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Highlights from Collier's World Atlas and Gazetteer, 1947

London, England, 1947

Collier's World Atlas and Gazetteer, 1947

    London is the capital of the British Empire, and one of the most populous cities in the world; administrative county, 4,230,200, "Greater London," 8,202,818. London, or "Greater London," on both sides of the Thames, in the counties of Surrey, Middlesex, Kent, and Essex, is composed of (a) Registration London, called the "Inner Ring," with a population of 4,298,000 and (b) the Suburban Districts, called the ‘Outer Ring," with a population of 3,904,818. Registration London is composed of (1) the city of London, called "the City," strictly speaking, a city within the city, with a distinct administration under the Lord Mayor, who has no jurisdiction beyond its limits and (2) the Administrative County of London, under control of the London County Council, and divided into 28 municipal boroughs; viz.: Battersea, Bermondsey, Bethnal Green, Camberwell, Chelsea, Deptford, Finsbury, Fulham, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith, Hampstead, Holborn, Islington, Kensington, Lambeth, Lewisham, Paddington, Poplar, St. Marylebone, St. Pancras, Shoreditch, Southwark, Stepney, Stoke-Newington, Wandsworth, Woolwich, and the city of Westminster.

    The registration County of London coincides with the Administrative County of London and very nearly with the collective parliamentary boroughs of London.

    The north and south portions of London are connected by bridges, and communication is also maintained subterraneously by the Thames Tunnel and subways. London is divided into several hundred parishes. The portion known as the city may be termed the financial center of the British Empire. What is legally termed the port of London extends about 7 miles below London Bridge beyond Blackwall; though the actual port, consisting of the upper, middle, and lower pools, does not reach beyond Limehouse. Independent of the river accommodation thus afforded for shipping, a series of vast inland docks extends from the Tower to nearly opposite Greenwich. There is also here an export and import dock, with room for 500 large merchantmen. The London docks, about 1½ miles below London Bridge, cover a large area. The tobacco warehouses are also very extensive. The city was formerly walled, with large entrances or gates. It may be divided into the City, and the East End, or commercial part, lying east of the Temple, and the West End, containing the clubs, museums, and residences.

London, England, 1947

    London has many parks and gardens and squares. The most noted among these are Trafalgar Square, St. James Park, adjoining the roya] residences; Hyde Park, covering 390 acres, the fashionable recreation park; Kensington Gardens, covering 240 acres; Regents Park, 472 acres, and containing famous zoological gardens; Battersea Park, and Victoria Park. Among the principal streets are Pall Mall, Oxford Street, Piccadilly, Regent Street, containing the finest shops; the Strand, a business thoroughfare; Fleet Street, Whitechapel, Leicester Square, and Lombard Street.

    London has more buildings of historical, literary, and scientific importance than any other city in the world. The most interesting of these are St. Paul's Cathedral (1675-1710), 500 feet in length and 364 feet in height; Westminster Abbey, dating from the thirteenth century and one of the most famous churches in the world; the Houses of Parliament; the Mansion House, the Guildhall; the Royal Courts of Justice; Buckingham Palace; the British Museum, with a library of 3,500,000 volumes; the Natural History Museum; the South Kensington Museum; the National Gallery, one of the largest galleries of paintings in the world; Christ's Hospital, formerly a boys' school; Charterhouse Asylum; and the Tower, the most noted historic structure in England.

London, England, 1947

    London stands among the first in the number of its institutions of learning. First among these is the University of London, including University College and King's College; Imperial College of Science and Technology; Royal College of Music; London School of Economics, and numerous schools and learned societies.

    The industrial interests of London are on a large scale, being the largest manufacturing city in Great Britain. Chief products are clothing and apparel, machinery, printing and publishing, food products, rubber goods, chemicals and drugs, brushes, leather goods and paper products. There are large manufactories in other lines.

    Nothing is known of London previous to the invasion of the Romans; but we learn from Tacitus that so early as the reign of Nero it was an important emporium. Eventually it became the capital of England, and after the Norman conquest, received a charter. The history of London thenceforward is one of continual progression, though at different periods severely visited by fires and pestilence. In 1381 Wat Tyler's rebellion was suppressed by the citizens.

    In the fifteenth century London began to make marvelous strides, and in the sixteenth it vied with Venezia, Genova, and Amsterdam, both in extensive foreign commerce and in the opulence of its citizens. During the reign of Charles II the city was partly desolated, first by the ravages of the Great Plague. Shortly after, in 1666, the "Great Fire of London," almost entirely destroyed the old city.

    London suffered severe damage in World War II, many historic and cultural landmarks being totally destroyed.

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Map of London, England, 1947