20 Facts About London
London is one of the world's biggest and most famous cities.
The capital of England and the biggest metropolis in the Europe, London was founded by the Romans, who named it Londinium.
The city hosts millions of international visitors each year and oozes culture and history.
Below are 20 facts about London.
"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford."— Samuel Johnson
1. The city was founded by the Romans, who named the city Londinium.
2. The population of Greater London was 8,673,713 in 2015.
3. London is the largest city in Europe.
4. The city is the capital of England and the UK.
5. London is home for the British royal family with the queen's official residence being Buckingham Palace.
6. In 2016 the city was named as the sixth most expensive city in the world.
“London is a roost for every bird.”— Benjamin Disraeli
7. Tower Bridge was opened on June 30th 1894 by the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII). The bridge is both a suspension bridge and a drawbridge, which takes 61 seconds to raise. The bridge cost £1, 84,000, which is the equivalent of over £100 million in modern money.
8. Many famous historical figures have lived in London over time, including: Voltaire, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allen Poe, Jimi Hendrix, Ho Chi Minh, Mahatma Gandhi, Karl Marx, Vincent Van Gogh, and Sigmund Freud.
9. In 2014 London received more international visitors than any other city in the world, more than 16 million in total.
10. London has the largest concentration of higher education in Europe with 43 universities.
11. A cosmopolitan city, more than 300 languages are spoken within London.
12. The London Underground was built in 1864 and is the oldest underground railway system in the world. It is known in London as the Tube. Ironically, 55% of the underground is not underground.
13. Numerous items have been accidentally left on the Tube by Londoners, including a samurai sword, a stuffed puffer fish, a human skull, and a coffin.
"The lowest and vilest alleys of London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside."— Arthur Conan Doyle
14. London's famous buses were not always red. Buses were coloured variously according to their route before 1907.
15. A little known fact is that "Big Ben" is not the name of the clock tower at the Palace of Westminster, but the bell.
16. All Hallows by the Tower, near Tower Hill, is the oldest church in the city. It was founded in 675. The undercroft has Roman pavement dating back to the 2nd century A.D.
17. The city was the first place in the world to have a public zoo. London Zoo opened in 1828 and was originally intended to be for scientific study.
18. Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto in a room over the Red Lion pub on Great Windmill Street.
"I drive a motorbike, so there is the whiff of the grim reaper round every corner, especially in London."— Benedict Cumberbatch
19. The last execution at the Tower of London took place in 1941. German soldier Josef Jakobs was the last person to be killed there.
20. Marble Arch was built with the intention of being the entrance to Buckingham Palace, but was never used. There is a tiny office inside that was used as a police station for a time.
Brief History of London
- The city was founded by the Romans. They named it Londinium.
- In 1014 the Saxons tore down London Bridge using boats and ropes.
- The city was called Lundenwic during the Saxon occupation.
- The Great Plague of London took place between 1665 and 1666. An estimated 100,000 people died over a period of 18 months, nearly a quarter of London's population.
- In 1666 the Great Fire of London broke out. It is estimated to have burned down the homes of 70,000 of the City's 80,000 residents.
- 30,000 Londoners were killed during the London Blitz in WWII. Many homes and buildings were also destroyed.