It lies astride the River Thames 50 miles(about 80 km)upstream from its estuary on the North Sea.In satellite photographs the metropolitan can be seen to sit compactly in a Green Belt of open land.The growth of the built-up area was halted by strict town planning controls in the mid-1950s.Its physical limits more or less correspond to the administrative and statical boundaries separating the metropolitan county of Greater London from the "home counties" of Kent, Surrey,and Berkshire to the south of the river and Buckinghamshire,Hertfordshire,and Essex to the north.The historic counties of Kent,Hertfordshire,and Essex, extend in area beyond the current administrative counties with the same names to include substantial parts of the metropolitan county of Greater London,which was formed in 1965.
If the border of the metropolis is well defined,its internal structure is immensely complicated and defies description.Indeed,London's defining characteristic is an absence of overall form.It is physically a polycentric city with many more districts and no clear hierarchy among them.London has at least two(and sometimes many more)of everything:cities,mayors , dioceses,cathedrals,chambers of commerce,police forces, opera houses,orchestras,and universities.In every aspect it functions as a compound of confederal metropolis.
Historically,London grew from three distinct centres: the walled settlement founded by the Romans on the banks of the Thames in the first century ce, today known as the "City of London","The Square Mile" or simply "The City" ;facing it across the bridge of lower gravels of the south bank, the suburb of south wark; and a mile upstream, on a great south ward bend of the river, the City of Westminster. The three settlements had distinct and complementary roles.London "The City" developed as a centre of trade, commerce, and banking.Southwark, "The Borough", became known for its monasteries, hospitals, inns, fairs, pleasure houses, and the great theatres of Elisabethan London-The Rose(1587), The Swan(1595) and Shakespeare's Globe(1599). Westminster grew up around an abbey,which a royal palace , and in its train, the entire central apparatus of the British State-its legislature, executive, and judiciary.It also boasts spacious parks and the most fashionable districts for living and shopping- The West End. The north-bank settlements merged into a single built-up area in the early decades of the 17th century, but they did not combine into a single enlarged municipality. The City of London was unique among Europe's capital cities in retaining its medieval bondaries.Westminster and other suburbs were left to develop their own administrative structure- a pattern replicated a hundred times over as London exploded in size, becoming the prototype of the modern metropolis.
The population of London already exceeded one million by 1800.A century later it reached 6,5 million. The city's physical expansion was not constrained either by military defenses(a highly influential factor on mainland Europe)or by the intervention of state power so evident in the town planning of Paris, Vienna, Rome, and other capitals of continental Europe.Although much of the land around London was owned by the aristocracy, the church, and other institutions with feudal roosts, its development was the work of unfettered capitalism driven by housing demands of the rising middle class.Free-ranging building speculation engulfed villages and small towns over an ever-widering radias with each improvement in transport, technology and purchasing power.The solidly built-up area of London measured some 5 miles(8 km) from east to west in 1750, 15 miles(24 km) in 1850, and 30 miles(50 km) in 1950.
The evacuation and bombing during World War II were a turning point in London's history because the brough the long era of expansive suburbanization to a sudden end.It was deceided by the government that the metropolis had grown too much for its own economic and social good and that its growth was a strategic risk.A Green Belt was imposed after the war, and subsequent growth was diverted beyond it. Later London's administrative boundaries were redrawn to incorporate almost the entire physical metropolis, an area of 656 square miles(1,699 square km) know as Greater London.
The London known to international visitors is a much smaller place than that.Tourist traffic concentrates on an area defined by the main attractions, each drawing between one and seven million visitors in the course of the year.
Resident Londeners see the metropolis in even more localized terms. Property correspoudants and estate agents like to describe London as a collection of villages, and there is some truth in their cliché. Because London had developed in a dispersed, haphazard fashion from an early stage, many of its later suburbs were able to grow around, or within reach of some existing nucleus such as a church, coaching inn, mill, parkland, or common.
Building of different ages and typed help to define the character of residential areas as well as to relive suburban monotony. The population in the various neighbourhoods tends to be diverse because the working of the English housing market has provided most areas, even the most exclusive, with at least some public rental housing.The chemistry of location, building stook, local amenities, and property values combines with that of a multiethnic population to give rise to a peat variety of residential microcosms within the metropolis. Neighbourhood ties are strong, wherever Londoners meet and talk, they avidly compare meances of the districts in which they live because where they live seems to count for as much as who they are.
School provision in London is a responsibility of the 33
boroughs.Nine out of 10 children attend boroughs schools.The remainder are at fee-paying private schools, of which the oldest and most august are Westminster School(originally monastic, refounded by Elisabeth I in 1560), St.Paul's School(1509), Harrow School(1572), Dulwich College(1618) and the City of London School(1834).
The panorama of higher education in London is characteristically complicated.Perhaps because of its civic fragmentation and the dominance of Oxford and Cambrige, the city lagged far behind other European capitals in advancement of learning. The University of London, which was established as an examining body in 1836, did not become a teaching institution until 1900, centuries after its counterparts in Paris, Rome, and Madrid. Modern London has 12 universities in all, with more than 110,000 full-time and 50,000 part-time students.Despite the imposing monumentalism of its administrative buildings in Bloomsbury, the original London University is little more than a week federation of 42 institutions ranging from small specialized schools to organizations such as Imperial College, University College, King's College, and The London School of Economics and Political Science, each of which operates in practice as a university of its own right.
Apart from a cluster of university building to the north of the British Museum in Bloomsbury, London's higher education facilities are spread videly through the metropolis. Halls of residence are even more scattered, and a high proportion of students live at home or in lodging.The capital lacks an identificable student quarter.Instead that compound of offbeat bohemianism nightlife, and political radicalism is sprinkled like yeast throughout Inner London.
CULTURAL LIFE( centres of arts
The competitive, localist streak that complicates public administration in London makes for exceptional cultural vitality. Artistic creativity flourishes in the diversity of rival centres of patronage. Royal patronage created Albert Hall, which every summer provides the setting for one of the world's greatest music festivals, the Sir Henry Wood Promenade Concerts, known popularly as the "Proms". Municipal patronage, first of the London County Council and later of the Greater London Council, turned former industrial and warehousing land on the Waterloo riverbank into the South Bank Arts Complex, which combines the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elisabeth Hall, the Hayward Gallery, the National Film Theatre, the Museum of the Moving Image, and the Royal National Theatre.Not to be outdone, the City Corporation launched its own arts complex within the Square Mile at the Barbican, a high-density urban renewal scheme built on World War II bomb sites immediately north of the central business district. The Barbican has a concert hall, cinemas, an art gallery, a library, and a theatre that is the London home of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Each centre generates its own program of festivals and special events, as do borough councils and commercial promoters. No other city in Europe offers so many entry points to the young and talented musician, writer, artist, filmmaker, or performer. Though the figures are elusive, one estimate puts London's share of total national employment in cultural industries at 40 percent.
Listing for the performing arts present choise of more than 100 venues on a typical Friday or Saturday evening. Though the fragmentation of arts funding is often contrasted unfavorably with strong public sponsorship elsewhere, it is hard to resist the conclusion that London thrives on its distinctive combination of wide-open internationalism and local particularism.
The competive ethos generated by London's administrative fragmentation is most evident in the realm of classical music. Five full-scale symphony orchestras vie for audiences and funding: the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the bbc Symphony Orchestra. On a slightly smaller scale, London also has the ensembles of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-fields, the Simfonietta 21, the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment, and the pit orchestras of the Royal Opera House in Bow Street, Convent Garden, and the English National Opera at the Coliseum Theatre north of Trafalgar Square.This immense pool of instrumental talent continually generates new performing groups and chamber ensembles. The Musicians' Union estimates that as many as 44 percent of Britain's working musicians are based in the capital.London also has long been an important centre for the performance and recording of popular music, especially rock.
CHURCH OF ENGLAND
The conversion of the Anglo-Saxons, who began invading Britain after Rome stopped governing the country in the 5th century, was undertaken by St.Augustine, a monk in Rome chosen by Pope Gregory I to lead a mission to the Anglo-Saxons. He arrived in 597, and within 90 years all the Saxon kingdom of England had accepted Christianity.
In the centuries before the Reformation,the English church experienced periods of advancement and of decline. During the 8th century, English scholarship was highly regarded, and several English churchmen worked in Europe as scholars, reformers, and missioners. Subsequently, Danish invasions destroyed monasteries and weakened scholarship. Political unity in England was established under the Wessex kings in the 10th century, however, and reforms of the church took place.
In the 11th century the Norman Conquest of England (1066) united England more closely with the culture of Latin Europe. The English church was reformed according to Roman ideas: local synods were revived, celibacy was required, and the canon law of Western Europe was introduced in England.
During the Middle Ages, English clergy and laity made important contributions to the life and activities of the Roman Catholic Church. The English Church, however, shared in the religious unrest characteristic of the later Middle Ages. John Wycliffe, the 14th century Reformer and theologian, became a revolutionary critic of the papacy and is considered a major influence to the 16th century, Protestant Reformation.
The break with the Roman papacy and the establishment of an independent Church of England came during the reign of Henry viii (1509-1547) when Pope Clement vii refused to approve the annulment of Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, the English Parliament, at Henry's insistence, passed a series of acts that separated the English Church from the Roman hierarchy and in 1534 made the English monarch the head of the English Church. The monasteries were suppressed, but few other changes were immediately made, since Henry intended that the English Church would remain Catholic, though separated from Rome.
After Henry's death, Protestant reforms of the church were introduced during the six-years reign of Edward vi. In 1553, however, when Edward's half sister, Mary, a Roman Catholic, succeeded to the throne, her repression and persecution of Protestants
aroused sympathy for their cause. When Elizabeth I became queen in 1558, the independent Church of England was reestablished.
In the 17th century the Puritan movement led to the English Civil War(1642-1651) and the Commonwealth (1649-1660).The monarchy and the Church of England were repressed, but both were restored in 1660
The Evangelical movement in the 18th century emphasized the Protestant heritage of the church, while the Oxford Movement in the 19th century emphasized the Roman Catholic heritage. These two attitudes have continued in the church and are sometimes referred to as Low Church and High Church, respectively. In the 20th century the church was active in the ecumenical movement.
The Church of England has maintained the Episcopal form of government. It is divided into two provinces, Canterbury, and York, each headed by an archbishop, with Canterbury taking precedence over York. Provinces are divided into dioceses, each headed by a bishop and made up of several parishes.
Women deacons, known originally as deaconesses and serving basically as assistants to priests, were first ordained by the Church of England in 1987, allowing them to perform virtually all clerical functions except the celebration of the Eucharist.
The church voted in 1992 to ordain women as priests, the first ordination, of 32 women, took place in 1994 at Bristos Cathedral.