are known to be great sport lovers. When they are neither playing, nor watching
games, they like to talk about them. Many of games we play now have come from
One of the most British games is
cricket. Summer isn’t summer without cricket. But the game, which attracts the
greatest attention, is football, or soccer.
Because London is the capital of the United Kingdom, Londoners often think it
is the most important place in the country. Because it is the centre of
government and commerce, it is naturally a large and busy place. But different
areas of London have very different characteristics. The West End, for example,
is famous for its shops and places of entertainment.
The City of London, an area
of only 2,6 square kilometres, is the centre of business and finance. The City
is a world money market and trading centre. Money is needed for industry and
governments, the City arranges for borrowing and lending of money and it
supplies financial services like insurance. It operates on behalf of firms and
governments abroad as well as in Britain. In this way, the City - or the
businessmen trading in it - earns foreign currency for Britain. The City has its
own Lord Mayor and Corporation, its own local government and its own police
force. It is proud of its independence and eager to protect it. Who works in the
City? The officials who run it. The Lord Mayor and Corporation of London.
Businessmen, bankers, stockbrokers, insurance brokers, lawyers, journalists,
hospital staff and clergymen. Who lives in the City? Not many people nowadays.
Caretakers of office blocks. Choirboys and clergy of St Paul's Cathedral.Some
lawyers in their special buildings. Residents in a new housing development
called "The Barbican" built on an area destroyed by bombs during World War II.
The Barbican also contains the London Museum and a new theatre. The theatre is
home for the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company. It is part of a plan to bring
some life into the City of London. deserted after office hours during the
evening and at weekends. On the nearest Saturday to the 9th November every year
there is a parade through the City to celebrate the installation of the new Lord
Mayor. It is called the Lord Mayor's Show. He takes part in the procession,
riding in his golden coach. Not many of the spectators watching the Lord Mayor's
Show in the City know that this part of London has a history going back to at
least AD 43 and the Romans. The 'Square Mile' lies within the old Roman
After the Romans left Britain early in the 5th century, London was still an
important place, it has always been a great trading centre. It grew in
importance within the British Isles when the kings of England and their
governments finally made their headquarters in the Royal Palace of Westminster.
Westminster is a few miles up the River Thames from the City: the king felt
freer outside the City walls. Gradually London began to grow. The villages
around it grew. They became towns, called 'boroughs' with their own local
government. The boroughs grew into a vast built-up area of houses, shops and
factories which now form Greater London.
Greater London 1939 8.5 million
people lived in Gr.London
1971 7.4 million people lived in it Smaller
1982 6.7 million people lived in it
The London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea does not sound much like a
village, but it was once two villages which were famous for their market gardens
and vegetable produce. Strangely enough, many Londoners still have the feeling
that they live in a village. Their 'village' may have a famous name like Chelsea
or Hampstead or Dulwich. It may consist of several streets of shops, a number of
pubs and restaurants, it may even have a local newspaper. Visitors to London are
often surprised at the amount of green open space in it. It is easy to get away
from the streets and to find open spaces, parkland in Inner London. These parks
are still called ' Royal Parks' but they are now open to the public. People walk
and go horse-riding in Hyde Park. There is boating and swimming in the lake
called The Serpentine. And everywhere there are seats and deckchairs to sit
St James's Park, Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens are linked
together. They form 313 hectares of open parkland in the heart of London.
Entrance to the Parks is free and you may walk on the grass and lie down to rest
on it - weather permitting? In various parts of London squares may be found but
they are often in expensive districts - expensive because they are spacious and,
in a city, space costs money. For that reason not all the houses in the squares
are occupied by private residents nowadays: many are used as offices.
Some famous London squares and some of their present occupiers:
Belgrave Square - Embassies/Consulates
St James's Square - Government departments/Research
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