Portal:London

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London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. The city stands on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that closely follow its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. London is governed by the mayor of London and the London Assembly.

London is considered to be one of the world's most important global cities and has been called the world's most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, sustainable, most investment-friendly, and most-popular-for-work city. It exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism and transportation. London ranks 26th out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centres and has either the fifth or the sixth-largest metropolitan area GDP. It is the most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the busiest city airport system as measured by passenger traffic. It is the leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers than any other city. As of 2020, London has the second-highest number of billionaires of any city in Europe, after Moscow. In 2019, London had the highest number of ultra high-net-worth individuals in Europe. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe, and London is home to highly ranked institutions such as Imperial College London in natural and applied sciences, and the London School of Economics in social sciences. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games.

London has a diverse range of people and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken in the region. Its estimated mid-2018 municipal population (corresponding to Greater London) was 8,908,081, the third most populous of any city in Europe and accounts for 13.4% of the UK population. London's urban area is the third most populous in Europe, after Moscow and Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census. The London commuter belt is the second-most populous in Europe, after the Moscow Metropolitan Area, with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016.

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Skull and crossbones and an expired hourglass, surrounded by a snake eating its own tail (ouroboros)
Seal of the London Necropolis & National Mausoleum Company

The London Necropolis Company (LNC), formally the London Necropolis & National Mausoleum Company until 1927, was a cemetery operator established by Act of Parliament in 1852 in reaction to the crisis caused by the closure of London's graveyards in 1851. The LNC intended to establish a single cemetery large enough to accommodate all of London's future burials in perpetuity. The company's founders recognised that the recently invented technology of the railway provided the ability to conduct burials a long distance from populated areas, mitigating concerns over public health risks from living near burial sites. Accordingly, the company bought a very large tract of land in Brookwood, Surrey, around 25 miles (40 km) from London, and converted a portion of it into Brookwood Cemetery. A dedicated railway line, the London Necropolis Railway, linked the new cemetery to the city.

Financial mismanagement and internal disputes led to delays in the project. By the time Brookwood Cemetery opened in late 1854, a number of other cemeteries had opened nearer to London or were in the process of opening. While some parishes in London did arrange for the LNC to handle the burials of their dead, many preferred to use nearer cemeteries. The LNC had anticipated handling between 10,000 and 50,000 burials per year, but the number never rose above 4,100 per year, and in its first 150 years of operations only 231,730 burials had been conducted. Buying the land for Brookwood Cemetery and building the cemetery and railway had been very expensive, and by the time the cemetery opened the LNC was already on the verge of bankruptcy. The LNC remained solvent by selling surplus parts of its land, but as the land had been chosen in the first place for its remoteness, sales were low. Read more...

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Photo credit: David Iliff

Built in 1859 and at 4,880 square metres (52,500 sq ft) in area, the Temperate House in Kew Gardens is the largest surviving Victorian glass structure in the world, and houses an extensive collection of temperate plants, including the world's largest indoor plant, the Chilean wine-palm.

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Bowie in Tinley Park, Illinois, during the Heathen Tour, 2002

David Robert Jones (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016), better known by his stage name David Bowie (/ˈbi/ BOH-ee), was an English singer-songwriter and actor. He was a leading figure in the music industry and is regarded as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. He was acclaimed by critics and musicians, particularly for his innovative work during the 1970s. His career was marked by reinvention and visual presentation, with his music and stagecraft having a significant impact on popular music. During his lifetime, his record sales, estimated at over 100 million records worldwide, made him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In the UK, he was awarded ten platinum album certifications, eleven gold and eight silver, and released eleven number-one albums. In the US, he received five platinum and nine gold certifications. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. Rolling Stone placed him among its list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time and following his death in 2016, Bowie was dubbed "The Greatest Rock Star Ever" by the magazine.

Born in Brixton, South London, Bowie developed an interest in music as a child, eventually studying art, music and design before embarking on a professional career as a musician in 1963. "Space Oddity" became his first top-five entry on the UK Singles Chart after its release in July 1969. After a period of experimentation, he re-emerged in 1972 during the glam rock era with his flamboyant and androgynous alter ego Ziggy Stardust. The character was spearheaded by the success of his single "Starman" and album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, which won him widespread popularity. In 1975, Bowie's style shifted radically towards a sound he characterised as "plastic soul", initially alienating many of his UK devotees but garnering him his first major US crossover success with the number-one single "Fame" and the album Young Americans. In 1976, Bowie starred in the cult film The Man Who Fell to Earth, directed by Nicolas Roeg, and released Station to Station. In 1977, he further confounded musical expectations with the electronic-inflected album Low, the first of three collaborations with Brian Eno that came to be known as the "Berlin Trilogy". "Heroes" (1977) and Lodger (1979) followed; each album reached the UK top five and received lasting critical praise. Read more...

Selected quotation

George Bruce, 7th Lord Balfour of Burleigh, quoted, Sayings of the Week, The Observer, 1 October 1944.

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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.

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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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