London is the capital city of United kingdom and it is considered as the chief city of British Commonwealth. It is considered one of the greatest and oldest centers of finance, industry and culture in the world. The city is also one of the largest in the world (How stuff works, par 1). It is preparing to host 2016 World Cup and for that matter, it is crucial to know what is behind the magnificent city of London. This essay seeks to explore on aspects that characterize the city right from its geography, history, culture and political jurisdiction. London is located at latitude 51.30’ north and longitude 0. 70 west.
It is situated in Lambeth; south East of England in United Kingdom (Maplandia, par 1). The city is 2. 6 square kilometers (Easy expert, par 2). It also lies on the Thames river about 40 miles from the North Sea (How stuff works, par 2). Roughly, the river divides the city into two equal parts and it is on two hills on the bank north of Thames (How stuff works, par 2-3) . The river’s embankments are in central London. Along the great bend of the river, is the Victoria embankment. Other embankments include the Albert and Chelsea which are further upstream.
This river is characterized by great bridges for example, Tower, London, Westminster and waterloo bridges (How stuff works 1, par 7). Geographical Features London has so many natural areas throughout the city. For example Meadows such as Kellaly; forests such as Meadow lily woods and Medway valley heritage forest; Wetlands like Westminster ponds among others. Moreover, it also harbors 22 kilometers paved paths for bikes along the Thames River (Tourism London All, par 1). Political jurisdiction The corporation of London is the one that administers the city headed by the Lord Mayor.
The Greater London has 33 boroughs with the inner one having 14 and the outer London having 19 boroughs. The greater London has an elected mayor with an assembly and it is also the administrative entity in England (Britannica Encyclopedia, par 2). The city is governed following feudal system of government. The body that is involved with decision making is the court of common council which has 100 members who are elected directly from 25 wards in the city. This council meets every four weeks but committees meet more regularly.
They have committees concerned with finance, education, policy and resources, planning and transportation. Some committees have members who have no voting rights in the corporation and are members because of their specialist expertise. The overall leader is the historic Lord mayor but the policy and resources committee’s chairman represents the body to the media (Stevens, par 6-7). The representatives of the boroughs form the assembly of the great London which boasts of its own constitution (Easy expert, par. 2). For one to be eligible for elections, he or she must be a free man in the city.
Elections are not based on political parties. There is also the court of Aldermen where each ward elects one Alderman adding up to 25 Aldermen. The office of the Aldermen has diminished significance and today, they just discharge judicial function as magistrates and are also allowed to sit in the court of common council’s committees with no allowances (Stevens, par 10). Origins of This Great City The origin of London can be dated back to 43 AD. Before Romans invaded the land, no permanent settlement existed but only River Thames flowing surrounded by small islands of gravel and sand.
When comparing the population of mosquitoes and people, the former were many (Britain express, par 1). London has been inhabited for more than 5000 years but it was only characterized by marshes and forests instead of a city. The city itself was started by Romans about 2000 yeas ago but originally, they called it Londinium. During the invasion, they landed in Kent and passed through River Thames sailing upwards. They knew the strategic importance of the river in controlling the crossing point at the river.
So, they built on the north bank, a settlement. They carefully chose two spots in two hills, which were small and where the river was narrowing, and built a bridge. This is the London Bridge that is known today. They brought up buildings, a port and streets and they named the settlement Londinium which became the capital city of the Roman Britain (Barrow, par 2-3). The original London could only last for several years, little more than 10, and the ships could reach there making the city to become a trading center (museum of London, par 4-5).
The bridge was very significant as it was the center for the road networks that sprung up from the crossing place, and thus it allowed the movement of the troops to be fast (Britain Express, par 4). The city later grew into a great trading center and by the second century AD, in the middle, the city had the largest town hall, a temple, and a governor’s palace among others. The Romans built a wall around 200 AD, surrounding the city and this defined the shape and size of London over a millennium. The area which was surrounded by the wall, is the one that is called ‘The city” (Britain Express, par 7-9). Urban And Street Patterns
Prior to World War 2, London was characterized by very few buildings which were more that 6 stories high but today, the buildings with 20 stories and above can be found, for example, the towers of Barbican are 40 stories and above. The tower of Canary Wharf rising 80 stories and an office building, east of central London in the dockyards is the longest structure in Britain rising 800 feet high. The square of Trafalgar is in the west of the city, near the Thames River. Two large fountains can be found in the square and Admiral Lord Nelson’s statue; this square has been used mostly for celebrations in the city (How stuff works 1, par 7-9).
The London streets follow bends and twists of the river and the Roman walls which have long disappeared. The current through ways came originally from the village lanes that existed there before. Strangers get confused most of the time because, these streets may have their names put in different places. One name may be found on one side of a street inter-section or a square and the other one will be found on other side. Contrary to streets in America, London roads have no numbering system which is logical and this makes it difficult to navigate through the streets.
To learn the routes will take sometime (Geographers A-Z Map Company, par 1). When it comes to transportation system, it mainly consists of bus lines, surface and underground railways. The main railway stations include: Charing Cross, Waterloo, Paddington and Victoria lines. Two fifths of the city’s railway system covering 250 miles, is made up of London subways. The underground system is made of brick tunnels below the surface. The First line was made in the year 1863 but later, so many of them developed, built in deep tunnels lined with metals which are often called tubes.
London boasts of three international airports and these include: Heathrow and Gatwick which is adjacent to the main railway line from London to Brighton. The third one is Stansted which is in the north east of the city (How stuff works, par 1-3). The London’s tower is a complex of buildings sitting on an 18-acre land. The walls and the grounds are on the Thames River, east side of the city. Mostly, the crown jewels are usually on display here. Yeomen warders in uniforms dating back to 16th century are usually used to guide visitors around the complex.
Next to it is the mansion house which has been in existence since the 16th century and this is the place where the Lord Mayor of the city resides. North of this house stands Guildhall which was put up in the 15th century (How stuff works 5). South west London, rises a cathedral called St. Paul’s which was designed by Sir Christopher Wren. This church is among the largest in the world. The duke of Wellington and Lord Nelson are buried there. On the west side of the cathedral, there is a street called Fleet Street which was once, the center of newspaper publishing in Britain (How stuff works 4, par 2-5).
Just next to it is the knights’ templar medieval headquarters which also harbors the courts’ inns, law schools and legal associations. The Fleet Street merges forming a strand which leads to the west and Westminster. Buckingham palace is situated in this place and it hosts the London sovereigns. Westminster Abbey is also found there and this is where the monarchs are crowned. 8 acres of land around this place is covered with the parliament building and one thing that distinguishes it from other buildings it is its famous clock tower, the clock having a bell called “the Big Ben”.
The Lambeth place is just across Thames from the parliament and this is where the Arch bishop of Canterbury resides (How stuff works 4, par 2-5). White Wall is found between the parliament and the square of Trafalgar . White Wall is a street which is bordered by government buildings. Another one is called Number 10 Downing Street found in the west of the White Wall and it is the prime minister’s home. The district of West end theatre is also found there between Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar square and it is London’s world renowned theatre district which harbors more than a 100 theatres.
Soho is also found in the North and it is known for its famous foreign restaurants and entertainment sites. Mayfair is found in the west characterized by residential areas, hotels, department stores and embassies, which include the US embassy that is found on the Grosvenor square (How stuff works, 5). West end hosts London largest parks. Regents Park can be sighted there and it is on 472 acres of land. It has a lake, open air theatre, a rose garden and the London zoo. Another park, Hyde Park is also found there. It sits on a piece of land of 360 acres which includes a lake called Serpentine.
Marble Arch and bridle path which is called Rotten Row . The speakers’ corner is also found there. Kensington gardens with 275 acres of land adjoin Hyde Park on the west and this is where Kensington palace can be sighted which also hosts the Albert memorial and Peter pan’s statue. Short distance towards west of central London, botanic gardens of the royalty can also be found especially in Kew (How stuff works 5). Major Buildings And Landmarks In London The first major building in city is the tower of London, a prominent building for over 900 years and attracting tourists from all over the globe.
The tower serves the royalties as a palace and a fortress. Ironically, it is also a place where executions take place and jailing of law defaulters. Royal mint, arsenal, menagerie and jewel house are also found here (Barrow, par 1). One of the oldest buildings and the most important centers for religion is the Westminster Abbey. This palace has been used to burry so many queens and kings and there commemoration ceremonies are usually done there. It was founded by Edward the confessor who was later made a saint. Parliament houses are also found in the palace of Westminster.
Buckingham palace has 600 rooms and it is surrounded by a 40-acre garden with 40,000 tulips (Barrow, par 6-10). The Canary Wharf is the tallest building and it is part of the dock lands in London. The Canary is estimated to be 244 meters high and stainless steel has been used o cover it. Another major building is St Paul Cathedral which was built 604 AD but it was later re-built twice after being burnt down twice. The current one was built in 1675 and 1711 . The other monument is the O2 millennium dome which is the largest one in the world covering 180 acres with 320m diameter and the height of 50 m.
It also has support towers of about 100 m high. It was built to commemorate the new millennium and it sits on the Greenwich meridian, longitude 0 degrees. Another one is the London eye. It is one of the London’s modern landmarks, made up of the biggest ferries wheel in the world and it can carry passengers of about 800 in number at a time. Its highest point is about 450 feet and it provides a view that goes covers 25 miles (Barrow, par 10-18). In addition, 30 St Mary Axe was opened in 2004 and it was known as Gherkin because of its oval shape.
It is very visible especially when traveling from different places into London. The outside of the building is made of 24,000 m square glass whish has been arranged in panes that are diamond shaped. Other monuments include the monument of Trafalgar square which was put up in commemoration of the great fire of London which happened in 1666; the tower is 62 meters high. It is just next to Pudding lane where the fire began in the bakers shop. It is also characterized by 311 stairs to the top and one can use it to view London (Barrow, par 18-24).
Other buildings include: One Canada square, Tower 42, Millban tower, St. Paul’s cathedral, Tate modern, St. Pancras chambers, Royal courts of justice, St. Brides church, BT tower, Wembley stadium, Centre point, the Lloyd’s building, Westminster cathedral, the Ark and Christ Church Spitalfields (Emporis Corporation, par 1). London Industries London’s industries form the crucial part of the economy. The industries come in form of manufacturing, aircraft, ship building, and food processing including the chemical industries, offering employment to so many people.
These industries comprise of both small and large scale industries and mostly, different business communities are involved in boosting the growth of these industries though the manufacturing one is the largest sector of London’s economy (Maps of world, par. 1-2). Of all the laborers in London, 16% are found in the manufacturing industry. The leading industries in London include: chemical, electronics, cable manufacture, food processing, vehicle manufacture, and ship and aircraft building. The names associated with aircraft industry include Sopwith Aviation Company, Fairey aviation, Handley Page, Green Engine Co.
and Lucas Rotax among others (Maps of World, par 3-4). Vehicle industry is one of the most recognized industries in London and it is associated with companies such as Ford of Britain, Dagenham, Park ward, Power Drives among others. Those companies that deal with cable manufacturing include: British Insulated Callender’s cables, Siemens, North and Woolwich among others. Food processing is associated with companies such as Pura Foods, Park Royal, The Smith’s Snack Food company and the list is endless (Maps of World, par. 4-7). When it comes to ship building, the companies include; Woolwich Dock Yard, Samuda Brothers, Scott Russell and so on.
Companies associated with chemical manufacturing are; Hackney Wick, Liford photo, Sir William Henry Parking etc. Lastly, is the electronics industry which is associated with companies such as Ferguson Electronics Racal, Plessey, Bush Radio and so on (Maps of World, par. 7-10). These companies vary in the number of the workers employed by each. This is given below in percentages: Manufacturing 16. 2%, trade 14. 7%, educational services 9. 7%, health care and social assistance 13. 5%. Accommodation and food services 5. 8%, finance and insurance, real estate and leasing 7. 3%, agriculture 1.
8%, transport and ware housing 3. 8%. Public administration 3. 0%, construction 4. 7%, business building 4. 8%, information, culture and recreation 4. 2 % and lastly, professional, scientific and technical services 5. 7%. Other industries which are not included amount to 4. 0%. All these companies are under the administration of London chamber of commerce and industries (Maps of World, par. 12). Tourism sector The Londoners benefit mostly from tourism especially in regards to economy and social aspects. It boosts employment rates generating huge income. The businesses have also benefited so much.
10% gross value in London is from the sector and it also employs 13 % of all the workers in London. The city has a record of getting tourists from other parts of the world more than New York, Las Vegas and Sydney. It also attracts these tourists more than any European state (Government Office for London, par 3, 4). Tourism sector generates 2 billion pounds yearly in West London; 14. 7 million tourists who make daily trips to the same region and 5. 4 million tourists visit attraction sites in East London yearly (London’s Councils, par 1). Cultural geographical aspects of London
London is a diverse cultural centre and an international one for that matter. It harbors so many museums, theatres and art galleries, cinemas which offer entertainment of first class level to 300 nationalities and above. The architecture of this city offers the diversity and the historical buildings. Six of London cultural landmarks include: the tower of London, St . Margaret church, Palace of Westminster and the Westminster Abbey and last but not list, the Maritime Greenwich (Europe Cities, par 1-2). When it comes to language, London is considered a multi lingual city.
It has 300 different languages within its boundaries which are often spoken. The city has proven that, compared to Europe and New York, it is the most cosmopolitan city with its internationalism (Buncombe and Mac Arthur, par 2). The most common languages spoken are:English,Bengali,Panjabi,Gujerati,Hindu,Turkish,Arabic,Yorubu,Somali,Cantonese,Greek,Portuguese, French, Spanish, Italian, Vietnamese and the list is endless (Woodlands Junior Academy, par 1). London is characterized by so many events and celebrations each year. Carnaval del pueblo is a Latin American festival which is usually the largest in UK.
It is usually held in August. The other one is City of London festival usually held in June and July and it involves celebration of Music, film, architecture and art. Another one is the London Art fair which is usually held every year in the month of January (First for London, par. 1-3). London boat show is also a major event every January. Others include London Marathon, parade, Lords mayor’s show ,Notting hill Carnival , Rise festival, South West Fest, Spitafields Festival, St. Patrick’s Day, Streatham festival, The Great River Race, and the Mayor’s Thames festival (First for London, par. 4-16).
In London, the largest religious group is Christianity according to the census that took place in the year 2001. This group consists of 58. 2% of all the religions in London. The city is characterized by three Anglican churches which are: St. Paul’s and Southward cathedrals and also Westminster Abbey which usually hosts the crowning of the king and queen of England (Barrow, par 1). The population of the Jews is concentrated in the city of about 56 % of all the Jews in Great Britain. 52% of all Hindus in Great Britain are found in London and they have built magnificent places of worship which include temples.
38% of all Great Britain’s Muslims also live in London from Bangladesh and Pakistan. 31 % of Sikhs and 36 % Buddhists that are found in country reside in London (Barrow, par 4-7). In conclusion, the factor that makes the city unique is its marvelous architecture which has a historical background. Not so many cites in the world are rich in history and culture as compared to London. Almost all the monuments and buildings have some history behind them and this makes them to be world treasures. More to that, these landmarks have a quality touch on them in that, they are unique in their own way.
Right from the foundation of the city to its current state, the history is actually represented in the design and pattern of the city. Work Cited Amazon. Com . A-Z London, 2010. Web. 16 May, 2010, <http://www. amazon. com/Z-London-Londons-Selling-Street/dp/0850397529>. Barrow, Mandy. Buildings and Landmarks in London. Woodlands, 2010. Web. 16 May, 2010, <http://www. woodlands-junior. kent. sch. uk/customs/questions/london/buildings. htm>. Barrow, Mandy. The History of London. Woodlands, 2010. Web. 16 May, 2010, <http://www. woodlands-junior. kent. sch. uk/customs/questions/london/history. htm>. Barrow, Mandy.
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