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      As well as being the capital of England, London is the capital of  the
United Kingdom.  It is one of the greatest, most colourful  and  interesting
cities of the world, and it tops the list of the  cities  I  would  like  to
visit. I know a lot about it  - I have  studied  its  map,  seen  a  lot  of
postcards, talked to people who have been there. Sometimes I close  my  eyes
and imagine I walk down Piccadilly,  Regent  or  Oxford  Street,  cross  the
Thames by London or Tower Bridge,  or  knock  on  the  door  of  Number  10,
Downing Street, just to say Hi! to Tony Blair.

      London is a city which was never planned. It has accumulated.  So,  it
includes the City of London, the West End and the  East  End.  The  city  is
really large  more than 8 million people live in so-called  Greater  London
 that is, London and its suburbs. It stands on the both sides of the  river
Thames and 14 bridges span the river. The  Thames,  described  variously  as
liquid history and the noblest river in Europe is graced in London  with
a score of bridges, tunnels and a barrier, but until 1750,  when  the  first
Westminster Bridge opened, London Bridge was  the  one  and  the  only.  The
first one built in stone  from  1176  to  1209  became  renowned  throughout
Europe for its houses and a chapel dedicated to  St  Thomas  of  Canterbury.
Several of London bridges have special features    Hammersmith  Bridge  has
ornamental metal work and Vauxhall  has  larger  than  life  bronze  figures
representing pottery, engineering, architecture, agriculture, science,  fine
arts, local government and education. Among the boats which ply  the  river,
few attract more attention than the Oxford  and  Cambridge  University  Boat
      London was founded by the Romans in 43 A. D. and was called Londinium.
In 61 A. D. the town was burned down and when it was rebuilt by  the  Romans
it was surrounded by a wall. That area within the wall  is  now  called  the
City of London. It is a financial and business center of  the  country.  The
Stock Exchange, the Bank of England, offices of major  banks  and  companies
are all there. People only come to the City to  work,  nobody  lives  there,
and at night it becomes deserted.
      Here is situated the Tower of London. The Tower was built  by  William
the Conqueror who conquered England in 1066. The Tower of  London  has  been
fortress,  palace,  home  of  the  Crown  Jewels  and  national  treasures,
arsenal, mint, prison, observatory, zoo and tourist attraction,  wrote  the
Duke of Edinburgh in a book celebrating the Towers  900th  anniversary.  It
is interesting to mention the  tradition   connected  with  the  history  of
Tower. The royal menagerie departed to the Zoo in  1834,  leaving  only  the
ravens behind. Tradition says that if the ravens leave, the  Tower  and  the
country will fall. So Beefeaters  Warders of the Tower -  give ravens  meat
every night.
      The finest part of London is the West End with long  streets  of  fine
shops, theaters, picture gallery. Soho, the home of strip-tease, the  cinema
industry and international haute cuisine, is on  the  edge  of  theatreland,
rich in history and rich in cultural mix. The name Soho probably  came  from
the ancient hunting cry  So  Ho   in  its  farmland  days.  By  the  19th
century it must have seemed a strange area, described by John Galsworthy  in
the Forsyte Saga as Untidy, full of Greeks,  Ishmaelites,  cats,  Italians,
tomatoes, restaurants, organs, coloured stuffs, queer names, people  looking
out of out windows, it dwells remote from the British Body  Politic.  Today
there is a complete China Town and  Restaurants  serve  haute  cuisine  from
scores of countries.
      There are beautiful parks in the West End, such as  St  Jamess  Park,
Green Park, Kensington Gardens, and Hyde Park   with  its  Speakers  Corner
there you can go up on a platform and speak freely on  the  topic  that  you
find vital. The Royal Parks are central Londons lungs.  Bands  play  beside
lakes, parks have cafes and art galleries.
       The Houses of Parliament with its Big Ben, the chimes  of  which  are
heard throughout the world on the BBC World Service are  also  in  the  West
End. Big Ben, the voice of London, has been telling the time  to the  second
since 1859. Construction of the 320 foot  clock  tower  began  in  the  year
Queen Victoria came to the throne, 1837, as part of  the  reconstruction  of
the Houses of Parliament. The Great Bell cracked,  was  recast  and  cracked
again, given us the famous resonating boom.  Why  Big  Ben?  There  are  two
answers  either can be chosen. It could have been named after Sir  Benjamin
Hall, chief commissioner of works at that time. Or, perhaps,  it  was  named
by workmen  Benjamin Caunt  who brought the bell from Whitechapel  Foundry
on a cart pulled by 16 white horses. The Palace of Westminster   among  the
worlds most famous buildings  houses the British Parliament: the House  of
Lords and the House of Commons. The first palace was built  for  Edward  the
Confessor, who came to the throne in 1042.  Every British  citizen  has  the
traditional right to ask to see his or her Member of  Parliament,  and  they
meet in the highly decorative Central Lobby. When Parliament is sitting,  it
is possible to hear debates from the Strangers Galleries.  Even  the  Queen
is subject to restrictions.  For the State Opening of Parliament she has  to
sit enthroned in the Lords  a custom which goes back to the era of  Charles
I. For relaxation, the Members of  Parliament  have  reception  rooms  which
lead onto the riverside terrace. In gardens across the  road  is  the  Jewel
Tower. Among moderns sculptures to have been placed in the vicinity  is  the
statue of Sir Winston Churchill, with his  larger-than-life  size  sculpture
raised on a plinth.
        White Hall and Downing Street are also in the West End.  White  Hall
is a street where most government offices are situated, and I  have  already
mentioned that No. 10, Downing Street  is  the  official  residence  of  the
British Prime Ministers for more than 250 years. The  famous  cul-de-sac  of
Downing Street was created by Sir  George  Downing,  member  of  Parliament,
around 1680. Number 10 is one of  the  original  Downing  Street  houses  to
survive. No 10, with the most photographed door in  the  world,  is  guarded
outside by  a  single  policeman.  By  the  way  the  nick-name  of  British
policemen are bobbies, because of Sir Robert Peel, who formed  the  police
      The Queen,  when  she  is  in  London,  lives  in  Buckingham  Palace.
Buckingham  Palace  facing  the  white  marble  and  gilded  Queen  Victoria
memorial, flies the royal standard when the Queen  is  in  residence.  Today
the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have private suites in the  North  Wing,
overlooking Green Park. Their home  is  open  to  around  30.000  guests  in
summer, attending garden  parties.  The  entry  costs  around  20  pounds  a
person. The gardens have a lake, cascading water and the wild  life  include
flamingoes. From the Palace the Queen leaves on ceremonial  duties  such  as
the State Opening of Parliament in early winter and Trooping the  colour  to
mark her official birthday in June.
      The architecture of London is very impressive.  There  is  St.  Pauls
Cathedral, for example, where a  lot  of  famous  people  were  buried.  The
National and Tate Galleries contain many masterpieces of art.
      Westminster Abbey has been the setting for every monarchs coronation,
beginning with Edward the Confessor, a saintly man who came  to  the  throne
in 1040. The Abbey presents a pageant  of  noble,  military,  political  and
artistic history.  It  has  the  graves  of  queens  and  kings,  of  poets,
politicians and churchmen. And the High Altar still  contains  the  body  of
Edward the Confessor, the Abbeys founder.
      Westminster Cathedral is the leading Roman Catholic Church in England.
It was built half a mile from the Abbey. The single bell  in  the  280  foot
high campanile is dedicated (like the Chapel in the  Abbey)  to  Edward  the
Confessor. This gift from Gwendolen, Duchess of Norfolk,  is  inscribed  St
Edward, pray for England.
      The East End is something quite different. It is the  industrial  part
of London. There are factories and docks there, and blocks  of  flats  where
working people live. They form quite a contrast to what we can  see  in  the
West End.

      When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life: for there  is  in
London  all  that  life  can  afford  -,  wrote  Samuel  Johnson  in  1777.
Naturally, London is a cultural, scientific, and industrial  center  of  the
country, and it means that a lot of  interesting  things  are  taking  place
there all the time.


1. Introduction.
2. Main part.
   1. The River.
   2. The City of London.
   3. The West End.
   4. The East End.
3. Conclusion.
4. Bibliography.


1. . . . 95     .  . , 1997.
2.  .,  .,  . 100   .    .  
   . 2002.
3.  . . Pilot One.      .  .
   . 1998.
4. London. 161 colour plates  map of the city centre. Thomas  Benacci  LTD.
   London. 1997.

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