

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The River Thames travels through the city.

London is the biggest city in westernEurope, and the world's largest financial centre.[2][3][4]

London is about 2000 years old. London was founded by the Romans. It was called Londinium by the Romans. London was also called Lunnainn in Scottish Gaelic,[5]Llundain in Welsh and Londain in Irish.

For a long time, London was a small city. All its people lived inside the walls that were built by the Romans. This area is still called the City of London. There were many villages around the city. Gradually, more people came to live there. Then, step by step, the villages joined together into one huge city.

London is one of the world's most important cities for business, finance, and politics. It is also important for culture: media, entertainment, fashion, and art.

People[change | change source]

The population of London is 8.63 million[6] Most people in London are British. However, London also has many immigrants. These people come from many different countries. They speak many different languages and have different religions and cultures. There are also many people from different countries who stay in London on business. Many people visit London as tourists. They may see the famous "Sights of London". These sights include palaces, churches and museums.

History[change | change source]

The Romans built a city called Londinium on the River Thames in the year AD 43 The name Londinium (and then 'London') came from the Celtic language of the Ancient Britons. In the year AD 61, the city was attacked and destroyed. Then the Romans rebuilt London. London became an important trading city. After the Romans left Britain, few people lived in the city for a long time. This is because the Anglo-Saxon people liked living in the countryside an did not like city life. In the 9th century, more people started living there again. It became the largest city in England. However, it did not become the capital city of England until the 12th century.

After the railways were built, London grew very big. Greater London has 33 London Boroughs (neighbourhoods) and a mayor. The old City of London is only a square mile in size but has its own Lord Mayor.

Another famous old part of Greater London is Westminster, which was always a different city from the City of London. In Westminster is Westminster Abbey (a cathedral), The Palace of Westminster (the Houses of Parliament, with Big Ben), and 10 Downing Street (where the Prime Minister lives).

Events[change | change source]

Climate[change | change source]

London has an oceanic, or temperate climate. It is not usually very hot or cold. It is often cloudy.

Climate data for Heathrow Airport
Average high °C (°F)8.1
Average low °C (°F)2.3
Rainfall mm (inches)55.2
Source: Met Office

London Events[change | change source]

London has many celebrations, festivals and events.[9]

Wimbledon Tennis Tournament[change | change source]

  • Championship tennis games
  • Two weeks in June and July
  • Held at the All England Club
  • Started in 1877

The Promenade Concert[change | change source]

  • Classical music concerts
  • From July to September
  • Held at the Royal Albert Hall
  • Started in the late 19th century (1800s)

Notting Hill Carnival[change | change source]

  • A festival to celebrate Caribbean culture
  • One weekend in August
  • Started in 1964

London Film Festival[change | change source]

  • More than 300 films
  • Last two weeks in October
  • Held at cinemas all over the city
  • Has International films

Landmarks[change | change source]

London Business and Economy[change | change source]

London has five major business districts: the City, Westminster, Canary Wharf, Camden & Islington and Lambeth & Southwark.

The London Stock Exchange is the most international stock exchange and the largest in Europe.

Financial services[change | change source]

London's largest industry is finance. This includes banks, stock exchanges, investment companies and insurance companies The Bank of England is located in London and is the second oldest bank in the world.

Professional services[change | change source]

London has many professional services such as law firms, accountants,

Media[change | change source]

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) which has many radio and TV stations is in London.

Tourism[change | change source]

Tourism is one of London's biggest industries. London is the most visited city in the world by international tourists with 18.8 million international visitors per year. Within the UK, London is home to the ten most-visited tourist attractions. Tourism employed the about 350,000 full-time workers in London in 2003. Tourists spend about £15 billion per year.

Technology[change | change source]

A growing number of technology companies are based in London.

Retail[change | change source]

London is a major retail centre, and in 2010 had the highest non-food retail sales of any city in the world, with a total spend of around £64.2 billion. The UK's fashion industry, centred on London, contributes tens of billions to the economy.

Manufacturing and construction[change | change source]

For the 19th and much of the 20th centuries London was a major manufacturing centre (see Manufacturing in London), with over 1.5 million industrial workers in 1960. Many products were made in London including ships, electronics and cars. Nowadays, most of these manufacturing companies are closed but some drug companies still make medicine in London.

Twinnings[change | change source]

London has twin and sister city agreements with these cities:

London also has a "partnership" agreement with Tokyo, Japan.

London Transportation (Trains, airports and Metro)[change | change source]

The city has a huge network of transport systems including trains, metros (underground) and five main airports.

The Victorians built many train systems in the mid-19th century (1850s). Their main stations are in London, and the lines go to every part of Great Britain. There were originally five major companies but the five companies became a national rail network in modern times.

There are five airports, though only one is actually in London (London City Airport). There is the London end of the London–Birminghamcanal, which was important to the industrial 19th century. The most used airport is Heathrow International Airport although it is actually outside the city.

The metro or London Underground is a system of electrictrains which are in London, United Kingdom. It is the oldest underground railway in the world. It started running in 1863 as the Metropolitan Railway. After the opening the system was copied in many other cities, for example New York and Madrid. Even though it is called the Underground about half of it is above the ground. The "Tube" is a slang name for the London Underground, because the tunnels for some of the lines are round tubes running through the ground. The Underground has got 274 stations and over 408 km of track. From 2006–2007 over 1 billion passengers used the underground.

References[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to London.

Capitals of Europe

European Unioncountries

Amsterdam, Netherlands ·Athens, Greece ·Berlin, Germany ·Bratislava, Slovakia ·Brussels, Belgium ·Bucharest, Romania ·Budapest, Hungary ·Copenhagen, Denmark ·Dublin, Republic of Ireland ·Helsinki, Finland ·Lisbon, Portugal ·Ljubljana, Slovenia ·London, United Kingdom ·Luxembourg City, Luxembourg ·Madrid, Spain ·Nicosia, Cyprus1 ·Paris, France ·Prague, Czech Republic ·Riga, Latvia ·Rome, Italy ·Sofia, Bulgaria ·Stockholm, Sweden ·Tallinn, Estonia ·Valletta, Malta ·Vienna, Austria ·Vilnius, Lithuania ·Warsaw, Poland

Other European countries

Andorra la Vella, Andorra ·Ankara, Turkey1 ·Belgrade, Serbia ·Bern, Switzerland ·Chişinău, Moldova ·Kyiv, Ukraine ·Minsk, Belarus ·Monaco-Ville, Monaco ·Moscow, Russia ·Oslo, Norway ·Podgorica, Montenegro ·Reykjavík, Iceland ·San Marino, San Marino ·Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina ·Skopje, Republic of Macedonia ·Tirana, Albania ·Vaduz, Liechtenstein ·Zagreb, Croatia

NOTES:1. Geographically mostly in Asia.

A panorama of modern London, taken from the Golden Gallery of Saint Paul’s Cathedral


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