London: Then and Now

London is one of the oldest cities in the world. It has been the home of some of the most influential people in history. The city has fostered artists, musicians, authors, monarchs, and some of the greatest thinkers in the Western world. William Shakespeare, the father of English literature, once directed his ageless plays from London’s own Globe Theatre. Queen Victoria, ruler of a planet-encompassing empire, reigned from the city’s Buckingham Palace. London’s fame started centuries ago, and its character has remained strong throughout the years.

image courtesy Joseph Plotz

In circa 1173, biographer William Fitz Stephen wrote of his beloved city:

Among the noble and celebrated cities of the world that of London, the capital of the kingdom of the English, is one which extends its glory farther than all the others and sends its wealth and merchandise more widely into distant lands. Higher than all the rest does it lift its head. It is happy in the healthiness of its air; in its observance of Christian practice; in the strength of its fortifications; in its natural situation; in the honour of its citizens; and in the modesty of its matrons. It is cheerful in its sports, and the fruitful mother of noble men … If the mildness of the climate of this place softens the characters of its inhabitants, it does not make them corrupt in following Venus, but rather prevents them from being fierce and bestial, making them liberal and kind.

London over the years has seen waves of change, but to this day, its citizens are proud and happy to call the city their home. Even now, they embrace its history, its culture, its ever-vibrant life – at least, some of them do. In the following video, vlogger Charlie McDonnell speedily walks by many of London’s most famous sites, braving the drizzly rain and the Tube like every other happy Londoner.

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