Great Britain

Content 1
Kingdom of Great Britain 3
Scotland 3
Head of state 5
Geography 5
Language 5
History 6
Culture 7
Scottish education 7
Religion 7
Politics 8
The Scottish economy 8
Edinburgh 9
The Centre 9
Old Town 9
New Town 10
Economy 10
Kingdom of England 11
A Quick History of the Kingdom 11
England and Wales 12
Cardiff 13
Industry 13
History 13
Culture, Media, Sport and Tourism 14
Northern Ireland 14
Geography and climate 15
The use of language for Northern Irish geography 16
History 16
Demographics and politics 17
Political parties 19
Culture 19
Belfast 19
Geography 20
Points of interest 20
History 20
England 21
Symbols and insignia 22
History 22
Politics 23
Geography 24
Demographics 25
Languages 25
London 26
Geography and climate 26
History 27
Modern London 27
London Districts 28
Central London 28
East London 28
West London 29
South London 30
North London 30
Demographics 30
Government 31
Transport and Infrastructure 31
Education 32
Media 33
Religion 34
Culture 34
Music 34
Festivals 35
Theatre 35
Art 35
Museums 35
Night-life 35
Business 36
London tourist attractions 36
Literature featuring London 36
Films featuring London 36
Vocabulary 37Kingdom of Great Britain
Union Flag (1606-1800)
The Kingdom of Great Britain, also sometimes known as the ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain’, was created byy the merging of the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England under the 1707 Act of Union to create a single kingdom encompassing the whole of Great Britain. A single parliament and government, based in Westminster in London, controlled the new kingdom. The two former kingdoms had shared the same monarch since King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England in 1603.From 1707 onward, a joint “British” throne replaced the English and Scottish thrones and a joint Paarliament of Great Britain replaced the Scottish and English parliaments. Scotland and England were given seats in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords of the new parliament. Although Scotland’s representation in both houses was smaller than it

ts population indicated it should have been, representation in parliament was at that time based not on population but on taxation, and Scotland was given a greater number of MPs than its share of taxation warranted. Under the treaty, Scotland elected forty-five members to the Commons and sent sixteen representative peers to the Lords. The Kingdom of Great Britain was superseded by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801 when the Kingdom of Ireland was absorbed with the enactment of the Act of Union 1801.Scotland
Scotland (English/Lowland Scots)
Alba (Scottish Gaelic)

(Coat of Arms)

Scotland’s location within the UK
Official language
Scots Gaelic,
Lowland Scots


Largest city Glasgow

First Minister
Jack McConnell


– Total

– % water Ranked 2nd UK
78,782 km²

– Total (2001)

– Density
Ranked 2nd UK
(1) To date, Scotland does not officially recognise one single national anthem. Over the yeears, the role of the nation’s anthem has been filled by various patriotic songs, including Flower of Scotland, Scotland the Brave and Scots Wha Hae. In the 1990s, one of the country’s leading tabloid newspapers conducted a poll to determine which song should be classed as Scotland’s anthem. Flower of Scotland won and is now used as the de facto national anthem at international sporting events, although there are those who still consider the other songs as having equal validity.

Scotland (A

Alba in Scottish Gaelic) is a country or nation and former independent kingdom of northwest Europe, and one of the four constituent parts of the United Kingdom. Scotland has a land boundary with England on the island of Great Britain and is otherwise bounded by seas and oceans.
Scotland’s territorial extent is generally that established by the 1237 Treaty of York between Scotland and England and the 1266 Treaty of Perth between Scotland and Norway. Exceptions include the Isle of Man, which is now a crown dependency outside the United Kingdom, Orkney and Shetland, which are Scottish rather than Danish, and Berwick-upon-Tweed, which was defined as subject to the laws of England by the 1746 Wales and Berwick Act. Scotland entered into a personal union with England in 1603, when the Scottish King James VI also became James I of England. This union was formalised on 1 May 1707 by the Act of Union 1707. The Scottish Parliament was abolished on March 26, 1707. The union merged both kingdoms, creating the Kingdom of Great Britain, with a new single Parliament sitting in Westminster, London, but some aspects of Scotland’s institutions, notably the country’s legal system, remained separate. The new state eventually became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ir
reland. In 1999, the people of Scotland voted to create a new parliament, established by the UK Government under the Scotland Act 1998. The new devolved Scottish Parliament has been given powers to govern the country on certain purely domestic matters and has limited tax varying capability. The patron saint of Scotland is Saint Andrew, and Saint Andrew’s Day is celebrated in the country on 30 November.Head of state
HM Queen Elizabeth II, head of state of the United Kingdom, is descended from King James VI of Scotland, the first Scottish monarch to also be King of England (James I of England from 1603). While some controversy has simmered amongst the Scottish public over her official title since her coronation (many believe that, being the first Queen Elizabeth of Scotland, she should use the style “Elizabeth I”), the courts of Scotland have confirmed “Elizabeth II” as her official title. She has said that in the future monarchs will follow the international ordinal tradition that, where a monarch reigns in a number of non-independent territories (or independent territories that agree to share a monarch) that each have a differing number of previous monarchs of the same name, the highest ordinal used in any of the territories is
s the one used across all. (Past Scottish-English monarchs such as James VI & I and James VII & II reigned over legally separate kingdoms and hence used a dual ordinal.) Properly, the Scottish monarch was known as “King/Queen of Scots”, and referred to as “your Grace”, rather than “your Majesty”.Geography
Scotland comprises the northern part of the island of Great Britain; it is bordered on the south by England. The country consists of a mainland area plus several island groups, including Shetland, Orkney, and the Hebrides, divided into the Inner Hebrides and Outer Hebrides. Three main geographical and geological areas make up the mainland: from north to south, the generally mountainous Highlands, the low-lying Central Belt, and the hilly Southern Uplands. The majority of the Scottish population resides in the Central Belt, which contains three of the country’s six largest cities, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, and many large towns. Most of the remaining population lives in the North-East Lowlands where two of the remaining three cities, Aberdeen and Dundee, are situated. The final city, Inverness, is situated where the River Ness meets the Moray Firth, on the fault between the North-West Highlands and the Cairngorms.Language
Scotland has three distinct languages: English, Scottish Gaelic and Lowland Scots. Almost all Scots speak Scottish Standard English. It is estimated that up to 30% of the population are also fluent in Lowland Scots, which differs markedly from standard English. Slightly greater than 1% of the population use Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic language similar to Irish, as their language of everyday use, primarily in the northern and western regions of the country. Almost all Gaelic speakers also speak fluent English. By the time of James VI’s accession to the English throne, the old Scottish Court and Parliament spoke Lowland Scots, also known as Lallans. It is routinely argued that Lowland Scots developed from the Northumbrian form of Anglo-Saxon, spoken in Bernicia which, in the 6th century, conquered the Brythonic kingdom of Gododdin (modern-day Lothian) and renamed its capital, Dunedin to Edinburgh. But this ignores the strong resemblance of Lallans, particularly the Doric spoken in the northeast of the country, to Norse and Swedish, with many words and phrases almost identical. Given the penetration of Viking and Norse culture into Scotland, this is as strong a candidate as the southern spread of ‘Inglis’, and the two derivations need hardly be mutually exclusive. Lallans also contains a great number of borrowed and loaner words from Gaelic, the separation between the two cultural ‘zones’ often being over-exaggerated, at least in Scotland’s earlier history. Furthermore, most of the area that currently speaks Lowland Scots is well outside the Lothians, and its spread was no doubt assisted by Anglo-Norman feudalism, Flemish merchants and the growth of towns. To date, the Scottish Parliament recognises only English and Scottish Gaelic as the country’s official languages.History
Historically, from at least the reign of David I (ruled 1124 – 1153), Scotland began to show a split into two cultural areas – the mainly Scots, latterly English, speaking Lowlands, and the mainly Gaelic-speaking Highlands. This caused divisions in the country where the Lowlands remained, historically, more influenced by the English: the Lowlands lay more open to attack by invading armies from the south and absorbed English influence through their proximity to and their trading relations with their southern neighbours, although Scotland had strong trade links with continental Europe also. However, Gaelic persisted in parts of the Lowlands until quite late, notably in Galloway and Carrick up until the late 1700s and possibly the 1800s. It has also been recorded that the areas of Dunblane and Auchterarder were speaking the language after the Reformation. The Highland-Lowland Border, contrary to popular belief, has not been static, and has moved a number of times. The clan system of the Highlands formed one of its more distinctive features. Notable clans include Clan Campbell, Clan MacGregor, Clan MacDonald, Clan MacKenzie, Clan Mackie, Clan MacLeod, Clan Robertson, Clan Grant and others. Historically the Lowlands adopted a variant of the feudal system after the Norman Conquest of England, with families of Norman ancestry providing most of the monarchs after approximately 1100. These families included the Stewart or Stuart, Bruce, Douglas, Porteous, and Murray or Moray families. During the Wars of Scottish Independence (approximately 1290 – 1363) the Scottish people rose up against English interference and invasion. Firstly, under the leadership of Sir William Wallace, and later, under that of Robert the Bruce. Bruce won a decisive victory over the English at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. In 1603, the Scottish King James VI inherited the throne of England, and became James I of England. James moved to London and only returned to Scotland once. In 1707, the Scottish and English Parliaments signed the Treaty of Union, which was deeply unpopular in Scotland, as it had been negotiating from a position of economic weakness and suffering from English tariffs. Implementing the treaty involved dissolving both the English and the Scottish Parliaments, and transferring all their powers to a new Parliament sitting in London which then became the Parliament of the United Kingdom. A customs and monetary union also took place. This state of affairs continued until May 1999 when Scotland’s Parliament was established following a referendum. Where as the old Scottish Parliament had functioned as the full parliament of a sovereign state, the new parliament governs the country only on domestic matters, the United Kingdom Parliament having retained responsibility for Scotland’s defence, international relations and certain other areas.Culture
Scotland has a civic and ethnic culture distinct from that of the rest of the British Isles. It originates from various differences, some entrenched as part of the Act of Union, others facets of nationhood not readily defined but readily identifiable.Scottish education
Scotland also has a separate Scottish education system. The Act of Union guaranteed the rights of the Scottish universities, but more importantly, Scotland became the first country since Sparta in classical Greece to implement a system of general public education. The early roots were in the Education Act of 1496 which first introduced compulsory education for the eldest sons of nobles, but truly began 200 years later with the Education Act of 1696 which introduced a school in every parish. Education finally became compulsory for all children from the implementation of the Education Act of 1872 onwards. As a result, for over two hundred years Scotland had a higher percentage of its population educated at primary, secondary and tertiary levels than any other country in Europe. The differences in education have manifested themselves in different ways, but most noticeably in the number of Scots who went on to become leaders in their fields during the 18th and 19th centuries. The politician Jim Wallace stated in October 2004, that Scotland still produces a higher number of university and college graduates per head than anywhere else in Europe. School students in Scotland sit Standard Grade exams while students in England sit GCSE exams, and then Higher Grade exams rather than the English A-level system. Also, a Scottish university’s honours degree takes four years of study as opposed to three in the rest of the UK. The university systems in several Commonwealth countries show marked affinities with the Scottish rather than the English system.Religion
The Church of Scotland (often referred to as The Kirk) functions as the national church. It differs from the Church of England in that it has a Presbyterian form of church governance, not subject to state control. This goes back to the Scottish experience of reformation, initiated in 1560 by John Knox. The Scottish Reformation in essence took place at a grassroots level, and the Scots chose Presbyterianism as their method of church government. This differs from the situation in England, where Henry the Eighth personally unleashed the English Reformation and chose the Episcopal system that survives to this day in the Church of England. Scotland has a high proportion of irreligious / atheists, the second highest type of (un)belief in the population. A number of other Christian denominations exist in Scotland, amongst them Roman Catholicism, which made a comeback through immigration from Ireland, after Protestants brutally repressed it during the 16th to late 18th centuries. It has now become the largest faith after The Kirk. As well as The Kirk we find various other Protestant churches, including the Scottish Episcopal Church, which forms a full part of the Anglican Communion, and the Free Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian off-shoot from the established Church of Scotland. Islam is the largest non-Christian religion in Scotland, although its numbers remain very small. Much of Scotland (particularly the West Central Belt around Glasgow) has experienced problems owing to the religious divide between Presbyterians and Roman Catholics. Some Scottish Roman Catholics maintain that, sectarianism is still deeply rooted in Scottish society. This problem has historically manifested itself in a number of ways, particularly in employment and in football fanaticism. The problems associated with sectarianism in Scotland have diminished markedly compared with the past, although issues do remain to a certain degree. Scottish police have recently moved to restrict the number of Orange parades.Politics
Historically the politics of Scotland have reflected those of the UK as a whole, although with some differences. For example, besides the main UK-wide political parties (Labour, Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats) a number of Scottish-specific parties operate. These include the Scottish National Party (SNP), the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) and the Scottish Green Party. These parties became more of a force in Scottish politics after the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1998. The traditional political divides of left and right have also intersected with arguments over devolution, which all the UK-wide parties have supported to some degree throughout their history. However, now that devolution has occurred, the main argument about Scotland’s constitutional status remains between those who support Scottish independence and those who oppose it. Recent trends indicate, according to the State of the Nation Poll 2004, that 66% of Scots would like the Scottish Parliament to have more powers, while only 25% would like to see the andreas returned to Westminster.The Scottish economy
Most Scottish industry and commerce is concentrated in a few large cities on the waterways of the central lowlands. Edinburgh, on the Firth of Forth, is a cultural centre, the capital of Scotland, and one of the top financial centres in Europe. Glasgow, one of the largest cities in the UK, lies on the Clyde; it is Scotland’s leading seaport and was once a centre of shipbuilding and it supports numerous light industries. Although heavy industry has declined, the high-technology Silicon Glen corridor has developed between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Tourism is also very important. The significance of coal, once Scotland’s most important mineral resource, has declined. Oil, however, gained prominence in Scotland’s economy during the 1970s, with the growth of North Sea oil extraction companies. Natural gas is also abundant in the North Sea fields. Aberdeen is the centre of the oil industry. Other important industries are textile production, distilling, and fishing. Textiles, beer, and whisky, which are among Scotland’s chief exports, are produced in many towns. Salmon are taken from the Tay and the Dee, and numerous coastal towns and villages are supported by fishing from the North Sea. Only about one quarter of the land is under cultivation, but sheep raising is important in the mountainous regions. Because of the persistence of feudalism and the land enclosures of the 19th cent., the ownership of most land in Scotland is concentrated in relatively few hand. In 2003, as a result, the Scottish Parliament passed a land reform act that empowered tenant farmers and communities to purchase land even if the landlord did not want to sell.Edinburgh
Edinburgh (pronounced ED-in-burra — IPA [‘ɛdɪnˌbərə]), Dùn Èideann in Scottish Gaelic, is a major and historic city on the east coast of Scotland on the south shore of the Firth of Forth, and in the unitary local authority of City of Edinburgh. It has been the capital of Scotland since 1492 and is the site of the Scottish Parliament, which was re-established in 1999. It was one of the major centres of the enlightenment led by the University of Edinburgh. The Old and New Towns of Edinburgh were listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. In the census of 2001 Edinburgh had a total resident population of 448,624. Edinburgh is well known for the annual Edinburgh Festival, the largest performing arts festival in the world, and for the Hogmanay street party.The Centre
The historic centre of Edinburgh is divided into two by the broad green swath of Princes Street Gardens. To the south the view is dominated by Edinburgh Castle, perched atop an extinct volcanic crag, and the long sweep of the Old Town trailing after it along the ridge. To the north lies Princes Street and the New Town. The gardens were begun in 1816 on marsh land which had once been a loch, the Nor’ Loch. Some 70 million years ago several volcanic vents in the area cooled and solidified to form tough basalt volcanic plugs, then later a glacier swept from west to east, exposing rocky crags to the west and leaving a tail of material swept to the east. At the castle rock this tail formed a narrow steep sided ridge, declining in height over a mile till it meets general ground level at Holyrood. At the same time, the glacier gouged out ground to each side, leaving the ravine of the Grassmarket and Cowgate to the south, and the swampy valley of the Nor’ Loch to the north. This formed a natural fortress, and recent excavations at the castle (described in Excavations within Edinburgh Castle by Stephen T. Driscoll & Peter Yeoman, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph Series no.12 1997) found material dating back to the Late Bronze Age, as long ago as 850 BC. In the 1st century the Romans recorded the Votadini as a British tribe in the area, and about 600 the poem Y Gododdin using the Brythonic form of that name describes warriors feasting in Eidin’s great hall.Old Town
The Old Town has preserved its medieval plan and many Reformation-era buildings. One end is closed by the castle and the main street (the Royal Mile) leads away from it; minor streets (called closes or wynds) bud off the main spine in a herringbone pattern. Large squares mark the location of markets, or surround major public buildings such as St Giles Cathedral. This layout, typical of the old quarters of many northern European cities, is made especially picturesque in Edinburgh, where the castle perches on top of a small mountain and the main street runs down the crest of a ridge from it. The old city is also home to some of the earliest “high rise” residential buildings. During the 1700s the Old Town had a population of about 80,000 residents. However, in modern times it has declined dramatically to just 4,000 residents. The population was for a long time reluctant to build outside the defensive wall, so, as the need for housing grew, the buildings became higher and higher. However, many of these buildings were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1824. They were then rebuilt on the original foundations. This led to changes in the ground level and the creation of many passages and vaults under the Old Town. On December 7, 2002, another major fire in the Old Town engulfed part of the Cowgate. It destroyed the famous comedy club, The Gilded Balloon, and much of the Informatics department of the University of Edinburgh, including the comprehensive AI library.New Town
The New Town was an 18th century solution to the problem of an increasingly crowded Old Town. The city had remained incredibly compact, confined to the ridge running down from the castle. In 1766 a competition to design the New Town was won by James Craig, a 22-year old architect. The plan that was built created a rigid, ordered grid, which fitted well with enlightenment ideas of rationality. The principal street was to be George Street, which follows the natural ridge to the north of the Old Town. Either side of it are the other main streets of Princes Street and Queen Street. Princes Street has since become the main shopping street in Edinburgh, and few Georgian buildings survive on it. Linking these streets were a series of perpendicular streets. At the east and west ends are St Andrew’s Square and Charlotte Square respectively. The latter was designed by Robert Adam, and is often considered one of the finest Georgian squares in Britain. Bute House, the official residence of the First Minister of Scotland, is on the north side of the square. Sitting in the valley between the Old and New Towns was the Nor’Loch, which had been both the city’s water supply and place for dumping sewerage. By the 1820s it was drained. Some plans show that a canal was intended, but Princes Street Gardens are what was created. Excess soil from the construction of the buildings was dumped into the valley, creating what is now The Mound. In the mid-19th century the National Gallery of Scotland and Royal Scottish Academy Building were built on The Mound, and tunnels to Waverley Station driven through it. The New Town was so successful that it was extended greatly. The grid pattern was not maintained, but rather a more picturesque layout was created.Economy
The economy of Edinburgh is largely based around the service sector, with tourism and banking being particularly important. The Bank of Scotland was founded in 1695, by an act of the original Scottish Parliament, and is now part of the HBOS group, who have kept their headquarters in Edinburgh. The Royal Bank of Scotland was founded in 1747 by Royal Charter, and is now the fifth largest bank in the world by market capitalisation. In 2006 they will move into their new purpose built headquarters at Gogarburn, near the Edinburgh City Bypass. The New Town has traditionally been home to many companies, but modern needs have caused many to relocate. Immediately to west of the city centre is the Terry Farrell masterplanned Exchange business district, which now houses major employers such as Scottish Widows, Standard Life, the Clydesdale Bank and Baillie Gifford. Edinburgh Park is a business park located in the west of city, near Edinburgh Airport, and it now has its own railway station. Following the opening of the Royal Bank’s new headquarters, there will be around 20,000 people working in the western outskirts of the city. Brewing is a traditional industry, and while the closure of the Fountainbridge brewery in 2005 will leave no large-scale brewing in the city, Scottish & Newcastle still retain their headquarters in the city. On March 12, 2004, Edinburgh was granted Fairtrade City status.Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was a state on the island of Great Britain, covering roughly the southern two-thirds. In addition to what is now known as England, it also covered Wales from 1536 to 1707. The Kingdom was abolished in 1707 by the Union with Scotland Act and became part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain.A Quick History of the Kingdom
The Kingdom of England has no specific founding date. During the 8th and 9th Centuries, the Kings of Wessex became increasingly dominant over the other kingdoms of England. The first King of Wessex to style himself “King of England” was Alfred the Great (871-899). In 927 the last “dark age” kingdom of England, Northumbria, fell to the King of Wessex. Since then there has been a united Kingdom of England. However, during the late 10th Century and early 11th Century (ie. around the year 1000), England was over-run by Vikings again and the Kingdom of England was claimed by both the Danish and Saxon kings. In 1066, William of Normandy invaded England and conquered it. However, he was crowned as King of England (as William I) and the Kingdom remained in existence. The Dukedom of Normandy was eventually lost to France by the time of the Tudor Kings of England. Wales was annexed to the Kingdom in 1536 and this was the first stage in the creation of the modern British state. In 1603 the crowns of England and Scotland merged, under the Stuart Kings, and in 1707 the two kingdoms peacefully unified to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain, with one Parliament at Westminster, London. At this point, England no longer existed as a separate political entity and has since had no national government. England has been a monarchy for its entirety, except for the eleven years (1649 to 1660) that followed the English Civil War, when it was a republic under Oliver Cromwell and then his son Richard Cromwell. However, anarchy eventually developed, as Richard was too weak to rule as Lord Protector, and the monarchy was restored. The present monarch, though now technically the British monarch and not the “English monarch”, Queen Elizabeth II, is related to the Wessex Kings of over a millennium ago. Since William I (1066-1087) London has been the capital city of England, but it was the city of Winchester which was the capital beforehand.England and Wales
England and Wales (red), with the rest of the United Kingdom (pink)
England and Wales are two individual nations within the United Kingdom. However, for many administrative and legal purposes they are treated as the single entity England and Wales. Specifically, the two nations share the same legal system, the successor to that of the Kingdom of England, and as a consequence, most laws. The other parts of the United Kingdom, that is, Scotland and Northern Ireland, often have laws very different from those of England and Wales. Scotland in particular has an entirely independent court system, and it is more frequent to have legislation for England, Wales and Northern Ireland than for England, Wales and Scotland. Wales was annexed to the English crown by the 1536/1543 Acts of Union, but references in legislation for ‘England’ were still taken as excluding Wales. The Wales and Berwick Act 1746 meant that in all future laws, ‘England’ would by default include Wales (and Berwick-upon-Tweed). The de-annexation of Wales was gradual — Cardiff was proclaimed as the Welsh capital in 1955, and in 1967 the Wales and Berwick Act insofar as it applied to Wales was repealed.

Flag of England

Flag of WalesCardiff
Cardiff (Welsh: Caerdydd, from caer, “fort,” and dydd, “Aulus Didius”) is the capital and largest city of Wales. It is located in the traditional county of Glamorgan, and since 1996 has been administratively independent. It was a small town until the early nineteenth century and came to prominence following the arrival of industry in the region and the use of Cardiff as a major port for the transport of coal. Cardiff was made a city in 1905 and proclaimed capital of Wales in 1955. In the Census 2001 the population of Cardiff was 305,340, making it the 16th largest settlement in the United Kingdom. People from Cardiff are called Cardiffians.Industry
Cardiff’s port, known as Tiger Bay, was once one of the busiest ports in the world and for some time the world’s most important coal port. It also housed one of the UK’s earliest immigrant communities. After a long period of neglect as “Cardiff Bay,” it is now being regenerated as a popular area for arts, entertainment and nightlife. Much of the growth has been thanks to the building of the Cardiff Barrage. Caroline Street is one of the three oldest streets in Cardiff and is a major link between two of the busiest streets (St. Mary Street and the Hayes). The street has been a host to all kinds of stores but more recently has been taken over by chip and kebab shops, and as such is commonly known as Chip Row, Chip Alley, or Chippy Lane, and is a popular post-club location, leaving the street often looking like a sea of polystyrene containers. As of 2003, luxury flats were being built and plans were made to refurbish the street. As part of the development a Hard Rock Cafe and a Nandos have opened in the Old Brewery Quarter. Development and growth were initially centred on the transportation of coal, where coal mined from the Rhondda Valley was sent to the port by barge along the river Taff. A logical extension of the coal business was the development of an iron and steel industry, based largely on the port and the valleys coal. The 1980’s brought closures, and thousands of local workers were made redundant as the steel industry moved out of Cardiff, including the largest GKN steelworks in Newport Road.History
The name Cardiff is an Anglicisation of Welsh name “Caerdydd”. There is uncertainty concerning the origin of “Caerdydd”—”Caer” means “fort” or “castle,” but although “Dydd” means “Day” in modern Welsh, it is unclear what was meant in this context. For many years it was believed that “Dydd” or “Diff” was a corruption of “Taff” the river on which Cardiff stands, in which case “Cardiff” would mean the fort on the river Taff (in Welsh the T mutates to D). Modern research casts doubt on this meaning, and it is now known the Romans under Aulus Didius established a fort in Cardiff. Considering this it is now believed that Cardiff means the fort of Aulus Didius. A Norman castle still exists, on the site of an earlier Roman fort, but was substantially altered and extended during the Victorian period by John Patrick Crichton-Stuart, the 3rd Marquess of Bute, and the architect William Burges. There is a second castle to the north west of the city centre, called Castell Coch. The current castle is an elaborately decorated Victorian folly designed by Burgess for the Marquess and built in the 1870s. However, the Victorian castle stands on the site of a much older medieval castle built by Ivor Bach, a regional baron with links to Cardiff Castle also. The exterior has been used for filming several television series, for example as the outside of Cackles Academy in the ITV presentation of The Worst Witch. King Edward VII granted Cardiff city status on October 28, 1905. It was then proclaimed capital city of Wales on December 20, 1955. Therefore, Cardiff celebrates two important anniversaries in 2005. On March 1, 2004, Cardiff was granted Fairtrade City status.Culture, Media, Sport and Tourism
The city has a professional football team, Cardiff City F.C., nicknamed “The Bluebirds.” There is also the Cardiff Blues regional rugby union team, and the Cardiff Devils Ice Hockey team. The city also features an international sporting venue, the Millennium Stadium. Cardiff hosted the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. Cardiff is home to Cardiff Castle, the National Assembly for Wales, St. David’s Hall, the National Museum and Gallery, and Cathays Park. The Welsh National Opera moved into the Wales Millennium Centre in November 2004. The city has its own university, Cardiff University, as well as two University of Wales colleges, the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.Northern Ireland

Officially uses the Union Flag (an unoffical flag exists see Flag of Northern Ireland)

Official languages
English, Irish, Ulster-Scots


Largest City Belfast

First Minister

– Total Ranked 4th
13,843 km²


– Total (2001)

– Density
Ranked 4th
Northern Ireland is an administrative region and one of four constituent parts of the United Kingdom. It is located on the island of Ireland, where it shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland, the only part of the United Kingdom with an international land border. It covers 14,139 square kilometres (5,459 square miles) in the north-east of the island of Ireland, about a sixth of the total area of the island, and has a population of 1,685,000 (April 2001) — between a quarter and a third of the total island’s population. A majority of the present-day population are unionist and wish to remain part of the United Kingdom, but a significant minority, known as nationalists, want to see a united Ireland. These two views are linked to deeper cultural divisions. Unionists are predominantly Protestant and often descendants of Scottish and English (mainly Scottish) settlement in previous centuries, while nationalists are predominantly Catholic and usually descend from the Irish population predating such settlement. The conflict between these two sets of identities, including alleged discrimination against nationalists under the Stormont government (1920–72) giving rise to the nationalist “Civil Rights Movement” in the 1960s, and eventually to a long-running conflict known as The Troubles. This has gone through its most violent phase in recent times between 1968–1994. The main actors have been paramilitaries representing minorities from both sides of the ideological divide and the subsequent increased police and military presence representing the British authorities and the Northern Ireland state. As a consequence of the worsening security situation, self-government for Northern Ireland was suspended in 1972. Since the mid-1990s, the main paramilitary group, the IRA has observed an uneasy ceasefire. Following negotiations, the Belfast Agreement of 1998 provides for an elected Northern Ireland Assembly, and a power-sharing Northern Ireland Executive comprising representatives of all the main parties. These institutions have been suspended since 2002 because of allegations of spying by people working for Sinn Fein at the Assembly.Geography and climate
Northern Ireland was covered by an ice sheet for most of the last ice age and on numerous previous occasions, the legacy of which can be seen in the extensive coverage of drumlins in Counties Fermanagh, Armagh, Antrim and particularly Down. The centrepiece of Northern Ireland’s geography is Lough Neagh, at 392 km² the largest freshwater lake in the British Isles. A second extensive lake system is centred on Lower and Upper Lough Erne in Fermanagh. There are substantial uplands in the Sperrin Mountains with extensive gold deposits, granite Mourne Mountains and basalt Antrim Plateau, as well as smaller ranges in South Armagh and along the Fermanagh–Tyrone border. None of the hills is especially high, with Slieve Donard in the dramatic Mournes reaching 848 metres, Northern Ireland’s highest point. The volcanic activity which created the Antrim Plateau also formed the eerily geometric pillars of the Giant’s Causeway. The Lower and Upper River Bann, River Foyle and River Blackwater form extensive fertile lowlands, with excellent arable land also found in North and East Down, although much of the hill country is marginal and suitable largely for animal husbandry. The valley of the River Lagan is dominated by Belfast, whose metropolitan area includes over a third of the population of Northern Ireland, with heavy urbanisation and industrialisation along the Lagan Valley and both shores of Belfast Lough. The whole of Northern Ireland has a temperate maritime climate, rather wetter in the west than the east although cloud cover is persistent across the region. The weather is unpredictable at all times of the year, and although the seasons are distinct they are considerably less pronounced than in interior Europe or the eastern seaboard on North America. Average daytime maximums in Belfast are 6.5°C in January and 17.5°C in July. The damp climate and extensive deforestation in the 16th and 17th Centuries results in much of the region being covered in rich green grassland.The use of language for Northern Irish geography
Disagreement on nomenclature, and the reading of political symbolism into the use or non-use of a word, also attaches to some urban centres. Whereas nationalists and republicans call Northern Ireland’s second city Derry unionists call it Londonderry. Choice of language and nomenclature in Northern Ireland often reveals the cultural, ethnic and religious identity of the speaker. The first Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Seamus Mallon was criticised by unionists for always calling the state the “North of Ireland” while Sinn Féin has been criticised in the media in the Republic for continuing to call the state the “Six Counties” even after it signed up to the Belfast Agreement and sat in the government of Northern Ireland. Nationalists have in turn criticised the main unionist leader, the Rev Ian Paisley, for constantly referring to the state as “Ulster”. Those who do not belong to any group but lean towards one side often tend to use the language of that group. Supporters of unionism in the British media (notably the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Express) regularly call Northern Ireland “Ulster” while nationalist and republican-leaning media outlets in the Republic (such as Daily Ireland) almost always use “North of Ireland” or the “Six Counties”. Many news bulletins since the 1990s have opted avoid all contentious terms and use either the official name, Northern Ireland, or the shorter term, “the North”. “The Province”, though of unionist origins, is often seen as reasonably acceptable, or perhaps the least unacceptable, to both sides. For the North’s second city, many broadcasting outlets use both names interchangably, often starting a report with “Londonderry” and then using “Derry” in the rest of the report.History
The area now known as Northern Ireland has had a diverse history. From serving as the bedrock of Irish resistance in the era of the plantations of Queen Elizabeth and James I in other parts of Ireland, it became itself the subject of major planting of Scottish and English settlers after the Flight of the Earls in 1607 (when the native aristocracy left en masse). The all-island Kingdom of Ireland (1541-1801) was incorporated into the United Kingdom in 1801 under the terms of the Act of Union, under which the kingdoms of Ireland and Great Britain merged under a central parliament, government and monarchy based in London. In the early 20th century Unionists, led by Sir Edward Carson, opposed the introduction of Home Rule in Ireland. Unionists were in a minority on the island of Ireland as a whole, but formed a majority in the northern province of Ulster. Therefore, after the First World War, Ireland was partitioned in 1921 under the terms of the Government of Ireland Act 1920 between six of the nine Ulster counties in the northeast (forming Northern Ieland) and the remaining twenty-six counties of the south and west (forming Southern Ireland and became the Irish Free State in 1922). When the latter achieved dominion status, the six Northern Ireland counties — under the procedures laid out in the Anglo-Irish Treaty, 1921 — opted out, and so remain as part of the United Kingdom. The Ireland Act 1949 gave the first legal guarantee to the Parliament and Government that Northern Ireland would not cease to be part of the United Kingdom without consent of the majority of its citizens, this was most recently reaffirmed by the Northern Ireland Act 1998. This status was echoed in the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985, which was signed by the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Bunreacht na hÉireann, the constitution of the Republic, was amended in 1999 to remove what was interpreted as a ‘claim’ to theoretically rule Northern Ireland (in Article 2), a claim qualified by an acknowledgement that the south would only in fact rule the twenty-six county southern state, its seas and territorial waters, in Article 3. The new Articles 2 & 3, added to the Bunreacht to replace the earlier articles. implicitly acknowledge that the status of Northern Ireland, and its relationships with the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, would only be changed with the agreement of the people of Northern Ireland. An acknowledgement that a decision on whether to remain in the United Kingdom or join the Republic of Ireland rests with the people of Northern Ireland was also central to the Belfast Agreement, which was signed in 1998 and ratified by plebiscites held simultanously in both Northern Ireland and the Republic. A plebiscite within Northern Ireland on whether it should remain in the United Kingdom, or join the Republic, was held in 1973. The vote went heavily in favour of maintaining the status quo, in part because many nationalists desiring unity with the south opted not to take part. Though legal provision remains for holding another plebiscite, and Ulster Unionist Party leader David Trimble some years ago advocated the holding of such a vote, no plans for such a vote have been adopted as of 2005.Demographics and politics
The vast majority of the population of Northern Ireland identifies with one of two different groups, unionists and nationalists. Both sides of the community are often described by their predominant religious attachments. Unionists are predominantly Protestant, while nationalists are predominantly Catholic. However, contrary to widespread belief, not all Catholics necessarily support nationalism, and not all Protestants necessarily support unionism. It is also important to note that, in parallel with other parts of Europe, the proportion of the population practising their religious beliefs has fallen dramatically in recent decades, particularly among Catholics and adherents of mainstream Protestant denominations. This has not necessarily resulted in a weakening of communal feeling. Once established under the Government of Ireland Act 1920, Northern Ireland was structured geographically so as to provide unionist majorities in its local government system, with significantly nationalist areas producing unionist majorities through the granting of voting rights exclusively to property owners. Anger of local government control by Protestants, and the awarding of housing to Protestants to ensure Unionist majorities in areas with large Catholic populations, played a significant part in creating the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, with a sit-in by nationalist politician Austin Currie in a house granted to an unmarried protestant woman ahead of a large homeless Catholic family triggering off the movement. In recent decades the Catholic population has increased in percentage terms within Northern Ireland, while the Presbyterian and Church of Ireland population percentages have decreased. However the decreasing size of Catholic families and the increasing use of birth control among the Catholic community and led to a slowing down in the growth of the Catholic population. Statisticians predict both communities will achieve close to parity in size, with Protestants dominant primarily to the east of Northern Ireland and Catholics dominant to the west and south. However as of 2005 most statisticians predict that Protestants will continue to slightly outnumber Catholics in Northern Ireland as a whole. As not all Catholics are nationalists, they predict a continuing majority in favour of the union with the United Kingdom. However this is disputed by a minority of statisticians.
The religious affiliations, based on census returns, have changed as follows between 1961 and 2002:
Religious Affiliations in Northern Ireland 1961–2001
Religions 1961 1991 2001
Roman Catholic 34.9% 38.4% 40.3%
Presbyterian (Protestant) 29.0% 21.4% 20.7%
Church of Ireland (Protestant) 24.2% 17.7% 15.3%
Other Religions 9.3% 11.5% 9.9%
Not Stated 2.0% 7.3% 9.0%
None 0.0% 3.8% 5.0%
Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey 2003

Religion Affiliation 2003
Protestant Unionist 68%

Nationalist 1%

Neither 29%
Catholic Unionist 0%

Nationalist 60%

Neither 36%
Total Unionist 38%

Nationalist 24%

Neither 35%
Most Northern Irish Catholics support unification, although opinion polls have shown a minority who support remaining part of the UK, usually while continuing to support nationalist political parties. This proportion has slowly but steadily declined over the course of the Troubles. The proportion of Protestants who wish to join the Republic is smaller. There are also considerable numbers of people who give ambiguous answers to questions about the future constitutional status of Northern Ireland. While elections in Northern Ireland are often characterised as mini-referenda on the constitutional question, this is too simplistic an analysis. Voters may also perceive voting to be about strengthening the hand of their section of the community within Northern Ireland, or about gaining advantage for their social class.Political parties
Political parties in Northern Ireland can be divided into three distinct categories: unionist parties, such as the Democratic Unionist Party, the Ulster Unionist Party, and other smaller parties such as the Progressive Unionist Party and the United Kingdom Unionist Party; nationalist parties, Sinn Féin and the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP); and cross-community parties such as the Alliance Party and the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition. Other parties who contest elections in Northern Ireland include the Green Party, the Workers Party and the Northern Ireland branch of the Conservative Party. Some commentators believe there are indications that the religious and ethnic basis of the party system may start to disintegrate. Optimists counter that, in the long-term, as the constitutional question may become less relevant due to the emergence of the European Union, and therefore a less sectarian political system may develop.Culture
With its improved international reputation, Northern Ireland has recently witnessed rising numbers of tourists who come to appreciate the area’s unique heritage. Attractions include cultural festivals, musical and artistic traditions, countryside and geographical sites of interest, pubs, welcoming hospitality and sports (especially golf and fishing).Belfast
City of Belfast

Pro Tanto Quid Retribuamus
“what shall we give in return for so much”
County Antrim


Location within the British Isles

Belfast is the largest city in, and capital of both Northern Ireland and Ulster. It has a population of 277,391. Belfast is situated at the mouth of the River Lagan on Belfast Lough and is surrounded by hills. Belfast saw the worst of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. A calmer scene in recent years has allowed some development of the city. The Lagan riverfront has been regenerated, including the new Odyssey complex and sports arena. Much of the city centre has now been pedestrianised. The city has two airports: Belfast City Airport adjacent to Belfast Lough and Belfast International Airport which is near Lough Neagh. Queen’s University Belfast is the main university in Belfast. The University of Ulster also maintains a campus in the city, which concentrates in arts.Geography
The name Belfast originates from the Irish Béal Feirste, or the mouth of the Farset, the river on which the city was built. Interestingly, the river Farset has been superseded by the River Lagan as the most important river; the Farset now languishes under Bridge Street in obscurity. To the north of Belfast are the Antrim Hills in County Antrim, and to the south, the Castlereagh Hills in County Down. Overlooking the city are Black Mountain and Cavehill – the famous Napoleon’s nose is a basaltic outcrop here which forms the border with neighbouring Glengormley.Points of interest
The City Hall, dating from 1903, Queen’s University, Belfast (1849), and other Victorian and Edwardian buildings display a large number of sculptures. Among the grandest buildings are two former banks: Ulster Bank (1860), in Waring Street and Northern Bank (1769), in nearby Donegall Street. The world’s largest dry dock is located in the city, and the giant cranes (Samson and Goliath) of the Harland and Wolff shipyard, builders of the Titanic, can be seen from afar. Other long gone industries included Irish linen and rope-making. The north of the city is known for its murals, reflecting the political and religious allegiances of the two communities. The Shankill Road, which is predominantly Protestant, has murals depicting loyalty to the British Crown, the Ulster Volunteer Force, and other loyalist paramilitaries. Conversely, murals on the Falls Road and Ardoyne, mainly Catholic areas, feature political themes like a united Ireland, and the Irish Republican Army, as well as traditional folklore and the Irish language. The Ulster folk hero Cú Chulainn has appeared on both loyalist and republican murals.History
The site of Belfast has been occupied since the Bronze ages, and the remains of Iron Age hill forts can still be seen. In the early 17th century Belfast was settled by English and Scottish settlers, under a plan by Sir Arthur Chichester to colonise and remove Irish Catholics from the land. This caused much tension with the existing Irish Catholic population who rebelled in 1641, when England was distracted with its Civil War. The resulting slaughter is still strong in Ulster Protestant folk memory. It was later settled by a small number of French Huguenots who established a sizeable linen trade. Belfast became the centre of Irish Protestantism, and in 1922 it was declared the capital of Northern Ireland after Ireland was partitioned into Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State. During the Second World War, Belfast was heavily bombed by German forces due to its concentration of heavy shipbuilding and aerospace industries. Much of the city was flattened. For much of its history, Belfast has been racked by sectarian divisions between Roman Catholics and Protestants, and was hit hard by The Troubles of the 1960s-1990s. The formation of the Laganside Corporation in 1989 heralded the start of the regeneration

(Coat of Arms)

of the River Lagan and its surrounding areas in Belfast.England
England’s location within the UK
Official language
None; English is de facto

Capital London de facto
(de jure capital
of England and Wales)

Largest city London


– Total Ranked 1st UK
130,395 km²


– Total (2001)

– Density
Ranked 1st UK
Local Politics
In the 2001 elections, the voters of Belfast elected 51 councillors to Belfast City Council from the following political parties: 14 Sinn Féin, 11 Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), 10 Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), 9 Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), 3 Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), 3 Alliance Party and 1 Ulster Democratic Party. Belfast has four UK parliamentary and Assembly constituencies – North Belfast, West Belfast, South Belfast and East Belfast. All four extend somewhat beyond the city boundaries into parts of Castlereagh, Lisburn and Newtownabbey districts. In 2001, these elected 2 DUP MPs, 1 Ulster Unionist MP and 1 Sinn Féin MP. In 2003, they elected 7 Sinn Féin, 6 DUP, 5 Ulster Unionist, 4 SDLP, 1 PUP, and 1 Alliance MLAs (members of the Northern Ireland Assembly). Home of the News Letter (historically known as “The tuppenny liar”), the oldest newspaper in the world still in publication. Other main newspapers include The Irish News (historically known as “the penny liar”) and The Belfast Telegraph
England is a country or nation of northwest Europe, and the largest, the most populous, and the most densely populated of the four constituent parts of the United Kingdom. England has land borders with Wales and Scotland, two other parts of the UK, on the island of Great Britain. Elsewhere it is surrounded by the sea. England is named after the Angles, one of a number of Germanic peoples who settled there in the 5th and 6th centuries. England has not had a distinct political identity since 1707, when Great Britain was established as a unified political entity. It does, however, have a separate legal identity from Scotland and Northern Ireland, as part of the entity of “England and Wales” the capital of which, London, is also the capital of the UK.Symbols and insignia
The two traditional symbols of England are the St. George’s cross (the English flag) and the Three Lions coat of arms (both are pictured above), derived from the great Norman powers that formed the monarchy – the Cross of Aquitaine and the Lions of Anjou. The three lions were first definitely used by Richard I (Richard the Lionheart), on his second seal, in the late twelfth century (although it is thought that Henry I may have bestowed it on his son Henry before then). Historian Simon Schama has argued that the Three Lions are the true symbol of England because the English throne descended down the Angevin line. However, a red cross acted as a symbol for many Crusaders in the 12th and 13th centuries. It became associated with Saint George, and England, along with other countries and cities which claimed him as their patron saint and used his cross as a banner. It remained in national use until 1707, when the Union Flag was adopted for all purposes to unite the whole of Great Britain under a common flag. The flag of England no longer has much of an official role, but it is widely flown by Church of England properties and at sporting events The Three Lions badge performs a similar role for the English national football team and English national cricket team.History
Since the term “English” explicitly refers to peoples who arrived on the island of Great Britain relatively recently, it is anachronistic to talk of England’s prehistory or ancient history which, though rich and interesting, are properly dealt with as part of the history of the island of Great Britain as a whole. England has been inhabited for at least 500,000 years, although the repeated Ice Ages made much of Britain uninhabitable for extended periods until as recently as 20,000 years ago. Stone Age hunter-gatherers eventually gave way to farmers and permanent settlements, with a spectacular and sophisticated megalithic civilisation arising in western England some 4,000 years ago. It was replaced around 1,500 years later by Celtic tribes migrating from continental Europe. These tribes were known collectively as “Britons”, a name bestowed by Phoenician traders – an indication of how, even at this early date, the island was part of a Europe-wide trading network. The Britons were significant players in continental politics and supported their allies in Gaul militarily during the Gallic Wars with the Roman Republic. This prompted the Romans to invade and subdue the island, first with Julius Caesar’s raid in 55 BC, and then the Emperor Claudius’ conquest in the following century. The whole southern part of the island — roughly corresponding to modern day England and Wales — became a prosperous part of the Roman Empire. It was finally abandoned early in the 5th century when the legions were pulled back to the Continent. Unaided by the Roman army, Roman Britannia could not long resist the Germanic tribes who arrived in the 5th and 6th centuries, pushing the Britons back into modern-day Wales and Cornwall. The invaders fell into three main groups: the Jutes, the Saxons, and the Angles. As they became more civilised, recognisable states formed and began to merge with one another. From time to time throughout this period, one Anglo-Saxon king, recognised as the “Bretwalda” by other rulers, had effective control of all or most of the English; so it is impossible to identify the precise moment when the country of England was unified. In some sense, real unity came as a response to the Danish Viking incursions which occupied the eastern half of “England” in the 8th century. Egbert, King of Wessex (d. 839) is often regarded as the first king of all the English, although the title “King of England” was first adopted, two generations later, by Alfred the Great (ruled 871–899). Some school histories of England begin with the Norman conquest in 1066, and the numbering system used for English monarchs treats that event as a blank slate from which to count. But although he unquestionably engineered a pivotal moment in the country’s history, William the Conqueror did not “found” or “unify” the country; he took over a pre-existing England and gave it an Anglo-Norman administration and nobility who gradually adopted the language and customs of the English over the succeeding centuries. England came repeatedly into conflict with Wales and Scotland, at the time an independent principality and an independent kingdom respectively, as its rulers sought to expand English power across the entire island of Britain. The conquest of Wales was achieved in the 13th century when it was annexed to England and gradually came to be a part of that kingdom for most legal purposes, although in the modern era it is more usually thought of as a separate nation. English power in Scotland waxed and waned over the years, with the Scots managing to maintain a varying degree of independence despite repeated wars with the English. Although it was on the whole only a moderately successful power in military terms, England became one of the wealthiest states in medieval Europe, due chiefly to its dominance in the lucrative wool market. The failure of English territorial ambitions in continental Europe prompted the kingdom’s rulers to look further afield, creating the foundation.s of the mercantile and colonial network that was to become the British Empire. The turmoil of the Reformation embroiled England in religious wars with Europe’s Catholic powers, notably Spain, but the kingdom preserved its independence as much through luck as through the skill of charismatic rulers such as Elizabeth I. Elizabeth’s successor, James I was already king of Scotland (as James VI); and this personal union of the two crowns was followed a century later by the Act of Union 1707 which finally unified England, Scotland and Wales to form the core of the present-day United Kingdom. For the history of England after that date, see History of the United Kingdom.Politics
Since the promulgation of the 1284 Statute of Rhuddlan and the Acts of Union 1536-1543 Wales has shared a legal identity with England as the joint entity of England and Wales. The Act of Union with the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707 created the Kingdom of Great Britain, subsuming England, Wales and Scotland into a single political entity. Scotland, along with Northern Ireland, retains separate legal systems and identities. The duchy of Cornwall also retains some unique rights. All of Great Britain has been ruled by the government of the United Kingdom since that date, although in 1999 the first elections to the newly created Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales left England as the only part of the Union with no devolved assembly or parliament. As all legislation for England is passed by Parliament at Westminster there are some complaints about the ability of non-English Members of Parliament to influence purely English affairs. This apparent anomaly has been highlighted by both English and non-English politicians, often those opposed to devolution, and has become popularly known as the West Lothian question. Administratively, England is something of an anomaly within the UK. Unlike the other three nations, it has no local parliament or government and its administrative affairs are dealt with by a combination of the UK government, the UK parliament and a number of England-specific quangos such as English Heritage. Although there are calls from some for a Devolved English Parliament, there appears to be little popular support for independence of England from the UK – perhaps due to its dominance in the Union. Those groups that do campaign for such a thing tend to be right-wing organisations with very little popular support. The current Labour government favoured the establishment of regional administration, claiming that England was too large to be governed as a sub-state entity. A referendum on this issue in North East England on 4 November 2004 decisively rejected the proposal. Some criticised the English regional proposals for not decentralising enough, saying that they amounted not to devolution, but to little more than local government reorganisation, with no real power being removed from central government. The English regions would not even have had the limited powers of the Welsh Assembly, much less the tax varying and legislative powers of the Scottish Parliament. Rather, power was simply re-allocated within the region, with little new resource allocation and no real prospects of Assemblies being able to change the pattern of regional aid. Responsibility for regional transport was added to the proposals late in the process. This was perhaps crucial in the North East, where resentment at the Barnett Formula, which delivers greater regional aid to adjacent Scotland, was a significant impetus for the North East devolution campaign. There has also been a campaign for a Cornish assembly along Welsh lines by groups such as Mebyon Kernow, which recently collected 50,000 signatures in support. Some eurosceptics believe that the establishment of English regions as administrative entities is designed to undermine the concept of English nationhood and more easily fit England into a European federal model. Conventionally the national capital of England is London, although technically it would be more exact to call London the capital of “England and Wales” given England’s lack of a distinctive political identity separate from the Principality. Winchester served as the country’s first national capital until some time in the late 11th century after the Norman Conquest. The City of London became England’s commercial capital, while the City of Westminster became the political capital. These roles have, broadly speaking, been maintained to the present day.Geography
England comprises the central and southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain, plus offshore islands of which the largest is the Isle of Wight. It is bordered to the north by Scotland and to the west by Wales. It is closer to continental Europe than any other part of Britain, divided from France only by a 21 mile (34 km) sea gap. Most of England consists of rolling hills, but it is more mountainous in the north with a chain of low mountains — the Pennines — dividing east from west. The dividing line between terrain types is usually indicated by the Tees-Exe line. There is also an area of flat, low-lying marshland in the east, much of which has been drained for agricultural use. The list of England’s largest cities is much debated because in British English the normal meaning of city is “a continously built up urban area”; these are hard to define and various other definitions are preferred by some people to boost the ranking of their own city. London is by far the largest English city. Manchester and Birmingham vie for second place. Liverpool is probably fourth, although fourth place is sometimes claimed for Leeds using very ambitious metropolitan area claims. Newcastle is generally placed sixth, and is perhaps the last which can claim a “big city” feel. Other substantial cities include Nottingham, Bristol, Sheffield, Bradford and Leicester. Using the standard U.S. city limits definition of a city the top six are: Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Liverpool, and Manchester. Note that London is not on this list, and that one of the two candidates for the status of England’s “second city”, Manchester, is down in sixth. In the UK, this method of ranking cities is generally only used by people whose own city is promoted by it.Demographics
England is both the most populous and the most ethnically diverse nation in the United Kingdom with around 49 million inhabitants, of which roughly a tenth are from non-White ethnic groups. It is one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, second only to the Netherlands in terms of population density. This population is made up of, and descended from, immigrants who have arrived over millennia. The principal waves of migration have been in c. 600 BC (Celts), the Roman period (garrison soldiers from throughout the Empire), 350–550 (Angles, Saxons, Jutes), 800–900 (Vikings, Danes), 1066 (Normans), 1650–1750 (European refugees and Huguenots), 1880–1940 (Jews), 1950— (Caribbeans, Africans, South Asians), 1985— (citizens of European Community member states, East Europeans, Iranians, Kurds, refugees). The general prosperity of England has also made it a destination for economic migrants particularly from Ireland and Scotland. This diverse ethnic mix continues to create a diverse and dynamic language that is widely used internationally.Languages
As its name suggests, the English language, today spoken by hundreds of millions of people around the world, originated as the language of England, where it remains the principal tongue today. An Indo-European language in the Germanic family, it is closely related to Scots, Frisian and Low Saxon. As the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms merged into England, “Old English” emerged; some of its literature and poetry has survived. Used by aristocracy and commoners alike before the Norman conquest (1066), English was displaced in cultured contexts under the new regime by the Norman French language of the new Anglo-French aristocracy. Its use was confined primarily to the lower social classes while official business was conducted in a mixture of Latin and French. Over the following centuries, however, English gradually came back into fashion among all classes and for all official business except certain traditional ceremonies. (Some survive to this day.) But Middle English, as it had by now become, showed many signs of French influence, both in vocabulary and spelling. During the renaissance, many words were coined from Latin and Greek origins; and more recent years, Modern English has extended this custom, being always remarkable for its far-flung willingness to incorporate foreign-influenced words. The law does not recognise any language as being official, but English is the only language used in England for general official business. The other national languages of the UK are confined to their respective nations, and only Welsh is treated by law as an equal to English . The only non-Anglic native spoken language in England is the Cornish language, a Celtic language spoken in Cornwall, which became extinct in the 19th century but has been revived and is spoken in various degrees of fluency by around 3,500 people. This has no official status (unlike Welsh) and is not required for official use, but is nonetheless supported by national and local government under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Scots is spoken by some adjacent the Anglo-Scottish Border. Despite the relatively small size of the nation, there are a large number of distinct English regional accents. Those with particularly strong accents may not be easily understood elsewhere in the country.London
London is the capital of the United Kingdom (and England) and is the country’s largest city with over seven million inhabitants. London’s population consists of an enormously diverse range of peoples, cultures and religions making it one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Europe, and the world. It is the home of very many institutions, organisations and companies, and as such remains at the heart of global affairs. It has a great number of important buildings including world famous museums, theatres, concert halls, airports, railway stations, palaces, and offices. It is the home of many embassies and consulates, and attracts a great many of the world’s wealthiest people as permanent or temporary residents. London produces 17% of the UK’s GDP and is one of the world’s major financial centres. A truly international city, London is pre-eminent in culture, communications, politics, finance, and the arts. Alongside New York City, Paris, and Tokyo, London is among the four most important global cities.Geography and climate
Greater London covers an area of 609 square miles (1,579 square km). London is a port on the Thames, a navigable river. The river has had a major influence on the development of the city. London began on the Thames’ north bank and for many centuries there was only a single bridge, London Bridge. Because of this the main focus of the city was on the north side of the Thames. When more bridges were built in the 18th century, the city expanded in all directions as the mostly flat or gently rolling countryside presented no obstacle to growth. There are some hills in London, examples being Parliament Hill and Primrose Hill, but these provided fine prospects of the city centre without significantly affecting the directions of the spread of the city and London is therefore roughly circular. The Thames was once a much broader shallower river than it is today. It has been extensively embanked, and many of its London tributaries now flow underground. The Thames is a tidal river, and London is vulnerable to flooding. The threat has increased over time due to a slow but continuous rise in high water level and the slow ’tilting’ of Britain caused by post-glacial rebound. The Thames Barrier was constructed across the Thames at Woolwich in the 1970s to deal with this threat, but in early 2005 it was suggested that a ten mile long barrier further downstream might be required to deal with the flood risk in the future. London has a temperate climate, with warm but seldom hot summers, cool but rarely severe winters, and regular but generally light precipitation throughout the year.History
Although there is no evidence of a large pre-Roman settlement, the name London is thought pre-date the Romans, who founded a settlement called Londinium on the north bank of the Thames circa 50AD. This fortified settlement was the capital of the Roman province of Britannia. After the fall of Roman Empire, Londinium was abandoned and a Saxon town named Lundenwic was established a mile or so to the west in what is now Aldwych, in the 7th century AD. The old Roman city was then re-occupied during the late 9th or early 10th century. Westminster was once a distinct town, and has been the seat of the English royal court and government since the mediæval era. Eventually Westminster and London grew together and formed the basis of London, becoming England’s largest – though not capital – city (Winchester was the capital city of England until the 12th century). From the 16th to the early 20th centuries London flourished as the capital of the British Empire. In 1666, the Great Fire of London swept through and destroyed a large part of the City of London. Re-building took over 10 years, but London’s growth accelerated in the 18th century and by the early 19th century it was the largest city in the world. London has grown steadily over centuries, surrounding and making suburbs of neighbouring villages and towns, farmland, countryside, meadows and woodlands, spreading in every direction. Probably the most significant changes to London in the last 100 years were as a result of the Blitz and other bombing by the German Luftwaffe that took place during World War II. The bombing flattened large tracts of housing and other buildings across London. The rebuilding during the 1950s and after characterised by a wide range of architectural styles has resulted in a lack of unity in architecture that has become part of London’s character. The Blitz killed over 30,000 Londoners. In the early part of the 20th Century Londoners used coal for heating their homes, which produced large amounts of smoke. In combination with climatic conditions this often caused a characteristic smog, and London became known for its typical “London Fog”, also known as “Pea Soupers”. London is also sometimes referred to as “The Smoke”, probably because of this.Modern London
Today Greater London comprises the City of London, 32 London boroughs including the City of Westminster, and the Inner and Middle Temples. The dominant centre of activity in London is the City of Westminster (including the West End) which is the main cultural, entertainment and shopping district, the location of most of London’s major corporate headquarters outside of the financial services sector, and the centre of the UK’s national government. The City of London, (known as the “square mile”), is an important financial centre. Very busy during the working week, most parts of the City tend to be quiet at weekends, since it is primarily a non-residential area. London attracts very large numbers of visitors and tourists. Tourist attractions are mainly in Central London, comprising the historic City of London; the West End with its cinemas, bars, clubs, theatres, shops and restaurants; the City of Westminster with the Royal palaces of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House etc., the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea with its museums (the Science Museum, Natural History Museum, and Victoria and Albert Museum) and Hyde Park. Other important tourist attractions include the Bankside area of Southwark with the Globe Theatre, Tate Modern, and London Bridge, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, Tate Britain on the Embankment, the British Museum in Bloomsbury. There are many other museums and places of interest.London Districts
Central London
City of London (the ‘Square Mile’)
The City is the principle financial district not only of London, but of the UK and Europe. It is governed by the Corporation of London, an ancient body headed by the Lord Mayor of London. The City also has its own police force – the City of London police. Once dominated by the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral it is now home to many tall by buildings, including the tallest, Tower 42 and 30 St Mary Axe. The City has only a small resident population, but a daytime working population of more than 300,000. It primacy as the chief financial district has been directly challenged by Canary Wharf in East London.
The West End
The West End is the most popular shopping and entertainment district in London. Oxford Street is one of the best known shopping streets in the world. Running from Tottenham Court Road in the east to Marble Arch in the west, via Oxford Circus where it crosses Regent Street, it is home to many large department stores and shops. South of Oxford Street’s eastern end is Soho, a network of small streets crowded with restaurants, pubs, clubs, smaller shops and boutiques, and theatres and cinemas, as well as media companies and film, advertising and post-production companies. Soho is also well known for its very lively club and bar scene, and the notorious sex industry. Piccadilly is an elegant thoroughfare running from Piccadilly Circus in the east to Hyde Park Corner in the west. It is adjacent to Mayfair, and Green Park. Regent Street and Bond Street are important thoroughfares.East London
East London saw much of London’s early industrial development and much of it now is being extensively redeveloped as part of the Thames Gateway. It is also key to London’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics. Further afield there is much suburban development.

The East End
The East End of London is closest to the original Port of London, and tended for that reason to be the area of the city where immigrants arriving into the port would settle first. Successive waves of immigrants include the French, the Hugenots, Belgians, Jews, Gujaratis, Pakistanis, and many other groups. The East End extends from the eastern side of The City and includes areas such as Whitechapel, Mile End, Bethnal Green, Hackney, Bow and Poplar. The area has many of places of interest including many of London’s markets, and several museums, including the Geffrye Museum and the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. The East End is an area of uncertain delimitations. It abounds with legend, sentimentality and cockneys. It has a history of working class cheer, resilience, organised crime and gangsters such as the Kray Twins, and poverty, ameliorated by a spirit of British toughness.
The Isle of Dogs has developed enormously since the early 1980s. For a period in the early 1980s many warehouse buildings in Wapping had been occupied and used as artists studios and low cost loft living spaces. This inevitably drew the attention of property developers who gradually moved in to take over. The LDDC was set up to accellerate the process, and the first phases of major development started to reshape the area, culminating in Canary Wharf. A massive scale development within the last three or four years has added a great many more skyscrapers, and many large businesses have moved in. A new headquarters for HSBC and Barclays as well as the European headquarters of Citigroup, have now been completed, and are in use. Attracted by this growth, restaurants, bars and nightclubs have opened, there is a shopping mall beneath the Canary Wharf structure, and a cinema complex has opened in the area. The DLR serves the area connecting to the Underground at Bank Station. There is a huge sports and music venue nearby, Docklands Arena. There has also been a great deal of residential development in the area, extending west around Limehouse Basin and towards Wapping, where loft apartments are de rigeur for a community of bankers, software developers and financial services types who work in and around Docklands.West London
West London includes many of the traditionally fashionable and expensive residential areas such as Notting Hill, made famous recently by a film of the same name starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. Nearby is the famous antique market at Portobello Road. Kensington and Chelsea are the most expensive places to live in the country. The area is also famous for the Kings Road, a distinguished and attractive shopping street and thoroughfare. Further to the west,at White City, near Shepherd’s Bush is the principle operating centre for the BBC while in the extreme west, in the London Borough of Hillingdon lies Heathrow Airport.South London
South London contains such diverse districts as Wimbledon, Bermondsey, and Dulwich. Redevelopment of Elephant and Castle, a road intersection and district close to the centre of the city, is due to start in 2006. Greenwich is on the banks of the Thames where the river broadens into a wide meandering reach of muddy water. It is an historic neighbourhood and boasts a fine park and the Royal Greenwich Observatory. It is also has a popular market. Brixton, Camberwell and Peckham are home to many families who immigrated to London from the West Indies during the 1950’s and 60s and 70s, sometimes known as Afro-Carribeans.North London
North London includes suburbs such as Hampstead and Highgate which retain a village atmosphere. North London is more hilly than the south, and many of the hills give excellent views across the city. Large parks include Hampstead Heath, which includes Parliament Hill, noted for its fine views over the city, and the Hampstead bathing ponds; and Alexandra Park, site of Alexandra Palace. Many areas have significant minority populations including Stamford Hill, home to a significant community of Orthodox Jews, and the Green Lanes area of Harringay which has a large Turkish community.Demographics
London was the most populous city in the world from 1825 until 1925, when it was overtaken by New York City. Residents of London are known as ‘Londoners’. In the 2001 census the City and the 32 boroughs (some 1579 km² or 610 square miles) had an official 7,172,036 inhabitants, making London one of the most populous cities in Europe alongside Moscow and Paris. Subsequent reviews suggested that the returns were understated, and that the population on Census Day was closer to 7.29 million. The official estimate of London’s population in mid-2003 is 7,387,900. As for the metropolitan area of London: unlike many other countries, the UK does not provide national metropolitan area population figures based on commuter percentages and economic influence. This is left up to each individual city to define. This has created much confusion when comparing London’s true metropolitan area region with others around the world. It is helped even less by the term “Greater London” for the political entity of the “City Proper”, which is often confused as a metropolitan area. Without a specific National reference to London’s metropolitan area, many different sources provide alternate definitions. One such definition describes the London metropolitan area (6,267 square miles, 16,043 km²) with a population of 13,945,000 — larger than the combined populations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. If this definition is followed, then London is the largest metropolitan area of Europe, along with Moscow (whose metropolitan area has somewhere around 14 million people), and above Paris. However, the definition used here for the metropolitan area of London should be taken with a lot of caution, as it includes areas quite far away from London, such as Dover, right by the English Channel, or Colchester, in the very north of Essex. Discounting eastern Kent, northern Essex, and West Berkshire, the figure is closer to 12-12.5 million people.
In 2004, the Government of Greater London officially defined a metropolitan region centered on London covering 27,224 km² (10,511 sq. miles) with a population of approximately 18 million people, including a large portion (though not all of) the South East England and East of England regions. A metropolitan region is not the same as a metropolitan area. It is a region where there are a vast number of linkages and networks between all the urban settlements. Another metropolitan region is the one extending from Rotterdam to Cologne along the Rhine River, with about 30 million people in it. It should be noted, however, that the metropolitan region of London defined here bears little or no relation to what “London” is understood to be by the British public.Government
Greater London is subdivided into 32 London boroughs and the City of London. The boroughs are the most important unit of local government in London, and are responsible for running most local services in their respective areas. The City of London is run not by a conventional local authority, but by the historical Corporation of London. The Greater London Authority (GLA) is the London-wide body responsible for co-ordinating the boroughs, strategic planning, and running some London-wide services such as policing, the fire service and transport. The GLA consists of the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. The mayor is elected by the Supplementary Vote system while the assembly is elected by the Additional Member System. The incumbent Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, was elected as an independent candidate in the 2000 election. Despite opposition from all the main political parties and the press, his popularity with Londoners has remained high. Livingstone was expelled from the Labour Party when he opposed the official Labour candidate Frank Dobson in the 2000 Mayoral election. Re-admitted in 2004, he was re-elected as Mayor as an official Labour candidate in the election. The GLA was established in 2000 as a replacement body for the former Greater London Council (GLC), which was established in 1965 and then abolished in 1986 (while led by Livingstone) after clashes with the Conservative government led by Margaret Thatcher. When the GLC was abolished, most of its functions were devolved to the London boroughs, while others were taken over by joint-boards or other unelected bodies. The boroughs thus enjoyed “unitary status” and a degree of autonomy when the GLC was abolished, which they have now lost to some extent. From 1855-1889 London was governed by the Metropolitan Board of Works and from 1889-1965 by the London County Council. The territorial police force for the 32 London boroughs is the Metropolitan Police Service, more commonly referred to as the Metropolitan Police, or simply “the Met”. The City of London has its own police force, the City of London Police.Transport and Infrastructure
Transport is one of the four areas of policy administered by the Mayor of London, but the mayor’s financial control is limited. The executive agency which runs London’s transport system is Transport for London (TfL). The public transport network is one of the most extensive in the world, but faces serious congestion and reliability issues. London’s Underground Railway is the oldest in the world, and possibly one of the busiest. It is thought that more than 3 million people use the Underground every day. The Underground has in recent decades suffered from a lack of sufficient investment since the sums of money needed to keep it fully modernised are very high. This has led to congestion and delays for passengers in some areas of the network, although there have also been improvements, for example the opening of the Jubilee Line extension. Recently the London Rail and Tram network has received substantial funding. Most of the streets of central London were laid out before cars were invented and London’s road network is often congested. Attempts to tackle this go back at least to the 1740s, when the New Road was built through the fields north of the city; it is now just another congested central London thoroughfare. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, new wide roads such as Victoria Embankment, Shaftesbury Avenue and Kingsway were created. Some drastic plans for motorways in the heart of the city were put forward in the decades immediately after World War II, but they came to little due to the costs involved and objections to the mass demolitions required. By the end of the 20th century policy swung towards a preference for public transport improvements. London’s famous red double decker buses are now run by private companies, although it is a requirement that the buses still be painted red. However the iconic red “Routemaster” bus has now almost disappeared. There have been major improvements to the bus service in recent years, and passenger journeys are now more than 5 million a day, which is around 2 million more than on the Underground. Another icon, the famous London taxi black cab remains a common sight. Heathrow 10 miles west of London is London’s principal airport and a major hub. It is currently the busiest international airport in the world. A fifth terminal will open in 2008. London Gatwick Airport and London Stansted Airport are also large international airports, with approximately 30 million and 20 million passengers a year respectively. They are both outside the boundaries of Greater London, as is the fourth largest airport which serves London, London Luton Airport. Dedicated rail services serve Gatwick, Luton and Stansted, and the Heathrow Express and London Underground Piccadilly Line both serve Heathrow. London’s fifth largest international airport, and the one closest to the city centre, is London City Airport in Docklands. Other airfields in Greater London include Biggin Hill, and Northolt, and others close to London include Manston in Kent and Southend in Essex. The River Thames is navigable to ocean going vessels as far as London Bridge, and to substantial craft well past Greater London. Historically it was one of London’s main transport arteries. This is no longer the case, but there are still small scale passenger services, and a large number of leisure cruises operate on the river. Additionally some bulk cargoes are carried on the river, and the Mayor of London wishes to increase this use. London also has several canals, including the Regent’s Canal which links the Thames to the Grand Union Canal and thus to the waterway network across much of England. These canals are no longer used to transport goods, but they are popular with leisure cruisers.Education
Most state schools in London are run by the London Boroughs. In common with other large cities in the UK, there are problems in some inner city schools, particularly those in less affluent areas. It is difficult to retain teachers in struggling schools. London’s high property prices mean that teachers are often unable to afford to buy their own homes, which forces many to moving to more affordable parts of the country. There are many private schools in Greater London including some of England’s best known public schools such as Harrow and Westminster. London has the largest student population of any British city, although not the highest per capita. Universities in London may be divided into two groups: firstly, the federal University of London, which, with over 100,000 students, is the largest university in the United Kingdom. It comprises over 50 colleges and institutes with a high degree of autonomy. Constituent colleges have their own admissions procedures, and are effectively universities in their own right, although all degrees are awarded by the University of London rather than the individual colleges. The largest and most prestigious colleges include University College London, (UCL), Imperial College, King’s College London, Queen Mary, University of London and the London School of Economics, while smaller schools and institutes include the School of Oriental and African Studies, the Institute of Education, and Birkbeck College, which specialises in part time and mature students. Secondly, there are the independent universities, most of which were polytechnics until UK polytechnics were granted university status in 1992.Media
The British media is concentrated in London. This creates in some people’s view, a “London bias” in the output of the media. The BBC, which remains Britain’s most respected and indeed internationally envied news and media organisation, is based in London, though it also has centres in many other cities in the UK, from where much regional broadcasting emanates. Other TV companies including ITV and BSkyB, are also London based. Channel 4 and Five are also London based, as are a great many TV production companies. The English newspaper market is dominated by national newspapers, and the majority of them are edited in London. Until the 1970s, most of the national newspapers were concentrated in Fleet Street, but the 1980s, with the advent of computerised printing technologies saw most move away from the confines of Fleet Street to larger premises with automated printing works, notably to Wapping, near Tower Bridge. The move was resisted strongly by the printing trade unions SOGAT 82, and strike action at the News International buildings in Wapping in 1986 saw violent skirmishes. The last major news agency in Fleet Street, Reuters, moved to Canary Wharf in 2003, but Fleet Street is still commonly used as a collective term for the national press. London is at the centre of British film and television production industries, with major studio facilities on the western fringes of the conurbation and a large post production industry centred in Soho. London is one of the two leading centres of English language publishing alongside New York. Globally important media companies based in London range from publishing group Pearson, to the information agency Reuters, to the world’s number two advertising business WPP Group. The local media generally has a lower profile than the national media in London as in the rest of England, but there are some important local outlets. London has its own local daily evening newspaper, the Evening Standard, and a free newspaper called Metro, is distributed in the morning, mainly at railway stations. The BBC’s operates BBC London radio, and there are several independent radio stations, including Capital FM and Kiss FM.Religion
When Pope Gregory the Great sent St. Augustine to bring England into the Catholic fold in 597 CE, it was intended that the envoy should become “Archbishop of London”, as the city was remembered as the capital of Roman Britain. In the event, the saint received his most hospitable reception in the Kingdom of Kent, and the archiepiscopal see was founded at Canterbury. Nonetheless London has been at the centre of England’s religious life for much of its history, and each Archbishop of Canterbury has traditionally spent much of his time in London, where he has an official residence at Lambeth Palace. London’s two Anglican bishops are the Bishop of London, whose see is London north of the Thames, and whose throne is in London’s grandest church, the baroque St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Bishop of Southwark, who tends to Anglicans south of the river. However, as in the rest of the UK, religious attendance in London is low, and the Church of England has borne the brunt of this decline. The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster is generally regarded as the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. Other traditional Protestant denominations whose headquarters are in London include the United Reformed Church and the Quakers. Many of London’s immigrant groups have established denominations in the city, for example Greek Orthodoxy. In addition various evangelical churches exist. London is the most important centre of Islam in the UK United Kingdom. Two London boroughs contain the highest proportion of Muslims in the UK: Tower Hamlets and Newham. The London Central Mosque is a well known landmark on the edge of Regent’s Park, while other large mosques have been built in Whitechapel and Finsbury Park. London also has a large Hindu population. Southall, in West London is home to many Hindus. The Hindu temple at Neasden, Neasden Temple is remarkable as the largest Hindu temple outside of India. Much of the enormously elaborate and intricate marble sculpture used in the building was carved in India. Over two thirds of British Jews live in London, which ranks thirteenth in the world as a Jewish population centreCulture
London has five professional symphony orchestras; the London Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. There are also several chamber orchestras, some of which specialise in period instrument performances, including the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. The Royal Opera House at Covent Garden is home to the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet companies. The other main opera company is the English National Opera. In the summer opera is performed in a temporary pavilion by Opera Holland Park, and there are occasional performances by visiting opera companies and small freelance professional opera companies. The major venues for contemporary dance productions include the Sadler’s Wells Theatre and the Barbican Centre.Festivals
London hosts several festivals, fairs and carnivals throughout the year. The most famous is the Notting Hill Carnival, the world’s largest carnival. The carnival takes place over the August bank holiday weekend, and attracts almost 2 million people. It has a distinctly Afro-Caribbean flavour, and highlights include a competition between London’s steelpan bands and a 3 mile street parade with dancing and music. In addition there are many smaller fairs and parades, including the Christmas Without Cruelty Fayre, a fair held annually to promote animal rights.Theatre
There are over three dozen major theatres, most concentrated in the West End (see the articles West End Theatre and List of London venues). West End theatres are commercial ventures and show musicals, comedy and serious drama. The subsidised or non-commercial theatre includes the National Theatre, which is based at the South Bank; the Royal Shakespeare Company which is based in Stratford, but presents seasons in London; The Globe, a modern reconstruction of the home of Shakespeare’s troupe; The Royal Court Theatre which specialises in new drama; the Old Vic; and the Young Vic. London also boasts a vibrant fringe theatre culture including places such as the Battersea Arts Centre, The UCL Bloomsbury, The Place, and Tricycle Theatre.Art
The British National collection of Western Art to 1900 is held at The National Gallery. Other major collections of pre-1900 art are The Wallace Collection; the Courtauld Gallery at the Courtauld Institute of Art; and Dulwich Picture Gallery. The national collection of post-1900 art is at Tate Modern and the national collection of British Art is at Tate Britain. The National Portrait Gallery has a major collection of portraits of all periods. In addition to Tate Modern major contemporary art venues include White Cube, the Saatchi Gallery, and The ICA.Museums
London Museums include the British Museum (antiquities from all over the world), the Victoria and Albert Museum (applied arts), the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the National Maritime Museum, and the Museum of London. There are over 260 museums in London.Night-life
Apart from the pubs and clubs, there are many music venues. Among the best known are Shepherds Bush Empire, Brixton Academy, Hammersmith Apollo, Wembley Arena, The Marquee, The UCL Bloomsbury, Mean Fiddler, Albert Hall and the London Astoria.Business
The City of London or “Square Mile” is the financial centre of London, home to banks, brokers, insurers and legal and accounting firms. A second financial district is developing at Canary Wharf to the east of central London. This is much smaller than City of London, but has equally prestigious occupants, including the global headquarters of HSBC. Non-financial business headquarters are located throughout central London. Some are in City of London, but more are located further West, in and around Mayfair, St. James’s, The Strand and elsewhere. More than half of the UK’s top 100 listed companies (the FTSE) are headquartered in central London, and more than 70% in London’s metropolitan area. London is a leading global centre for professional services, and media and creative industries. Tourism is one of the UK’s largest industries. While the Port of London is now only the third largest in the United Kingdom — rather than largest in the world, as it once was — it still handles 50 million tonnes of cargo each year. The main docks are now at Tilbury which is outside the boundary of Greater London.London tourist attractions
Trafalgar Square

The Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster which contains Big Ben
interesting buildingsLiterature featuring London
London has been the setting for many works of literature. The two writers who are perhaps most closely associated with the city are the diarist Samuel Pepys, famous among other things for his eye-witness account of the Great Fire, and Charles Dickens, whose representation of a foggy, snowy, grimy London of street-sweepers and pickpockets is a major influence on people’s vision of early Victorian London.Films featuring London
London has appeared as the setting for many films, for example Notting Hill, and the Ealing comedies. There are gangster films and the romantic comedies of Richard Curtis. Adaptations of Dickens and the Sherlock Holmes novels abound. London is home to a very large film post-production and special effects industry.Vocabulary
Merge – susijungti
Onward – pirmyn
Warranted – pateisino
Elected – išrinko
Absorbed – užvaldė
Enactment – įstatymas
Boundary – riba
Established – įtvirtino
Crown – karūna
Abolished – panaikino
Notably – ypač
Pudely – visiškai
Domestic – vidaus, krašto
Patron – globėjas
Descended – nusileido, užpuolė
Simmered – nurimo
Referred – kalbėjo, nurodė
Comprises – susidėti iš, apimti
Estimated – apskaičiavo, įvertino
Fluent – sklandus
Accession – įžengimas į sostą
Resemblance – panašumas
Penetration – prasiskverbimas, įžvalgumas
Derivation – kilmė
Mutually – bendrai
Exclusive – ypatingas
Exaggerated – perdėjimas
Merchants – pirkliai
Latterly – pastaruoju metu
Proximity – artimumas
Persisted – užsispyrė
Contrary – priešingas
Belief – tikėjimas
Distinctive – būdingas
Inherited – paveldėjo
Designated – pavadino, pažymėjo
Facet – plokštumas, aspektas
Implement – įrankis
Parish – parapija
Tertiary – trečio laipsnio/pakopos
Acceptance – pritarimas
Branch – šaka, filialas
Intended – ketino, norėjo
Output – gamybos apimtis, našumas
Equate – prilyginti
Restrict – apriboti
Occurred – atsitiko, įvyko
Tenant – nuomininkas
Frequent – dažnas
Expelled – pašalino, išmetė
Repealed – atšaukė, panaikino
Penalty – bauda, bausmė
Predominantly – daugiausia
Extant – išlikęs
Settlement – susitarimas
Subsequent – vėlesnis
Allegation – nepagrįstas, tvirtinamas
Interior – vidinis
Citizens – miestiečiai, piliečiai
Echoed – atkartojo
Heritage – paveldas
Mural – freska
Tension – įtampa
Coal – akmens anglis
Neglect – apleisti
Folly – kvailystė
Enlightenment – apsišvietimas
Perched – nutūpė
Crag – stati uola
Ridge – kalnagūbris
Ravine – dauba
Swampy – pelkėtas
Pattern – modelis, pavyzdys
Confined – prikaustytas
Soil – žemė
Summits – viršūnės
Eminence – garsumas, įžymumas
Densely – tankiai
Sought – ieškojo, siekė
Lucrative – pelningas
Embroiled – įvėlė, įpainiojo
Proposal – pasiūlymas
Chain – grandinė
Thoroghfare – pagrindinis kelias
Poverty – skurdas
Inevitably – kaip ir reikėjo tikėtis
Craft – amatas, sugebėjimas
Bulk – dauguma
Cargoes – kroviniai
Indeed – žinoma, tikrai

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