U N I T E D - K I N G D O M

Table of Contents
(More To Be Added)


(Brief Summary)

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the northwestern coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the northeastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland. Otherwise, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south, and the Atlantic to the southwest, giving it the 12th longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The total area of the United Kingdom is 94,000 square miles (240,000 km).

The United Kingdom is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy. The monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the world's longest serving current head of state. The United Kingdom's capital is London, a global city and financial centre.

The United Kingdom consists of four countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers.

There is much more about the United Kingdom. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.


England, UK

(Brief Summary)

England is the largest part of the island of Great Britain, and is the largest constituent country of the (UK) United Kingdom. Alabama, U.S. is near the size as England. England has an area of 50,336 square miles. Alabama is 52,419 square miles. Based on data from the last census taken in 2011, the majority of the UK's population is situated in England, approximately 54 million people. This accounts for approximately 84 percent of the population of the UK.

Scotland and Wales are also part of Great Britain and the UK, Scotland to the north and Wales to the west. To the east and south, and part of the west, England is bordered by sea. France is to the south, separated by the English Channel. The Channel Tunnel, (Chunnel) under the English Channel, connects England to northern France and the rest of mainland Europe. Ireland is a large island to the west, divided into Northern Ireland that is part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland.

England has over sixty counties. London is the largest city and the capital with almost nine million people. Other large cities are Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Bristol, Nottingham, Liverpool, and Leeds. Leeds is one of the rainiest cities in Europe with 1024 mm precipitation per year.

The longest river in England is the River Severn. Other large rivers are the Thames, the Trent, and the Humber. The Thames, which flows through London, has over 200 bridges and 20 tunnels.

French was the official language of England for approximately 300 years, from 1066 till 1362. The most used languages now are English, Polish, and Welsh. Polish is now the main language spoken in England after English.

London is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world. More than a third of the population is born outside of the UK and over 300 languages are spoken in London.

Although English is the first official language, there are a wide variety of accents throughout the country. It is difficult to determine the exact number. Although some accents are widespread, some are highly localised to areas less than 20 miles across e.g. Scouse around Liverpool. Blending is sometimes detectable, but changes are often very abrupt over a short distance. A single "British accent" does not exist, there are English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish accents, with several subtype accents.

The UK has a high literacy rate of over 99 percent among residents aged 15 and older. This is attributed to the universal public education provided to UK residents, both in primary and secondary schools. The University of Oxford is the oldest higher education institution in the UK.

Approximately 49 percent of the UK population is irreligious (or has no particular affiliation with any religion), 17 percent is affiliated with an Anglican Christian, 17 percent with a non-Anglican Christian faith, eight percent Roman Catholic, five percent Islamic, and four percent other beliefs. Only Protestants may gain the crown of king or queen. Royals eligible for the crown have only recently been allowed to marry those of the Catholic faith without losing their eligibility.

The pound sterling is 1200 years old, which makes it the world's oldest currency still in use.

The English flag is a red cross on a white background. This cross is the cross of Saint George, who is the patron saint of England. Other symbols used for England are a red rose and three lions.


(Interesting Information)

There are more chickens than people in England.

David and Susan are the most common first names. Smith, Jones, and Williams are the most common last names. There is believed to be approximately 30,000 men named John Smith.

The United Kingdom was the first country to use postage stamps. Issued in May 1840, the first stamp was the Penny Black and featured the then-monarch, Queen Victoria. Currently, England is the only country that doesn't have its name on its stamps. In 1967, the Machin stamp design profiled Queen Elizabeth II on a solid colour background and that stamp is still the standard British stamp. It has been printed in many different colours. Some people believe it is illegal to put the queen's head upside down by sticking postage stamps on envelopes upside down, but that is a myth.

Windsor Castle is the oldest royal household on the planet, and dates back to the 11th century.

England has the world's largest library with over 174 million books. The British Library has been listed as a Grade 1 building, located in the area of London King's Cross. Among the extraordinary collection is the world's earliest printed book, the Diamond Sutra, dating from the Tanf dynasty in 868; two 1215 copies of the Magna Carta; and one of Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks.

British Library is the second largest library in the world. It has over 150 million items.

The treasures contained in the British Museum span two million years of world civilization.

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England, in April 1564. Shakespeare added approximately 3,000 words to the English language.

The UK is where many recognized musicians and famous music bands were born, far too many to list.

The UK has only 15 National Parks, but they cover eight percent of British land.

The city where the first fire department appeared was Edinburgh.

English people consume more tea per capita than most cultures in the world, even more than the Japanese.

York was the first English city to become settled permanently by the Danish Vikings (in 867) and the last to remain under Viking rule (until 954).

England's most popular dishes include Spotted Dick, Bangers and Mash, and Toad in the Hole.

The UK has approximately 10,500 fish and chip shops. The oldest fish and chip shop dates back to 1865, near Leeds.

The highest temperature ever recorded in England was 38.5℃ (101.3℉) in Brogdale, Kent.

Beer has been brewed in England for hundreds of years.

In 1662, British physicist and naturalist Christopher Merret documented the deliberate addition of sugar to wine, essentially creating the champagne fizz that we enjoy. Dom Perignon is commonly considered the first person to invent champagne, later in 1697. Regardless, they both stumbled upon a delicious drink.

The tradition to celebrate the "Day of Kisses" began in the UK. Later, the UN listed it as an international holiday. It is celebrated annually on July 6th.

The Queen owns every swan in the country.

Horses, ponies, donkeys, and zebras must have passports.

There is much more about England. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.


(Hertfordshire, England)

Hertford is a historic market town that is twenty miles north of London in the East Hertfordshire countryside. It is a commuter town for London, and has two train stations and local bus service. It is one of the most desirable places to live in the UK. Hertfordshire is the second safest county in the UK. The population of Hertford is a little more than 29,000. The schools are outstanding and many students achieve the top GCSE and A-Level results in the country. The town dates back to the 10th Century. In 1994 a water sculpture called "Confluence" was erected in Salisbury Square. The fountain represents the four rivers that flow into Hertford, the Lea, Mimram, Rib, and Beane.

Rivers Mimram, Rib, and Beane are chalk streams. Chalk streams are streams that flow through chalk hills. They are usually wide and shallow, and due to the filtering effect of the chalk their waters are alkaline and very clear. Chalk streams are popular with fly fishermen who fish for trout. Only 200 chalk streams are known globally, 85 percent are found in the UK in southern and eastern England. Other examples include the rivers Itchen and Avon in Wessex and the river Wensum in Norfolk.

Hertford has been the county town of Hertfordshire since Saxon times when it was governed by the king's reeves. A bailiff, elected by the burgesses, by the 13th century, had replaced the reeves. Charters of 1554 and 1589 established a common council of eleven chief burgesses and a bailiff. Another charter of 1605 changed the bailiff's title to mayor. In 1835, Hertford became a Municipal Corporation; the ratepayers elected twelve councillors, who chose aldermen and councillors to compose the council. This body elected the mayor.

The earliest reference to the town appears in the Ecclesiastical History of the English People, written by Bede in 731 AD, which refers to Herutford. Herut is the Old English spelling of hart, meaning a fully mature stag; thus the meaning of the name is a ford where harts are found. The Domesday Book of 1086 gives a spelling of Hertforde.

Since 1974, Hertford has been within the East Hertfordshire district of Hertfordshire. The headquarters of Hertfordshire County Council is at County Hall in Hertford. East Herts District Council's offices almost adjoin County Hall, and there is also a Hertford Town Council based at Hertford Castle.

Hertford is a pretty town with beautiful old buildings. The countryside has green fields stretching for miles. The town centre has a medieval layout with many timber-framed buildings hidden under frontages. Hertford has a thriving community, a farmers market, theatre, castle remains, and several restaurants, bars, and pubs.

There are over 200 businesses in the town centre that include specialty shops, chain stores, restaurants, hairdressers, estate agents, banks, and various retail services. Restaurants include the award-winning Lussmann's. Lussmann's is in The Egyptian House, a building rumoured to have been a meeting place of the Knights Templar and is now part of Hertford's Heritage Trail.

The Knights Templar

Hertford has long been the subject of speculation and conspiracy theories about the Knights Templar. It is rumoured that Hertford might be one of the places where the order hid its treasure, and some say it is the resting place of the Holy Grail. There is supposed to be an elaborate network of secret tunnels and passages beneath Hertford that was constructed by the Templars.


There are several churches in Hertford. All Saints and St. Andrew's are late and mid 19th century respectively, although both stand on sites of medieval places of worship. A stained glass window in St. Andrew's Church is part of a fringe theory that links Hertford to the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail. In the northern suburb of Bengeo lies St Leonard's. It is a two-celled Norman church of considerable architectural interest.

Yarn Bombers

The Yarn Bombers are a secret society in Hertford. Its esteemed members knit creations and then place them all around the town. Christmas trees, post-boxes, and Hertford Castle have been adorned with knitted creations. All proceeds the society makes goes to charities.

Sele Mill

Britain's first paper mill was established in Hertford in 1488. Sele Mill was set up by John Tate and used by some ot the great printers of the time, including Wynkyn de Worde, original name Jan Van Wynkyn. Wynkyn de Worde was a business partner of William Caxton. Wynkyn de Worde was the first printer in England to use italic type (1524). Books printed in 1494 on paper showing the Tate watermark still survive today.

The Addis Factory

The Addis factory was a major employer in Hertford until 1996. William Addis, a stationer in the East of London, started the company in 1780. He started making bone toothbrushes, which became the mainstay of his business. In 1920 the family moved to Hertford, taking premises on Ware Road. Addis provided employment to approximately 800 people, including girls and women, transporting many from surrounding villages on a coach. Addis was reputed to be the oldest firm of toothbrush makers in the world.

Hertford Museum

Hertford Museum is in a 17th century historic town house, with a Jacobean-style knot garden. The Museum has more than 100,000 objects. Collections include archaeology, paper ephemera, ethnography, fine art, geology, natural history, photographs, social history, and the Hertfordshire Regiment collection. They also have the Addis company archive, including the largest collection (approximately 5000) of toothbrushes in the UK.

Alfred Russel Wallace

The home of Alfred Russel Wallace, now named Wallace House, can be found at 11 St. Andrew Street and is marked with a plaque. Wallace who proposed a theory of natural selection at the same time as Charles Darwin lived in Hertford between the ages of five and thirteen and attended Hertford Grammar School.

Captain W.E. Johns

W.E. (William Earl) Johns was an English First World War pilot, and writer of adventure stories, usually written under the pen name Capt. W. E. Johns. He was the creator of the fictional air adventurer Biggles. Johns was born in Bengeo, a suburb and former village on the northwest edge of Hertford. One of the most famous fictional World War I heroes, Biggles, is linked to Hertford because 41 Cowbridge is the childhood home of author W.E. Johns and Johns attended school in Hertford.

Jack Trevor Story

Prolific novelist Jack Trevor Story was born in Hertford. His best-known works are the 1949 comic mystery, The Trouble with Harry, which was adapted for Alfred Hitchcock's 1955 film with the same name, the Albert Argyle trilogy (Live Now, Pay Later, Something for Nothing, and The Urban District Lover), and his Horace Spurgeon novels (I Sit in Hanger Lane, One Last Mad Embrace, and Hitler Needs You). He also wrote under the names Alex Atwell, Bret Harding, and Rex Riotti.

Jane Austen

It is said that author Jane Austen based the fictional town of Meryton in Pride and Prejudice on the town of Hertford. It is acknowledged that much of Pride and Prejudice is probably set in Hertfordshire, and Meryton does have a strong resemblance to Hertford. Austen's father had an excellent library with many reference books and Austen was proficient in England's geography.

Pride and Prejudice is a romantic novel of manners written in 1813. It appears near the top of lists of most-loved books among literary scholars and the reading public. It is one of the most popular novels in English literature.

Steventon is in north Hampshire, England. It is best known as the birthplace of the Jane Austen, who lived there from 1775 to 1801. The house was demolished early in the 19th century soon after Austen and her family moved to Bath. Though the Rectory in Steventon where Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, and Sense and Sensibility is gone, the site is still marked by an old lime tree that is believed to have been planted by Austen's eldest brother, James, who took over the parish from his father. Steventon is approximately 79 miles from Hertford.

Deep Purple

Deep Purple is an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. They are considered to be pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a psychedelic rock and progressive rock band, they shifted to a heavier sound with their 1970 album Deep Purple in Rock. Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath are referred to as the "unholy trinity" of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies. Deep Purple has sold over 100 million albums worldwide.

Deep Purple held the Guinness Book of World Records title in the 1975-76 edition as the World's Loudest Band for a concert in 1972 in London when they reached 117 dB. The Rolling Stones, KISS, and AC/DC have since beaten their 117 dB volume.

Rupert Grint

Rupert Grint is a popular English actor. He rose to prominence for his portrayal of Ron Weasley, one of the three main characters in the Harry Potter film series. Grint was born in Harlow, Essex, England. He grew up in Watton-at-Stone, Hertfordshire and attended Richard Hale School, in Hertford. His father dealt in car racing memorabilia, and his mother was a homemaker. Rupert Grint is an ambassador for the children's charity Starlight.

Starlight Children's Foundation is a nonprofit organization. Its programs include providing hospital wear, games, and deliveries to hospitalized children. It was founded in 1982. In 2013 Rupert Grint attended a Starlight Annual Children's Christmas Party where he helped make the dearest wish of one of his young fans, nine-year-old Callum Wilson, come true. Wilson suffers from a serious condition called neurofibromatosis, which causes tumours to grow along his nerves. Meeting Rupert Grint was a dream come true for him.


Hertford Theatre, previously known as Castle Hall, is a modern theatre, cinema, and art gallery complex at The Wash in the town centre. The Hertford Corn Exchange is a building where entertainment such as comedy and art exhibitions take place. Hertford has many food, drink, and entertainment establishments. Hertford has a public swimming pool, gym facilities, and a skatepark, all situated on Hartham Common.


A non-league football club, Hertford Town FC, plays at Hertingfordbury Park. Hertford Town Youth FC, a FA Charter Standard Football Club, plays at County Hall Playing Fields. Other clubs surrounding the town include Bury Rangers, Hertford Heath Youth FC, and Bengeo Tigers Football Club, an award-winning FA Charter Standard Community Football Club.

Hertford Cricket Club is an English amateur cricket club. Cricket records for a Hertford club go back to 1825. The club in its present form has been in existence since 1860. The club plays its matches at Balls Park, Hertford.

Interesting Information

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist George Ezra was born and grew up in Hertford where he attended Simon Balle School.

The oldest "Friends Meeting House" in the world, in use since 1670, is on Railway Street in Hertford. A "Friends Meeting House" is of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), where meetings for worship are held. Quakers usually do not believe that meetings for worship must occur in any special place. They believe that "where two or three meet together in my name, I am there among them" - revised English Bible, Matthew, Ch 18, v 20. Meetings for worship may take place in any place. Early Quakers often met for worship outdoors or in public buildings. When the Religious Society of Friends began to grow, there became a need for buildings to house meetings.

The Egyptian House on Fore Street in Hertford, built c. 1824, is an example of Egyptian revival architecture. It is currently a restaurant.

There is much more about Hertford. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.


London, England

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. It covers an area of approximately 600 square miles; similar in size to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA and Houston, Texas, USA, both which are approximately 600 square miles. The city of London stands on the River Thames in the southeast 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. There are more iconic buildings and landmarks in London than most other cities in the world. Also, London is an easy to walk about city.

London is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. More than 300 languages are spoken. London is home to almost nine million people, which is its highest population since 1939. According to the Greater London Authority, approximately 44 percent of London now consists of black and ethnic minorities, compared to approximately 29 percent in 2001. The accent of a 21st-century Londoner varies widely. What is becoming more common among the under-30s, is a fusion of Cockney with an array of ethnic accents, in particular Caribbean, which has help form an accent labeled Multicultural London English.

The "City of London" is a small portion of London's sprawling metropolis. It has a population of approximately 9,200 residents, making it the smallest in England. It has approximately 16 million visitors every year.

According to the 2011 Census, the largest religious grouping in London is Christian (48.4 percent), followed by those of no religion (20.7 percent), Muslim (12.4 percent), no response (8.5 percent), Hindu (5.0 percent), Jewish (1.8 percent), Sikh (1.5 percent), Buddhist (1.0 percent) and other (0.6 percent).

The climate of London has a temperate oceanic climate. This gives the city cool winters, warm summers, with frequent precipitation all year. The best time to visit London is March through May when the temperatures are mild and parks are green and blooming. However, late spring and summer are also prime tourist seasons.

Not As Rainy As Suggested: London is said to be a very rainy city, but that is not true. London has less rain than Rome, Miami, and Sydney by volume and by the number of rainy days.

The Romans who founded the square mile as the first City of London named London in 43 CE. 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 Old English, the ancestor-language of English.

London is the seat of the Government of the United Kingdom. Many government departments, as well as the prime minister's residence at 10 Downing Street, are based close to the Palace of Westminster, particularly along Whitehall. There are 73 members of Parliament (MPs) from London, elected from local parliamentary constituencies in the national Parliament. As of December 2019, 49 are from the Labour Party, 21 are Conservatives, and three are Liberal Democrats. The ministerial post of minister for London was created in 1994.

The City of London, London's ancient core and financial center - an area of 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and known as the Square Mile - retains boundaries that closely follow its medieval limits. The adjacent City of Westminster is an Inner London borough and has for centuries been the location of much of the national government. Thirty-one additional boroughs north and south of the river also comprise modern London. The mayor of London and the London Assembly governs London.

Over half of the UK's top 100 listed companies (the FTSE 100) and over 100 of Europe's 500 largest companies have their headquarters in central London. Over 70 percent of the FTSE 100 are within London's metropolitan area, and 75 percent of Fortune 500 companies have offices in London.

London is one of the world's most important global cities. It has considerable impact upon the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism, and transportation. It is one of the largest financial centers. Approximately 85 percent of UK's fashion designers are based in London. In 2019, London had the highest number of ultra high-net-worth individuals in Europe.

London is a major global center of higher education teaching and research and has the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 1878, London University was the first in Britain to allow women to study and grant degrees to them. The majority of primary and secondary schools and further-education colleges in London are controlled by the London boroughs or otherwise state-funded.

London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; Kew Gardens; the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St. Margaret's Church; and the historic settlement in Greenwich where the Royal Observatory, Greenwich defines the Prime Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St. Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, and The Shard.

London has more than 170 museums, galleries, libraries, other institutions, and sporting events. These include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library, and West End theatres. Three of the top ten museums and galleries in the world are in London.

London offers free admission to museums, art galleries, exhibitions, and parks. London is one of the few cities in the world where you can see masterpiece art for free. In 2015 the top most-visited attractions in the UK were all in London. The top ten visited attractions were, The British Museum, The National Gallery, The Natural History Museum - South Kensington, The Southbank Centre, Tate Modern, The Victoria and Albert Museum - South Kensington, The Science Museum, Somerset House, The Tower of London, and The National Portrait Gallery. The British Library is the largest library in the world, and the national library of the United Kingdom.

London is one of the leading tourist destinations in the world and in 2015 was ranked as the most visited city in the world with over 65 million visits. It was also the top city in the world by visitor cross-border spending, estimated at US $20.23 billion in 2015. Tourism is one of London's prime industries, employing the equivalent of 350,000 full-time workers in 2003, and the city accounts for 54 percent of all inbound visitor spending in the UK.

In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games, having hosted in 1908, 1948 and in 2012. The 1908 Olympics were the longest in the history of the event, lasting 187 days.


The London Underground
The Docklands Light Railway

The London Underground, commonly referred to as the Tube, it is the oldest and third longest metro system in the world. The system serves 270 stations and was formed from several private companies, including the world's first underground electric line, the City and South London Railway. It dates from 1863. Over four million journeys are made each day and over one billion each year. More than half of the London Underground is actually above ground; approximately 55 percent of the tube network runs on surface level.

Scientists have discovered a unique type of mosquito in the underground of London. This species has evolved independently from other mosquitoes. Culex Pipiens Molestus is a subspecies of mosquito that has specific habits suited to its life on the London Underground. It can live in dark places for long periods of time, doesn't have to hibernate, is a voracious biter, and doesn't need water to lay its eggs.

The Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which opened in 1987, is a second, more local metro system using smaller and lighter tram-type vehicles that serve the Docklands, Greenwich, and Lewisham.


London's bus network runs 24 hours a day, with approximately 8,500 buses, more than 700 bus routes, and about 19,500 bus stops. More than six million people take a London bus each day. Each year, the buses on London's transport system drive over 300 million miles, which is more than 12 times the earth's circumference. London buses were not always red. Before 1907, different routes had different-colored buses.

London's first and to date only cable car is the Emirates Air Line, which opened in June 2012. The cable car crosses the River Thames, and links Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks in the east of the city.

Cycling: In the greater London area, approximately 650,000 people use a bike everyday.

Port and riverboats: The Port of London, once the largest in the world, is now the second largest in the United Kingdom. It handles 45 million tons of cargo each year as of 2009. Most of the cargo passes through the Port of Tilbury, outside the boundary of Greater London. London has riverboat services on the Thames known as Thames Clippers, which offers commuter and tourist boat services.

Automobiles: Although the majority of journeys in central London are made by public transport, car travel is common in the suburbs. The inner ring road (around the city center), the North and South Circular roads (just within the suburbs), and the outer orbital motorway (the M25, just outside the built-up area in most places) encircle the city and are intersected by a number of busy radial routes, but few motorways penetrate into inner London. London city center is notorious for traffic congestion. Vehicles driving through the city average a top speed of approximately 7.5 miles per hour.

Black Cabs: Drivers for London's black cabs must pass an incredibly difficult London geography test known as the Knowledge exam. They must identify 320 routes, name 25,000 streets within those routes, and recognize approximately 20,000 landmarks and places of interest within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross. It takes 2-4 years to learn all that is necessary to pass the Knowledge exam. As of 2020 there are approximately 21,000 black cabs in London, licensed by the Public Carriage Office.

Literature: London has been the setting for many works of literature. The pilgrims in Geoffrey Chaucer's late 14th-century Canterbury Tales set out for Canterbury from London - specifically, from the Tabard Inn, Southwark. William Shakespeare spent a large part of his life living and working in London. Shakespeare's contemporary Ben Jonson was also based there. Some of Jonson's work, most notably his play The Alchemist, was set in London. A Journal of the Plague Year (1722) by Daniel Defoe is a fictionalization of the events of the 1665 Great Plague.

The literary centers of London have traditionally been hilly Hampstead and (since the early 20th century) Bloomsbury. Writers closely associated with the city are the diarist Samuel Pepys, noted for his eyewitness account of the Great Fire; Charles Dickens, whose representation of a foggy, snowy, grimy London of street sweepers and pickpockets has been a major influence on people's vision of early Victorian London; and Virginia Woolf, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the 20th century.

Important depictions of London from the 19th and early 20th centuries are Dickens' novels and Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. Also of significance is Letitia Elizabeth Landon's Calendar of the London Seasons (1834). Modern writers influenced by the city include Peter Ackroyd, author of, "London: The Biography" and Iain Sinclair, a Welsh writer and filmmaker. Much of Sinclair's work is rooted in London, most recently within the influences of psychogeography. The village of Hampstead has historically been a literary center in London. Many playwrights and poets are buried at Westminster Abbey. Voltaire, Edgar Allen Poe, Ho Chi Minh, Mahatma Gandhi, Vincent Van Gogh, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Karl Marx, Benjamin Franklin, Charles Darwin, Sylvia Plath, Charles Dickens, Florence Nightingale, Sigmund Freud, George Frederic Handel, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Hiter's older half-brother, and numerous other renowned people lived in London for a time. You can visit the home of Benjamin Franklin at 36 Craven Street in London.



The house where Vincent van Gogh lived when he first arrived in London in 1873, aged 20, is open to the public and has guided tours. Van Gogh House London is at 87 Hackford Road in Stockwell, South London. The house is where he lived for approximately one year at the beginning of his work at an art dealership. His work was less interesting in London than it had been in The Hague, but he enjoyed the English way of life and the city, with its lovely parks and interesting museums. The discovery of the house's most famous resident almost didn't happen. The building escaped the bombs that destroyed other houses around it during The Blitz. The Blitz was a German bombing campaign against the United Kingdom in 1940 and 1941, during the Second World War. The term was first used by the British press and is the German word for lightning.

In 1971 postman Paul Chalcroft discovered that Vincent van Gogh had lived in the house. Two years later an official blue plaque was erected. The house was a private family residence until it was purchased with the intention of opening it to the public. It was refurbished with meticulous attention to detail from the beautifully restored fireplaces to the original staircase and floorboards. The conservation team found several items under floorboards and in the rafters, including a small Victorian painting of the house, insurance documents, and a 1870s prayer book. It is believed that van Gogh, coming from a religious family, had likely given the prayer book to his landlady.


Blue Plaques: Numerous famous people have lived in London. London's famous blue plaques link them with the buildings they lived or worked in. London blue plaques began in 1866. Over 950 plaques honor the notable men and women who lived or worked in the buildings.

London has been the home of countless famous musicians from classical composers to rock stars. Renowned 17th-century composer George Frederic Handel lived in London. Handel was the neighbor of American guitar legend Jimi Hendrix who lived his final years in London. Hendrix lived at 23 Brook Street. Handel lived two doors down at 25 Brook Street from 1723 to his death in 1759. Although Handel and Hendrix lived in London 300 years apart, they both are celebrated at the Handel & Hendrix in London Museum (previously Handel House Museum) in Mayfair, London.

Many people believe that the Beatles are the best and most important band in rock history. The Beatles were born and raised by the Mersey in Liverpool, but they spent a significant portion of their careers living in London. The only true home shared by all four Beatles was a flat at 57 Green Street near Hyde Park, where they lived in the autumn of 1963. They played their last gig on the roof of Apple Corps at 3 Saville Row. Trident Studios, off Wardour Street, is where the Beatles made much of the White Album and David Bowie recorded Ziggy Stardust.

London is one of the major classical and popular music capitals of the world and hosts music corporations, such as Universal Music Group International and Warner Music Group, as well as countless bands, musicians, and industry professionals. The city is home to many concert halls. London has six orchestras: The Royal Philharmonic, The London Philharmonic, The BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, and the London Symphony Orchestra.

London has played a significant role in the film industry. There were 14,350 film "shooting days" in London in 2007, making it the third most filmed city in the world. In 2015 London had approximately 13 percent of the UK's population but approximately 55 percent of the UK's film companies. At that time London and the South East had approximately 67 percent of jobs in the film and video production sector. The vast majority of companies involved in film production, post-production and distribution are concentrated in London and the South East, where the exhibition sector is much more geographically diverse.

Greenery: The amount of greenery and green space in London is enormous. Green space covers almost 40 percent of greater London. The density of trees per square mile qualifies London as a forest as per the United Nations definition. A 2013 report by the City of London Corporation said London is the "greenest city" in Europe with 35,000 acres of public parks, woodlands, and gardens. The largest parks in the central area of London are three of the eight Royal Parks: Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, and Regent's Park. Hyde Park is popular for sports and hosts open-air concerts. Regent's Park contains London Zoo, the world's oldest scientific zoo, and is near Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Primrose Hill, immediately to the north of Regent's Park, at 256 feet is a popular spot from which to view London's skyline.


London Zoo

Opened in 1828 by the Zoological Society of London, London Zoo is the world's oldest scientific zoo and the brainchild of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, who was also renowned for founding Singapore. London Zoo was only meant to be open to scientists to carry out research into animals and animal behavior. The general public was not permitted to see inside. For nearly 20 years only fellows of the society were allowed to access the zoo for scientific study, until the doors were opened to the general public in 1847 to help funding. Today, it houses a collection of 673 species of animals, with 19,289 individuals, making it one of the largest collections in the United Kingdom. London Zoo is sometimes called Regent's Zoo. At the start of World War II, London Zoo killed every venomous animal they had. This was in case the zoo was bombed and the animals managed to escape into the city.

A female bear named Winnie lived at London Zoo from 1914 until her death in 1934. She was brought to the zoo by a Canadian regiment that was called to fight in France during the First World War. Unlike most bears, she was tame and enjoyed being handled. Author A.A. Milne changed the name of his iconic fictional character Pooh to Winnie-the-Pooh after the real Winnie became his son Christopher Robin's favorite animal. Christopher Robin had changed his toy bear's name to Winnie-the-Pooh after seeing the real bear at London Zoo. Also, the real Winnie had black fur and she did not wear a small red t-shirt, of course.


Buckingham Palace

Buckingham Palace is located in the heart of London. It is the official residence of the current monarch of the British Royal Family, Queen Elizabeth II. It was constructed in 1703 but it has been the official royal residence since 1837. The grounds span 39 acres and the Palace is bordered by beautiful public spaces Green Park and St. James Park. There's a series of tunnels that run underneath Buckingham Palace. Visitors can tour the State Rooms of Buckingham Palace when the Queen isn't in residence. The Queen has her own flag, if it is flying that means she is in residence. If the British Union Jack flag is flying, the Queen is somewhere else. A popular traditional ceremony that visitors can watch for free is the Changing of the Guard when the "New Guard" changes shifts with the "Old Guard" at the Palace. Queen Victoria became the first monarch to reside in Buckingham Palace from 1837.


Interesting Information

London, England isn't the only city in the world called London. The United States has ten, Canada has one, and France has one.

Despite popular belief, it isn't illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament. However, it is illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armor.

Name Confusion: The name Big Ben more often than not refers to both the clock and the tower. But, Big Ben is the nickname of one of the bells that is inside the clock. Big Ben is the largest of the tower's five bells and weighs 13.7 tons. The name of the tower is no longer the Clock Tower or St. Stephen's Tower. It is now the Elizabeth Tower.

It is said that some of the best Indian restaurants are in London, rivaling Mumbai and Delhi. In London, there are more Indian restaurants than in Mumbai and Delhi. Approximately 43 million portions of chicken tikka masala are served per year in restaurants across Britain. London has one of the largest Indian restaurants in the world, The Aakash, which can seat 750 people in one sitting.

Borough Market is a wholesale and retail market in Southwark, London. It is one of the largest and oldest food markets in London, with a market on the site dating back to at least the 12th century. The present buildings were built in the 1850s, and today the market mainly sells specialty foods to the general public. Borough Market and the surrounding streets have been used as a film location for such feature films as Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). More recently some scenes in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) were shot there.

Cereal Killer Café was a café on Brick Lane in Spitalfields, London that served more than 100 varieties of global cereal brands, 12 kinds of milk, and 20 toppings. It also sold coffee, toast, and pop-tarts. It was the first cereal-themed café in the United Kingdom. Sadly, it announced its closure on July 8, 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

London and New York City, USA, are similar in many respects. They are cosmopolitan cities, they are ridiculously expensive, and they are important fashion centers. London is thought to be cleaner than New York, but it is still quite dirty. One reason is its huge rat population. Most Londoners have seen rats scuttling here and there.

Urban foxes are a familiar sight in London. There are approximately 10,000 foxes living in London and in certain boroughs they are more common than in the surrounding countryside.

The Great Plague killed approximately 25 million people, which was about a third of the population of Europe in the 15th Century. This greatly affected London because living conditions were poor, streets were narrow, and there was a general lack of sanitation. More than 100,000 people died in London in a short span of time. Men known as searchers shouted, "Bring out your dead" during the warm summer of 1665, they carted off the corpses and put them in mass burial pits. Some of these gravesite pits are still being discovered.

London was reeling from the disastrous death toll of the Great Plague and then the Great Fire of London happened in 1666. The fire began in Pudding Lane and burned for four days and four nights. It destroyed more than 13,000 houses, 80 churches, and left approximately 100,000 people homeless. Even though the fire reduced large parts of the city to ruins, the verified death toll was only six people. However, the true number of deaths is undetermined because many people died from indirect causes. A 203-foot monument located 203 feet from where the fire broke out commemorates those who died.

The London Eye was not the first big wheel in London. The Great Wheel was the first. The Great Wheel was constructed in 1895 for the Empire of India Exhibition. It was demolished in 1907, 91 years before construction started on the London Eye. The London Eye was built in 1998 to commemorate the upcoming new millennium. It is the largest landmark of its kind and Europe's tallest cantilevered observation wheel, standing 443 feet tall with panoramic views. The London Eye officially opened in 2000. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United Kingdom. Passengers ride in one of 32 sealed capsules, each holds 25 people and weighs ten tons. An entire rotation takes approximately 30 minutes.

The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree is gifted to the people of Britain from Norway each year since 1947. The tree is prominently displayed in Trafalgar Square from early December until January 6th. The tree has been an annual gift of gratitude for British support to Norway during the Second World War.

Trafalgar Square was once renowned for housing thousands of feral pigeons, which tourists frequently fed or posed with for photographs. In 2003, London's mayor banned feeding the pigeons and forbade selling pigeon feed near the square. Hawks were used to help reduce the enormous pigeon population.

Four enormous bronze lions, each weighing seven tons, sit underneath Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square. They are one of the most popular sites to visit in London.

A statue of George Washington is at Trafalgar Square. There is a popular legend that Washington, whose family came from the North East of England, said he would never set foot on British soil again. So, American soil was put under the statue to comply with his wishes. Other statues in London of American presidents are Abraham Lincoln, (FRD) Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower, Ronald Wilson Reagan, and John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy.


Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper was an English serial killer. Between August and November 1888, he brutally murdered at least five women, all prostitutes, in or near the Whitechapel district of London's East End. Authorities and mystery aficionados have suspected a number of possible people to be the notorious Jack the Ripper, including Prince Albert, Lewis Carroll, and Sir William Gull who was Queen Victoria's doctor. Today the murder sites are part of a London's tourist industry and there is a museum dedicated to the history of Jack the Ripper. The museum contains artifacts and recreates the settings where the murders took place.

In 2014, author Russell Edwards claimed that Aaron Kozmiñski, a 23-year-old barber and hairdresser of Polish descent, was Jack the Ripper. In 2007 Edwards bought a shawl that he believed to have been left at a Jack the Ripper murder scene and gave it to biochemist Jari Louhelainen to test for DNA. A peer-reviewed article on the DNA analysis was published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences in 2019.

Scientists from Innsbruck Medical University criticize the paper and its conclusions, citing a number of mistakes and assumptions made by its authors. Some researchers say there is no evidence that the shawl was present at a Jack the Ripper crime scene and that mitochondrial DNA provides inconclusive evidence linking Kozmiñski to the murders.

This is not the only time a person named Kozmiñski has been considered a potential suspect. Investigative notes from the time refer to a person named Kozmiñski, and a witness claimed to have seen Kozmiñski attacking one of Jack the Ripper's victims with a knife, although the witness later refused to testify. With no evidence, police never made an arrest. In 1891, Aaron Kozmiñski was institutionalized after threatening a woman with a knife. He died of gangrene in the London institution in 1919, at the age of 53.


The literary detective Sherlock Holmes was a famous London resident. In the popular stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes lived on Baker Street. Today there is a Sherlock Holmes Museum. One house where Charles Dickens lives still stands, at 48 Doughty Street, which is now a museum. Dickens lived there from 1837 and 1839. It is where he wrote Oliver Twist and The Pickwick Papers.

Shakespeare's Globe is a reconstruction of the Globe Theatre, an Elizabethan playhouse for which William Shakespeare wrote his plays, in the London Borough of Southwark, on the south bank of the River Thames. The original theatre was built in 1599, destroyed by the fire in 1613, rebuilt in 1614, and then demolished in 1644. The modern Globe Theatre is an academic approximation based on available evidence of the 1599 and 1614 buildings. It is considered quite realistic, though modern safety requirements mean that it accommodates only 1,400 spectators compared to the original theatre's 3,000.

Great Ormond Street Hospital is a children's hospital located in the Bloomsbury area of the London. The hospital owns the copyright to Peter Pan and receives all royalties from all associated works and performances. Author J.M. Barrie, who had no children, gifted the rights to his famous novel to the hospital in 1929.

A small statue of "Sam the Cat" is next to a red telephone box in Queen Square. Several hospitals, including the well-known Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, are located here. The local community donated the statue in memory of a beloved nurse named Patricia Penn, who died in 1992. Sam was one of Patricia's pets.

Behind the black iron gates of Downing Street, home of the British Prime Minister, lives Larry, a gray and white tabby cat, in residence since 2011. His official title is Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office. Larry is responsible for keeping the mouse population in check. Sometimes he is seen fighting with his neighbor rival named Palmerston, a black and white cat who also has an official title, Chief Mouser to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

There is a beautiful copper alloy statue of a Gayer-Anderson cat in the Egyptian Hall. It has gold earrings and a nose ring. It is believed to date from approximately 600 BC and was donated to the British Museum in 1939 by Major John Gayer-Anderson, an Egyptian artifact collector.

London has more than 7,000 pubs. Many of the pubs are associated with artists, writers, and poets. The Fitzroy Tavern on Charlotte Street was famous for hosting Dylan Thomas, George Orwell, and English occultist, Aleister Crowley, who invented a cocktail once served there. The Coach and Horses Pub has been the haunt of many artists, journalists, and actors, including Tom Baker and John Hurt. Karl Marx drafted the Communist Manifesto in a room above the Red Lion pub on Great Windmill Street.

The "Pop Goes the Weasel" nursery rhyme may have originated in the 18th century, and mentions The Eagle Tavern on London's City Road, which stopped being a pub in 1825, until rebuilt in 1901, and is still in existence.

The Palace of Westminster is a Victorian Gothic masterpiece designed by Sir Charles Barry and A.W. Pugin to replace the medieval parliament buildings, which burnt to the ground in 1834. The result of their work is one of the great buildings of the Victorian era and acts as home to the Houses of Parliament. Visitors can take guided tours of the Houses of Parliament that include Westminster Hall, the Royal Gallery, Lords Chamber, Commons Chamber, St. Stephens Hall, and other major areas of the Palace. Visitors may take afternoon tea on the Riverside Terrace, overlooking the Thames.


Old London Bridge

"London Bridge Is Falling Down" (also known as "My Fair Lady" or "London Bridge") is a traditional English nursery rhyme that is found in different versions all over the world. It deals with the depredations of London Bridge, and attempts, realistic or fanciful, to repair it. The meaning of the rhyme is not certain. It may simply relate to the many difficulties experienced in bridging the River Thames, but a number of alternative explanations have been suggested. Until the mid-eighteenth century the Old London Bridge was the only crossing on the Thames in London. It was damaged in a major fire in 1633, but in the fire of 1666 this damage acted as a firebreak and prevented the flames from further damaging the bridge and crossing to the south side of the Thames. With its 19 narrow arches, it impeded river traffic and flow. Central piers were removed to create a wider navigational span. Widening was completed in 1763, but it remained relatively narrow and needed continual and expensive repairs. In the early nineteenth century it was decided to replace the bridge with a new construction. New London Bridge was opened in 1831 and survived until it was replaced in 1972. It was then transported and reconstructed in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, USA.


New London Bridge

Robert Paxton McCulloch (May 11, 1911 - February 25, 1977) was an American entrepreneur from Missouri, best known for McCulloch chainsaws and for purchasing the New London Bridge, which he moved to one of the cities he founded, Lake Havasu City, Arizona, USA. A popular urban legend is that McCulloch mistakenly believed he was buying the more impressive Tower Bridge. That claim is not true. In 1968, McCulloch was searching for a unique attraction for his city, which eventually took him to London. By the early 1960s it was apparent that the New London Bridge was gradually sinking into the River Thames and the City of London Corporation decided that the bridge needed to be replaced. Rather than demolish the existing bridge, they auctioned the historic landmark.


There is much more about London. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.