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- Vedanta expects to pay 4.5 to 5.5 percent on the bonds due in 2016, the London-based company said today in a Regulatory News Service statement. The conversion price may be set at a 35 to 45 percent premium to the volume-weighted average price of the...
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- By John Varoli June 12 (Bloomberg) -- Three auction houses in London sold 29.1 million pounds ($48 million) of Russian art this week, half the total of last year, as sellers held back and prices fell. Still, the sales at Sotheby's,...
London ( pronunciation (help·info); IPA: /ˈlʌndən/) is the capital of both England and the United Kingdom, and the largest metropolitan area in the European Union. An important settlement for two millennia, London's history goes back to its founding by the Romans. Since its foundation, London has been part of many movements and phenomena throughout history, including the English Renaissance, the Industrial Revolution, and the Gothic Revival. The city's core, the ancient City of London, still retains its limited medieval boundaries; but since at least the 19th century, the name "London" has also referred to the whole metropolis that has developed around it. Today the bulk of this conurbation forms the London region of England and the Greater London administrative area, with its own elected mayor and assembly.
Greater London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; the historic settlement of Greenwich; the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey and St. Margaret's Church.
London's population draws from a wide range of peoples, cultures, and religions, and over 300 languages are spoken within the city. As of July 2007, it had an official population of 7,556,900 within the boundaries of Greater London making it the most populous municipality in the European Union, with a population more than double that of its nearest rival. As of 2001, the Greater London Urban Area is the second largest in the EU after Paris with a population of 8 278 251 and the metropolitan area is estimated to have a total population of just under 14 million, the largest metropolitan area in the EU. The public transport network, administered by Transport for London, is one of the most extensive in the world, Heathrow Airport is the busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic and the air space is the busiest of any city in the world.
The etymology of London remains a mystery. The earliest etymological explanation can be attributed to Geoffrey of Monmouth in Historia Regum Britanniae. The name is described as originating from King Lud, who had allegedly taken over the city and named it Kaerlud. This was slurred into Kaerludein and finally London. Many other theories have been advanced over the centuries, most of them deriving the name from Welsh or British, and occasionally from Anglo-Saxon or even Hebrew.
Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans in AD 43 as Londinium, following the Roman conquest of Britain. This Londinium lasted for just seventeen years. Around 61, the Iceni tribe led by Queen Boudica stormed this first London, burning it to the ground. The next, heavily planned incarnation of the city prospered and superseded Colchester as the capital of the Roman province of Britannia in 100. At its height in the 2nd century, Roman London had a population of around 60,000.
By the 600s, the Anglo-Saxons had created a new settlement called Lundenwic approximately 1,000 yards (0.91 km) upstream from the old Roman city, around what is now Covent Garden. It is likely that there was a harbour at the mouth of the River Fleet for fishing and trading, and this trading grew until the city was overcome by the Vikings and forced to relocate the city back to the location of the Roman Londinium to use its walls for protection. Viking attacks continued to increase around the rest of South East England, until 886 when Alfred the Great recaptured London and made peace with the Danish leader, Guthrum. The original Saxon city of Lundenwic became Ealdwic ("old city"), a name surviving to the present day as Aldwych, which is in the modern City of Westminster.
In a retaliatory attack, Ethelred's army achieved victory by pulling down London Bridge with the Danish garrison on top, and English control was re-established. Canute took control of the English throne in 1017, controlling the city and country until 1042, when his death resulted in a reversion to Saxon control under his pious stepson Edward the Confessor, who re-founded Westminster Abbey and the adjacent Palace of Westminster. By this time, London had become the largest and most prosperous city in England, although the official seat of government was still at Winchester.
Following a victory at the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror, the then Duke of Normandy, was crowned King of England in the newly finished Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066. William granted the citizens of London special privileges, while building what is now known as the Tower of London, in the south-east corner of the city, to keep them under control.
In 1097, William II began the building of Westminster Hall, close by the abbey of the same name. The hall became the basis of a new Palace of Westminster, the prime royal residence throughout the Middle Ages. Westminster became the seat of the royal court and government (persisting until the present day), while its distinct neighbour, the City of London, was a centre of trade and commerce and flourished under its own unique administration, the Corporation of London. London grew in wealth and population during the Middle Ages. In 1100 its population was around 18,000; by 1300 it had grown to nearly 100,000. King Edward I issued an edict in 1290, expelling all Jews from England. Before the edict, there was an increasing population of Jews, whereas after this time, the population of Jews began to drop considerably. Disaster struck during the Black Death in the mid-14th century, when London lost nearly a third of its population. Apart from the invasion of London during the Peasants' Revolt in 1381, London remained relatively untouched by the various civil wars during the Middle Ages, such as the first and second Barons' Wars and the Wars of the Roses.
After the successful defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, political stability in England allowed London to grow further. In 1603, James VI of Scotland came to the throne of England, essentially uniting the two countries. His enactment of harsh anti-Catholic laws made him unpopular, and an assassination attempt was made on 5 November 1605—the well-known Gunpowder Plot.
Plague caused extensive problems for London in the early 17th century, culminating in the Great Plague in 1665–1666 that killed 70,000 to 100,000 people, up to a fifth of London's population. This was the last major outbreak in England, possibly thanks to the disastrous fire of 1666. The Great Fire of London broke out in the original City and quickly swept through London's wooden buildings, destroying large swathes of the city. A first hand narrative of both plague and fire was provided by Sir Samuel Pepys. Rebuilding took over ten years, largely under direction of a Commission appointed by King Charles II, chaired by Sir Christopher Wren, and supervised by Robert Hooke as newly appointed Surveyor of London.
Following London's growth in the 18th century, it became the world's largest city from about 1831 to 1925. Rising traffic congestion on city centre roads led to the creation of the world's first metro system — the London Underground — in 1863, driving further expansion and urbanisation. London's local government system struggled to cope with the rapid growth, especially in providing the city with adequate infrastructure. Between 1855 and 1889, the Metropolitan Board of Works oversaw infrastructure expansion. It was then replaced by the County of London, overseen by the London County Council, London's first elected city-wide administration.
The Blitz and other bombing by the German Luftwaffe during World War II killed over 30,000 Londoners and destroyed large tracts of housing and other buildings across London. In 1965 London's political boundaries were expanded to take into account the growth of the urban area outside the County of London's borders. The expanded area was called Greater London and was administered by the Greater London Council. An eco revival from the 1980s onwards re-established London's position as a pre-eminent international centre. However, as the seat of government and the most important city in the UK, it has been subjected to bouts of terrorism. Provisional Irish Republican Army bombers sought to pressure the government into negotiations over Northern Ireland, frequently disrupting city activities with bomb threats — some of which were carried out — until their 1997 cease-fire. More recently, a series of coordinated bomb attacks were carried out by Islamic extremist suicide bombers on the public transport network on 7 July 2005—just 24 hours after London was awarded the 2012 Summer Olympics.
The administration of London is formed of two tiers — a city-wide, strategic tier and a local tier. City-wide administration is coordinated by the Greater London Authority (GLA), while local administration is carried out by 33 smaller authorities. The GLA consists of two elected parts; the Mayor of London, who has executive powers, and the London Assembly, who scrutinise the Mayor's decisions and can accept or reject his budget proposals each year. The GLA was set up in 2000 to replace the similar Greater London Council (GLC) which had been abolished in 1986. The headquarters of the GLA and the Mayor of London is at City Hall; the Mayor is Boris Johnson. The 33 local authorities are the councils of the 32 London boroughs and the City of London Corporation. They are responsible for local services not overseen by the GLA, such as local planning, schools, social services, local roads and refuse collection.
London is the home of the Government of the United Kingdom which is located around the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. Many government departments are located close to Parliament, particularly along Whitehall, including the Prime Minister's residence at 10 Downing Street. The British Parliament is often referred to as the "Mother of Parliaments" (although this sobriquet was first applied to England itself by John Bright) because it has been the model for most other parliamentary systems, and its Acts have created many other parliaments.
London can be geographically defined in a number of ways; the situation was once open to periodic legal debate. At London's core is the small, ancient City of London which is commonly known as 'the City' or 'the Square Mile'. London's metropolitan area grew considerably during the Victorian era and again during the Interwar period, but expansion halted in the 1940s because of World War II and Green Belt legislation, and the area has been largely static since. The London region of England, also commonly known as Greater London, is the area administered by the Greater London Authority. The urban sprawl of the conurbation — or Greater London Urban Area — covers a roughly similar area, with a slightly larger population. Beyond this is the vast London commuter belt.
Forty percent of Greater London is covered by the London postal district, within which 'LONDON' forms part of the postal address. The London telephone area code covers a larger area, similar in size to Greater London, although some outer districts are omitted and some places just outside are included. The area within the orbital M25 motorway is sometimes used to define the "London area" and the Greater London boundary has been aligned to it in places. Greater London is split for some purposes into Inner London and Outer London. Informally, the city is split into North, South, East, West and often also Central London.
The Metropolitan Police District, city-wide local government area and London transport area have varied over time, but broadly coincide with the Greater London boundary. The Romans may have marked the centre of Londinium with the London Stone, still visible on Cannon Street. The coordinates of the nominal centre of London (traditionally considered to be the original Eleanor Cross at Charing Cross, near the junction of Trafalgar Square and Whitehall) are approximately 51°30′29″N 00°07′29″W / 51.50806°N 0.12472°W / 51.50806; -0.12472. Trafalgar Square has also become a point for celebrations and protests.
Within London, both the City of London and the City of Westminster have City status and both the City of London and the remainder of Greater London are the ceremonial counties. The current area of Greater London was historically part of the counties of Middlesex, Kent, Surrey, Essex and Hertfordshire. Unlike most capital cities, London's status as the capital of the UK has never been granted or confirmed officially — by statute or in written form. Its position as the capital has formed through constitutional convention, making its position as de facto capital a part of the UK's unwritten constitution. The capital of England was moved to London from Winchester as the Palace of Westminster developed in the 12th and 13th centuries to become the permanent location of the royal court, and thus the political capital of the nation. According to the Collins English Dictionary definition of 'the seat of government,' London is not the capital of England, as England does not have its own government. However according to the Oxford English Reference dictionary definition of 'the most important town...' and many other authorities, London is the capital of England.
Greater London covers an area of 607 square miles (1,570 km2). Its primary geographical feature is the Thames, a navigable river which crosses the city from the south-west to the east. The Thames Valley is a floodplain surrounded by gently rolling hills including Parliament Hill, Addington Hills, and Primrose Hill. The Thames was once a much broader, shallower river with extensive marshlands; at high tide, its shores reached five times their present width. Since the Victorian era 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 by the slow 'tilting' of Britain (up in the north and down in the south) caused by post-glacial rebound. In 1974, a decade of work began on the construction of the Thames Barrier across the Thames at Woolwich to deal with this threat. While the barrier is expected to function as designed until roughly 2030, concepts for its future enlargement or redesign are already being discussed.
London has regular but generally light precipitation throughout the year, with average precipitation of 583.6 millimetres (22.98 in) every year. Snow is relatively uncommon, particularly because heat from the urban area can make London up to 5 °C (9 °F) warmer than the surrounding areas in winter. Some snowfall, however, is usually seen up to a few times a year. London is in USDA Hardiness zone 9, and AHS Heat Zone 2.
In the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, London was noted for its dense fogs and smogs. Following the deadly Great Smog of 1952, the Clean Air Act 1956 was passed, leading to the decline of such severe pollution in the capital.
London's vast urban area is often described using a set of district names (e.g. Bloomsbury, Knightsbridge, Mayfair, Whitechapel, Fitzrovia). These are either informal designations, or reflect the names of superseded villages, parishes and city wards. Such names have remained in use through tradition, each referring to a local area with its own distinctive character, but often with no modern official boundaries. However, since 1965 Greater London has been divided into 32 London boroughs in addition to the ancient City of London.
The City of London is one of the world's three largest financial centres (alongside New York and Tokyo) with a dominant role in several international financial markets, including cross-border bank lending, international bond issuance and trading, foreign-exchange trading, over-the-counter derivatives, fund management and foreign equities trading. It also has the world's largest insurance market, the leading exchange for dealing in non-precious metals, the largest spot gold and gold lending markets, the largest ship broking market, and more foreign banks and investment houses than any other centre. The City has its own governance and boundaries, giving it a status as the only completely autonomous local authority in London. London's new financial and commercial hub is the Docklands area to the east of the City, dominated by the Canary Wharf complex. Other businesses locate in the City of Westminster, the home of the UK's national government and the well-known Westminster Abbey.
The West End is London's main entertainment and shopping district, with locations such as Oxford Street, Leicester Square, Covent Garden and Piccadilly Circus acting as tourist magnets. The West London area is known for fashionable and expensive residential areas such as Notting Hill, Knightsbridge and Chelsea — where properties can sell for tens of millions of pounds. The average price for all properties in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is £894,000 with similar average outlay in most of Central London.
The eastern region of London contains the East End and East London. The East End is the area closest to the original Port of London, known for its high immigrant population, as well as for being one of the poorest areas in London. The surrounding East London area saw much of London's early industrial development; now, brownfield sites throughout the area are being redeveloped as part of the Thames Gateway including the London Riverside and Lower Lea Valley, which is being developed into the Olympic Park for the 2012 Olympics.
Wembley is a district in north-west London in Travelcard Zone 4. Wembley has attractions including Wembley Stadium, Wembley Arena, Arena Square, Wembley Sunday Market (the largest Sunday market in the UK), Wembley Triangle, the beautiful Wembley Central and Wembley Park.
With increasing industrialisation, London's population grew rapidly throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, and it was for some time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the most populous city in the world until overtaken by New York in 1925. Its population peaked at 8,615,245 in 1939 immediately before the outbreak of World War 2. There were an estimated 7,556,900 official residents in Greater London as of mid-2007. However, London's continuous urban area extends beyond the borders of Greater London and was home to 8,278,251 people in 2001, while its wider metropolitan area has a population of between 12 and 14 million depending on the definition used. According to Eurostat, London is the most populous city and metropolitan area of the European Union and the second most populous in Europe (or third if Istanbul is included).
The region covers an area of 609 square miles (1,580 km2). The population density is 12,331 inhabitants per square mile (4,761 /km²), more than ten times that of any other British region. In terms of population, London is the 25th largest city and the 17th largest metropolitan region in the world. It is also ranked 4th in the world in number of billionaires (United States Dollars) residing in the city. London ranks as one of the most expensive cities in the world, alongside Tokyo and Moscow.
According to 2006 estimates, 58.0% of the 7.5 million inhabitants of London were classed as the indigenous White British, 2.5% were White Irish and 8.9% were classified as "Other White", the majority of whom are Greeks, Italians, Polish, and Germans. Some 13.1% of people are of South Asian descent, including Indian (mainly Punjabi, Hindi, Tamil and Gujarati), Pakistani (mostly Punjabi), Bangladeshi (mainly Sylheti) and "Other Asian" (mostly Sri Lankan (Tamil) and other Southern Asian ethnicities). 10.7% of people are Black (around 5% are Black African, 5% as Black Caribbean, 0.7% as "Other Black"). 3.5% are of mixed race; 1.5% are Chinese; and 1.5% of people belong to another ethnic group. 30% of inhabitants were born outside the European Union. The Irish born, from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, number approximately 250,000 and are the largest group born outside of Britain.
In January 2005, a survey of London's ethnic and religious diversity claimed that there were more than 300 languages spoken and more than 50 non-indigenous communities which have a population of more than 10,000 in London. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that, as of 2006, London's foreign-born population is 2,288,000 (31%), up from 1,630,000 in 1997. The 2001 census showed that 27.1% of Greater London's population were born outside the UK, and a slightly higher proportion were classed as non-white. As of 2008, 40% of London's total population was from an ethnic minority group. Across London, Black and Asian children outnumber White British children by about three to two.
The table to the right shows the 'Country of Birth' of London residents in 2001, the date of the last UK Census. (Top 21). Note that a portion of the German-born population are likely to be British nationals born to parents serving in the British armed forces in Germany.
The majority of Londoners - 58.2% - identify themselves as Christians. This is followed by those of no religion (15.8%), Muslims (8.5%), Hindus (4.1%), Jews (2.1%), Sikhs (1.5%), Buddhists (0.8%) and other (0.5%), though 8.7% of people did not answer this question in the 2001 Census.
London has traditionally been dominated by Christianity, and has a large number of churches, particularly in the City of London. The well-known St Paul's Cathedral in the City and Southwark Cathedral south of the river are Anglican administrative centres, while the Archbishop of Canterbury, principal bishop of the Church of England and worldwide Anglican Communion, has his main residence at Lambeth Palace in the London Borough of Lambeth. Important national and royal ceremonies are shared between St Paul's and Westminster Abbey. The Abbey is not to be confused with nearby Westminster Cathedral, which is the largest Roman Catholic cathedral in England and Wales. Religious practice is lower in London than any other part of the UK or Western Europe and is around seven times lower than American averages. Despite the prevalence of Anglican churches, observance is very low within the Anglican denomination, although church attendance, particularly at evangelical Anglican churches in London, has started to increase.
London is also home to sizeable Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Jewish communities. Many Muslims live in Tower Hamlets and Newham; the most important Muslim edifice is London Central Mosque on the edge of Regent's Park. London's large Hindu community is found in the north-western boroughs of Harrow and Brent, the latter of which is home to one of Europe's largest Hindu temples, Neasden Temple. Sikh communities are located in East and West London, which is also home to the largest Sikh temple in the world, outside India. The majority of British Jews live in London, with significant Jewish communities in Stamford Hill, Stanmore, Golders Green, Hendon, and Edgware in North London. Stanmore and Canons Park Synagogue has the largest membership of any single Orthodox synagogue in the whole of Europe, overtaking Ilford synagogue (also in London) in 1998. The community set up the London Jewish Forum in 2007 in response to the growing significance of devolved London Government.
London is a major centre for international business and commerce and is one of three "command centres" for the world economy (with New York City and Tokyo). According to 2005 estimates by the PricewaterhouseCoopers accounting firm, London has the 6th largest city economy in the world after Tokyo, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Paris. London generates approximately 20% of the UK's GDP (or $446 billion in 2005); while the economy of the London metropolitan area — the second largest in Europe — generates approximately 30% of the UK's GDP (or an estimated $669 billion in 2005).
London's success as a service industry and business centre can be attributed to factors such as English being the native and dominant language of business, close relationship with the U.S. and various countries in Asia. Other factors include English law being the most important and most used contract law in international business and the multi-cultural infrastructure. Government policies such as low taxes, particularly for foreigners (non-UK domiciled residents do not get taxed on their foreign earnings), a business friendly environment, good transport infrastructure and a deregulated economy with little intervention by the government have all contributed to London's economy becoming more service based. Over 85% (3.2 million) of the employed population of Greater London works in service industries. Another half a million employees resident in Greater London work in manufacturing and construction, almost equally divided between both.
London's largest industry remains finance, and its financial exports make it a large contributor to the UK's balance of payments. Around 325,000 people were employed in financial services in London until mid-2007 . London has over 480 overseas banks, more than any other city in the world. London is home to banks, brokers, insurers and legal and accounting firms. A second, smaller financial district is developing at Canary Wharf to the east of the city which includes the global headquarters of HSBC, Reuters, Barclays and the Magic Circle, which includes Clifford Chance, the largest law firm in the world. London handled 31% of global currency transactions in 2005 — an average daily turnover of US$753 billion — with more US dollars traded in London than New York, and more euros traded than in every other city in Europe combined.
More than half of the UK's top 100 listed companies (the FTSE 100) and over 100 of Europe's 500 largest companies are headquartered in central London. Over 70% of the FTSE 100 are located within London's metropolitan area, and 75% of Fortune 500 companies have offices in London. Along with professional services, media companies are concentrated in London (see Media in London) and the media distribution industry is London's second most competitive sector (after central banking, the most competitive sector). The BBC is a key employer, while other broadcasters also have headquarters around the city. Many national newspapers are edited in London, having traditionally been associated with Fleet Street in the city; they are now primarily based around Canary Wharf.
Science and research and development are playing an increasingly important role in shaping the economy of modern London with 1,340 million euros of public funding, 25 research institutes and medical schools and 23 National Health Service hospitals. Currently, the city boasts 175,000 health-care professionals, 6,000 scientists specialised in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology and, yearly, 80,000 medical and science students studying at universities and colleges. London's private concerns conducting scientific research, as many as 100 in the life science sector alone in 2008, are growing in number twice as fast as in the rest of the United Kingdom.
Due to its prominent global role, London is getting hit harder than any other financial centre by the global financial crisis of 2008–2009. The City of London estimates that 70,000 jobs in finance will be cut within barely a year. Several foreign banks have started to move off employees from London to their national financial centres, notably Dresdner Kleinwort, BNP Paribas and Santander. Other banks, including UBS, Credit Suisse, Bank of America and Citigroup are primarily cutting their workforce in London.
Tourism is one of London's prime industries and employs the equivalent of 350,000 full-time workers in London in 2003, while annual expenditure by tourists is around £15 billion. A study carried out by Euromonitor in October 2007 places London at first place out of 150 of the world's most popular cities, attracting 15.6 million international tourists in 2006. This puts London far ahead of 2nd place Bangkok (10.35 million) and 3rd place Paris (just 9.7 million). London attracts 27 million overnight-stay visitors every year. The Port of London is currently the third-largest in the United Kingdom, handling 50 million tonnes of cargo each year.
London is too diverse to be characterised by any particular architectural style, having accumulated its buildings over a long period of time and drawn on a wide range of influences. It is, however, mainly brick built, most commonly the yellow London stock brick or a warm orange-red variety, often decorated with carvings and white plaster mouldings. Many grand houses and public buildings (such as the National Gallery) are constructed from Portland stone. Some areas of the city, particularly those just west of the centre, are characterised by white stucco or whitewashed buildings. Few structures pre-date the Great Fire of 1666, except for a few trace Roman remains, the Tower of London and a few scattered Tudor survivors in the City. The disused (but soon to be rejuvenated) 1939 Battersea Power Station by the river in the south-west is a local landmark, while some railway termini are excellent examples of Victorian architecture, most notably St Pancras and Paddington (at least internally).
The density of London varies, with high employment density in the central area, high residential densities in inner London and lower densities in the suburbs. In the dense areas, most of the concentration is achieved with medium- and high-rise buildings. London's skyscrapers such as the notable "Gherkin", Tower 42, the Broadgate Tower and One Canada Square are usually found in the two financial districts, the City of London and Canary Wharf. Other notable modern buildings include City Hall in Southwark with its distinctive oval shape, and the British Library in Somers Town/Kings Cross. What was formerly the Millennium Dome, located by the Thames to the east of Canary Wharf, is now used as an entertainment venue known as The O2.
The development of tall buildings has been encouraged in the London Plan, which will lead to the erection of many new skyscrapers over the next decade, particularly in the City of London and Canary Wharf. The 72-storey, 1,017 feet (310 m) "Shard London Bridge" by London Bridge station, the 945 feet (288 m) Bishopsgate Tower and many other skyscrapers over 500 feet (150 m) are either proposed or approved and could transform the city's skyline. As of July 2008, there are 426 high-rise buildings (between 23 m to 150 m/75 ft to 491 ft) under construction, approved for construction, and proposed for construction in London.
A great many monuments pay homage to people and events in the city. The Monument in the City of London provides views of the surrounding area while commemorating the Great Fire of London, which originated nearby. Marble Arch and Wellington Arch, at the north and south ends of Park Lane respectively, have royal connections, as do the Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall in Kensington. Nelson's Column is a nationally recognised monument in Trafalgar Square, one of the focal points of the centre.
The largest parks in the central area of London are the Royal Parks of Hyde Park and its neighbour Kensington Gardens at the western edge of central London and Regent's Park on the northern edge. This park contains London Zoo, the world's oldest scientific zoo, and is located near the tourist attraction of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Closer to central London are the smaller Royal Parks of Green Park and St. James's Park. Hyde Park in particular is popular for sports and sometimes hosts open-air concerts.
A number of large parks lie outside the city centre, including the remaining Royal Parks of Greenwich Park to the south-east and Bushy Park and Richmond Park to the south-west, as well as Victoria Park, East London to the east. Primrose Hill to the north of Regent's Park is a popular spot to view the city skyline. Some more informal, semi-natural open spaces also exist, including the 791-acre (3.2 km2) Hampstead Heath of North London. This incorporates Kenwood House, the former stately home and a popular location in the summer months where classical musical concerts are held by the lake, attracting thousands of people every weekend to enjoy the music, scenery and fireworks.
Traditionally the London accent has been given the famous Cockney label, and was similar to many accents of the South East of England, developing a unique form of slang known as Cockney Rhyming Slang. The accent of a 21st century Londoner varies widely; what is becoming more and more common amongst the under 30s however is some fusion of Cockney, Received Pronunciation, and a whole array of 'ethnic' accents, in particular Caribbean, which form an accent labelled Multicultural London English (MLE), with a large amount of slang in use as well.
Within the City of Westminster, the entertainment district of the West End has its focus around Leicester Square, where London and world film premieres are held, and Piccadilly Circus, with its giant electronic advertisements. London's theatre district is here, as are many cinemas, bars, clubs and restaurants, including the city's Chinatown district, and just to the east is Covent Garden, an area housing speciality shops. The United Kingdom's Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Royal Opera and English National Opera are based in London and perform at the Royal Opera House, The London Coliseum, Sadler's Wells Theatre and the Royal Albert Hall as well as touring the country. Islington's 1 mile (1.6 km) long Upper Street, extending Northwards from The Angel, has more bars and restaurants than any other street in the UK. Europe's busiest shopping area is Oxford Street, a shopping street nearly 1 mile (1.6 km) long — which makes it the longest shopping street in the world — and home to many shops and department stores including Selfridges. Knightsbridge — home to the Harrods department store — lies just to the southwest. London is home to designers Vivienne Westwood, Galliano, Stella McCartney, Manolo Blahnik, and Jimmy Choo among others; its renowned art and fashion schools make it an international centre of fashion alongside Paris, Milan and New York.
London offers a great variety of cuisine as a result of its ethnically diverse population. Gastronomic centres include the Bangladeshi restaurants of Brick Lane and the Chinese food restaurants of Chinatown.
There are a variety of regular annual events in the city. The beginning of the year is celebrated with the relatively new New Year's Day Parade, while traditional parades include November's Lord Mayor's Show, a centuries-old event celebrating the annual appointment of a new Lord Mayor of the City of London with a procession along the streets of the City, and June's Trooping the Colour, a formal military pageant performed by regiments of the Commonwealth and British armies to celebrate the Queen's Official Birthday.
London has been the setting for many works of literature. Two writers closely associated with the city are the diarist Samuel Pepys, noted for his eyewitness account of the Great Fire, and Charles Dickens, whose representation of a foggy, snowy, grimy London of street sweepers and pickpockets has been a major influence on people's vision of early Victorian London. The earlier (1722) A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe is a fictionalisation of the events of the 1665 Great Plague. William Shakespeare spent a large part of his life living and working in London; his contemporary Ben Jonson was also based in London, and some of his work — most notably his play The Alchemist — was set in the state. Later important depictions of London from the 19th and early 20th centuries are the afore-mentioned Dickens novels, and Arthur Conan Doyle's illustrious Sherlock Holmes stories. A modern writer pervasively influenced by the city is Peter Ackroyd, in works such as London: The Biography, The Lambs of London and Hawksmoor.
London has played a significant role in the film industry, and has major studios at Pinewood, Ealing, Shepperton, Elstree and Leavesden, as well as an important special effects and post-production community centred in Soho in central London. Working Title Films has its headquarters in London. The city also hosts a number of performing arts schools, including The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), the Central School of Speech and Drama (alumni: Judi Dench and Laurence Olivier) and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (alumni: Jim Broadbent). The London Film Festival is held each year in October.
London is home to many museums, galleries, and other institutions which are major tourist attractions as well as playing a research role. The Natural History Museum (biology and geology), Science Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum (fashion and design) are clustered in South Kensington's "museum quarter", while the British Museum houses historic artefacts from around the world. The British Library at St Pancras is the UK's national library, housing 150 million items. The city also houses extensive art collections, primarily in the National Gallery, Tate Britain and Tate Modern.
London is one of the major classical and popular music capitals of the world and is home to major music corporations, such as EMI and Decca Records, as well as countless bands, musicians and industry professionals. London is home to many orchestras and concert halls such as the Barbican Arts Centre (principal base of the London Symphony Orchestra), Cadogan Hall (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) and the Royal Albert Hall (BBC Promenade Concerts). London's two main opera houses are the Royal Opera House and the Coliseum Theatre.
Several conservatoires are located within the city: Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and Trinity College of Music.
London has numerous renowned venues for rock and pop concerts, including large arenas such as Earls Court, Wembley Arena and the O2 Arena, as well as numerous mid-size venues, such as Brixton Academy, Hammersmith Apollo and The London Astoria. London also hosts many music festivals, including the O2 Wireless Festival.
London is home to the first and original Hard Rock Cafe and the illustrious Abbey Road Studios where The Beatles created many of their hits. Musicians such as Bob Marley, Madonna, Jimi Hendrix and Freddie Mercury have lived in London. A large number of musical artists originate from or are most strongly associated with London, including Elton John, George Michael, David Bowie, Ian Dury, The Kinks, Adam Faith, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Madness, The Jam, Blur, Iron Maiden, Phil Collins, Rod Stewart, Elvis Costello, Dusty Springfield, The Yardbirds and The Small Faces. London was instrumental in the development of punk music, with figures such as the Sex Pistols, The Clash, and Vivienne Westwood all based in the city.
More recent artists to emerge from the London music scene include The Libertines, one of the most influential British rock acts of the 2000s, Bloc Party, Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis, Lily Allen, McFly, The Kooks, Razorlight, Adele, Laura Marling, Dizzee Rascal, and Natasha Bedingfield.
London is also a centre for Urban music. In particular the genres UK Garage, Drum and Bass, dubstep and Grime evolved in the city from the foreign genres of hiphop and reggae, alongside local rave music. Black music station BBC 1Xtra was set up to support the rise of homegrown urban music both in London and the rest of the UK.
London has hosted the Summer Olympics twice, in 1908 and 1948. In July 2005 London was chosen to host the Games in 2012, which will make it the first city in the world to host the Summer Olympics three times. London was also the host of the British Empire Games in 1934.
London's most popular sport (for both participants and spectators) is football. London has thirteen League football clubs, including five in the Premier League: Arsenal, Chelsea, Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United. London also has four rugby union teams in the Guinness Premiership (London Irish, Saracens, Wasps and Harlequins), although only the Harlequins play in London (all the other three now play outside Greater London, although Saracens still play within the M25). There are two professional rugby league clubs in London - Harlequins Rugby League who play in the Super League at the Stoop and the National League 2 side the London Skolars (based in Haringey).
Since 1924, the original Wembley Stadium was the home of the English national football team, and served as the venue for the FA Cup final as well as rugby league's Challenge Cup final. The new Wembley Stadium serves exactly the same purposes and has a capacity of 90,000. Twickenham Stadium in west London is the national rugby union stadium, and has a capacity of 84,000 now that the new south stand has been completed.
Cricket in London centres on its two Test cricket grounds at Lord's (home of Middlesex C.C.C) in St John's Wood, and The Oval (home of Surrey C.C.C) in Kennington. One of London's best-known annual sports competitions is the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, held at the All England Club in the south-western suburb of Wimbledon. Other key events are the annual mass-participation London Marathon which sees some 35,000 runners attempt a 26.2 miles (42.2 km) course around the city, and the Oxford vs. Cambridge Boat Race on the River Thames between Putney and Mortlake.
Transport is one of the four areas of policy administered by the Mayor of London, however the mayor's financial control is limited and he does not control the heavy rail network, although in November 2007 he assumed responsibility for the North London Railway as well as several other lines, to form London Overground. The public transport network, administered by Transport for London (TfL), is one of the most extensive in the world, but faces congestion and reliability issues, which a large investment programme is attempting to address, including £7 billion (€10 billion) of improvements planned for the Olympics. London has been commended as the city with the best public transport. Cycling is an increasingly popular way to get around London. The London Cycling Campaign lobbies for better provision.
The centrepiece of the public transport network is the London Underground — commonly referred to as The Tube — which has eleven interconnecting lines. It is the oldest, longest, and most expansive metro system in the world, dating from 1863. The system was home to the world's first underground electric line, the City & South London Railway, which began service in 1890. Over three million journeys a day are made on the Underground network, nearly 1 billion journeys each year. The Underground serves the central area and most suburbs to the north of the Thames, while those to the south are served by an extensive suburban rail surface network, due partly to more difficult geology south of the river.
The Docklands Light Railway is a second metro system using smaller and lighter trains, which opened in 1987, serving East London and Greenwich on both sides of the Thames. Commuter and intercity railways generally do not cross the city, instead running into fourteen terminal stations scattered around its historic centre; the exception is the Thameslink route operated by First Capital Connect, with terminus stations at Bedford, Brighton and Moorgate. Since the early 1990s, increasing pressures on the commuter rail and Underground networks have led to increasing demands — particularly from businesses and the City of London Corporation — for Crossrail: a £10 billion east – west heavy rail connection under central London, which was given the green light in early October 2007.
High-speed Eurostar trains link St Pancras International with Lille and Paris in France, and Brussels in Belgium. Journey times to Paris and Brussels of 2h 15 and 1h 51 respectively make London closer to continental Europe than the rest of Britain by virtue of the newly completed High Speed 1 rail link to the Channel Tunnel. From 2009 this line will also allow for high speed domestic travel from Kent into London. The redevelopment of St. Pancras was key to London's Olympic bid, as the station also serves two international airports through Thameslink, and will also provide direct rail links to the Olympic site at Stratford using British Rail Class 395 trains running under the Olympic Javelin name; these will be based on Japanese Shinkansen high-speed trains.
London's bus network is one of the largest in the world, running 24 hours a day, with 8,000 buses, 700 bus routes, and over 6 million passenger journeys made every weekday. In 2003, the network's ridership was estimated at over 1.5 billion passenger trips per annum, more than the Underground. Around £850 m is taken in revenue each year.
London has the largest wheelchair accessible network in the world and, from the 3rd quarter of 2007, became more accessible to hearing and visually impaired passengers as audio-visual announcements were introduced. The distinctive red double-decker buses are internationally recognised, and are a trademark of London transport along with black cabs and the Tube.
London is a major international air transport hub with the largest city airspace in the world. Eight airports use the words London Airport in their name, but most traffic passes through one of five major airports. London Heathrow Airport is the busiest airport in the world for international traffic, and is the major hub of the nation's flag carrier, British Airways. In March 2008 its fifth terminal was opened, and plans are already being considered for a sixth terminal. Similar traffic, with the addition of some low-cost short-haul flights, is also handled at London Gatwick Airport. London Stansted Airport the main hub for Ryanair, and London Luton Airport cater mostly for low-cost short-haul flights. London City Airport, the smallest and most central airport, is focused on business travellers, with a mixture of full service short-haul scheduled flights and considerable business jet traffic. London Southend Airport is developing new service in 2009 in addition to existing business aviation and cargo services. There has been continued controversy over expanding capacity such as building a third runway at Heathrow and building a new airport.
Although the majority of journeys involving central London are made by public transport, travel in outer London is car-dominated. The inner ring road (around the city centre), the North and South Circular roads (in the suburbs), and the outer orbital motorway (the M25, outside the built-up area) encircle the city and are intersected by a number of busy radial routes — but very few motorways penetrate into inner London. The M25 is the longest ring-road motorway in the world at 121.5 miles (195.5 km) long. A plan for a comprehensive network of motorways throughout the city (the Ringways Plan) was prepared in the 1960s but was mostly cancelled in the early 1970s. In 2003, a congestion charge was introduced to reduce traffic volumes in the city centre. With a few exceptions, motorists are required to pay £8 per day to drive within a defined zone encompassing much of congested central London. Motorists who are residents of the defined zone can buy a vastly reduced season pass which is renewed monthly and is cheaper than a corresponding bus fare.
Home to a range of universities, colleges and schools, London has a student population of about 378,000 and is a centre of research and development. Most primary and secondary schools in London follow the same system as the rest of England — comprehensive schooling.
With 125,000 students, the University of London is the largest contact teaching university in the United Kingdom and in Europe. It comprises 20 colleges as well as several smaller institutes each with a high degree of autonomy. Constituent colleges have their own admissions procedures, and are effectively universities in their own right, although most degrees are awarded by the University of London rather than the individual colleges. Its constituents include multi-disciplinary colleges such as UCL, King's, Goldsmiths, Queen Mary and more specialised institutions such as the London School of Economics, SOAS, the Royal Academy of Music, the Courtauld Institute of Art and the Institute of Education.
Imperial College London and University College London have been ranked among the top ten universities in the world by The Times Higher Education Supplement: in 2008 Imperial was ranked the 6th best and UCL the 7th best university in the world.
In addition, the London School of Economics is the world‘s leading social science institution for teaching and research, plus has the most international student body of any university in the world today.
A number of colleges are dedicated to the fine arts, including the Royal College of Music, Royal College of Art, and Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
London's other universities, such as Brunel University, City University, London Metropolitan University, Middlesex University, University of East London, University of the Arts London, University of Westminster, Kingston University and London South Bank University are not part of the University of London but are still leaders in their field and popular choices among students both nationally and internationally. Some were polytechnics until they were granted university status in 1992, and others which were founded much earlier. Imperial College London left the federal University of London in 2007. Since the merger of University of North London and London Guildhall University in 2003, London Metropolitan University is the largest unitary university in the capital, with over 34,000 students from 155 countries. London is also known globally for its business education, with the London Business School (ranked 1st in Europe — Business Week) and Cass Business School (Europe's largest finance school) both being top world-rated business schools. In addition there are three international universities: Schiller International University, Richmond University and Regent's College.
London Borough of Croydon
The London Borough of Croydon ( pronunciation (help·info)) is a London borough in South London, England and is part of Outer London. It covers an area of 87 km2 (33.6 sq mi) and is the largest London borough by population. It is the southernmost borough of London. The borough is now one of London's leading business, financial and cultural centres, and its influence in entertainment and the arts contribute to its status as a major metropolitan centre.
At its centre is the historic town of Croydon from which the borough takes its name. Croydon is mentioned in the Domesday Book, and from a small market town has expanded into one of the most populous areas on the fringe of London. Central Croydon is the civic centre of the borough and houses the largest office and retail centre in the south east of England outside Central London.
Croydon Council and its predecessor Croydon Corporation unsuccessfully applied for city status in 1954, 2000 and 2002. The area is currently going through a large regeneration project called Croydon Vision 2020 which is predicted to attract more businesses and tourists to the area as well as backing Croydon's bid to become London's Third City. Since 2003 Croydon has been certified as a Fairtrade borough by the Fairtrade Foundation. It was the first London Borough to have Fairtrade status which is awarded on a certain criteria.
The London Borough of Croydon was formed in 1965 from the Coulsdon and Purley Urban District and the County Borough of Croydon. It is now governed by a cabinet-style council created in 2001. The name Croydon comes from Crogdene or Croindone, named by the Saxons in the 8th century when they settled here, although the area had been inhabited since prehistoric times. It is thought to derive from the Anglo-Saxon croeas deanas, meaning "the valley of the crocuses", indicating that, like Saffron Walden in Essex, it was a centre for the collection of saffron. Another opinion holds that the name derives from the Old French croie dune, meaning "chalk hill", since Croydon stands at the northern edge of the chalk hills called the North Downs.
By the time of the Norman invasion Croydon had a church, a mill and around 365 inhabitants as recorded in the Domesday Book. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop Lanfranc lived at Croydon Palace which still stands. Visitors included Thomas Beckett (another Archbishop), and royal figures such as King Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I.
Croydon carried on through the ages as a prosperous market town, they produced charcoal, tanned leather, and ventured into brewing. Croydon was served by the Surrey Iron Railway, the first public railway (horse drawn) in the world, in 1803, and by the London to Brighton rail link in the mid-1800s, helping it to become the largest town in Surrey.
In the 1900s Croydon became known for industries such as metal working, car manufacture and its aerodrome, Croydon Airport. The aerodrome became the largest in London and the main terminal for international air freight into the capital. Starting out during World War I as an airfield for protection against Zeppelins, and developing into one of the great airports of the world during the 1920s and 1930s, it welcomed the world's pioneer aviators in its heyday. British Airways used the airport for a short period of time after redirecting from Northolt Aerodrome, and Croydon was the operating base for Imperial Airways. As aviation technology progressed, however, and aircraft became larger and more numerous, it was recognized in 1952 that the airport would be too small to cope with the ever-increasing volume of air traffic. The last scheduled flight departed on 30 September 1959. It was superseded as the main airport by both London Heathrow and London Gatwick Airport. The air terminal, now known as Airport House, has been restored and has a hotel and museum in it. It was partly due to the airport that Croydon suffered heavy bomb damage during World War II .
In the late 1950s and through the 1960s the council commercialized the centre of Croydon with massive development of office blocks and the Whitgift Centre which was formerly the biggest in town shopping centre in Europe. The centre was officially opened in October 1970 by the Duchess of Kent. The original Whitgift School there had moved to Haling Park, South Croydon in the 1930s; the replacement school on the site, Whitgift Middle School, now the Trinity School of John Whitgift, moved to Shirley Park in the 1960s when the buildings were demolished.
The present borough council unsuccessfully applied for city status in 2000 and again in 2002. If it had been successful it would have been the third local authority in Greater London to hold that status along with the City of London and the City of Westminster. At present the London Borough of Croydon is the second most populous Local government district of England without city status, Kirklees being the first. It is said that there applications were turned down due to a lack of a cathedral in the borough, a historic recommendation for cities.
Croydon is currently going through a vigorous regeneration plan, called Croydon Vision 2020. This will change the urban planning of Central Croydon completely. Its main aims are to make Croydon London's Third City and the hub of retail, business, culture and living in South London and South East England. The plan was showcased in a series of events called Croydon Expo. It was aimed at business and residents in the London Borough of Croydon to demonstrate the £3.5bn development projects the Council wishes to see in Croydon in the next ten years. There have also been exhibitions for regional districts of Croydon, including Waddon, South Norwood and Woodside, Purley, New Addington and Coulsdon. Examples of upcoming architecture featured in the expo can easily be found to the centre of the borough in the form of the Croydon Gateway site and the Cherry Orchard Road Towers.
The governance of the borough is by Croydon Council, which is responsible for the administration of Croydon. Croydon shares its London Assembly member with neighboring Sutton. It is a safe Conservative seat with the south of Croydon and parts of Sutton traditionally voting towards the Conservatives. The current Assembly Member is Steve O'Connell who was elected to the assembly in 2008 with a majority of 43%. Croydon is part of the London constituency in the European Parliament. Between 1979 and 1984 it formed part of the London South constituency, followed by London South and Surrey East between 1984 and 1999 before the adoption of proportional representation.
The council consists of 70 councillors elected in 24 wards. From 1994 to 2006 the Labour Party controlled the council. Thirty-seven Labour and 31 Conservative councillors were elected in the 2002 elections, plus a lone Liberal Democrat, bolstered by a subsequent defection of a councillor who had originally been elected as a Conservative, defected to Labour, went back to the Conservatives and spent some time as an independent.
At the 2006 local elections the Conservatives regained control of the council after gaining 12 seats, taking ten seats from Labour in Addiscombe, Waddon and Norwood and the single Liberal Democrat seat in Coulsdon. They had seen 6% swings from Labour to Conservative in the two previous by-elections, each won by the incumbent party. Since the 2006 elections, a by-election in February 2007 saw a large swing back to Labour from the Conservatives. Since the election, a Labour councillor has joined the Conservatives while a Conservative councillor has become an independent. Cllr Jonathan Driver, who became Mayor in 2008, died unexpectedly at the close of the year, causing a by-election in highly marginal Waddon. The composition of the council is 42 Conservatives, 26 Labour, 1 independent, 1 vacancy and no Liberal Democrats. The next election is due to take place in May 2010 along with all the other councils in London.
The controlling majority group in the borough is the Conservative Party. From February 2005 until May 2006 the Leader of Croydon Council was Labour Co-operative Councillor Tony Newman, succeeding Hugh Malyan. Mike Fisher, Conservative group leader since May 2005, was named as Council Leader following the Conservative victory. Croydon is a cabinet-style council, and the Leader heads a ten-person cabinet, its members responsible for areas such as education or planning. There is a Shadow Cabinet drawn from the principal opposition party. A backbench cross-party scrutiny and overview committee is in place to hold the executive cabinet to account.
The borough is covered by three parliamentary constituencies for the Westminster Parliament, these are Croydon North, Croydon Central and Croydon South. There are 24 wards which represent Croydon Council.
For much of its history, Croydon Council was controlled by the Conservative Party or conservative-leaning independents. Former Croydon councillors include current MP Andrew Pelling, former MPs Vivian Bendall, David Congdon, Geraint Davies and Reg Prentice, London Assembly member Valerie Shawcross, Lord Bowness, John Donaldson, Baron Donaldson of Lymington (Master of the Rolls) and H.T. Muggeridge, MP and father of Malcolm Muggeridge. The first Mayor of the newly created County Borough was Jabez Balfour, later a disgraced Member of Parliament. Former Conservative Director of Campaigning, Gavin Barwell, has been a Croydon councillor since 1998 and will contest the Croydon Central seat for the Conservatives aiming to replace independent Conservative Andrew Pelling at the next general election.
Some 10,000 people work directly or indirectly for the council, in its main offices in Taberner House or in its schools, care homes, housing offices or work depots. The council is generally well-regarded, having made important improvements in education and social services. However, there have been concerns over benefits, leisure services and waste collection. Although the council has one of London's lower rates of council tax, there are inevitable claims that it is too high and that resources are wasted.
The Mayor of Croydon for 2008-09 was Councillor Jonathan Driver until his unexpected death in December 2008. The Leader is Cllr Mike Fisher and the Deputy Leaders are Cllr Tim Pollard and Cllr Dudley Mead. The Chief Executive since 7 July 2007 has been Jon Rouse.
Croydon Town Hall on Katharine Street in Central Croydon houses the committee rooms, the mayor's and other councillors' offices, electoral services and the arts and heritage services.
The present Town Hall is Croydon's third. The first town hall is thought to have been built in either 1566 or 1609. The second was built in 1808 to serve the growing town but was demolished after the present town hall was erected in 1895. The present town hall was designed by local architect Charles Henman and was officially opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales on 19 May 1896. It was constructed in red brick, sourced from Wrotham in Kent, with Portland stone dressings and green Westmoreland slates for the roof. It also housed the court and most central council employees.
Parts, including the former court rooms, have been converted into the Museum of Croydon and exhibition galleries. The original public library is now a cinema, part of the Croydon Clocktower. The Braithwaite Hall is used for events and performances. The town hall was renovated in the mid-1990s and the imposing central staircase, long closed to the public and kept for councillors only, was re-opened in 1994. The civic complex, meanwhile, was substantially added to, with buildings across Mint Walk and the 19-floor Taberner House to house the rapidly expanding corporation's employees.
Ruskin House is the headquarters of Croydon's Labour, Trade Union and Co-operative movements and is itself a co-operative with shareholders from organisations across the three movements. In the nineteenth century, Croydon was a bustling commercial centre of London. It was said that, at the turn of the twentieth century, approximately £10,000 was spent in Croydon's taverns and inns every week. For the early labour movement, then, it was natural to meet in the town's public houses, in this environment. However, the temperance movement was equally strong, and Georgina King Lewis, a keen member of the Croydon United Temperance Council, took it upon herself to establish a dry centre for the labour movement. The first Ruskin House was highly successful, and there has been two more since. The current house was officially opened in 1967 by the then Labour Prime Minister, Harold Wilson. Today, Ruskin House continues to serve as the headquarters of the Trade Union, Labour and Co-operative movements in Croydon, hosting a range of meetings and being the base for several labour movement groups. Office tenants include the headquarters of the Communist Party of Britain and Croydon Labour Party. Geraint Davies, the MP for Croydon Central, had offices in the building, until he was defeated by Andrew Pelling and is now the Labour representative standing for Swansea West in Wales.
Taberner House was built between 1964 and 1967, designed by architect H. Thornley, with Allan Holt and Hugh Lea as borough engineers. Although the council had needed extra space since the 1920s, it was only with the imminent creation of the London Borough of Croydon that action was taken. The building is in classic 1960s style, praised at the time but subsequently much derided. It has its elegant upper slab block narrowing towards both ends, a formal device which has been compared to the famous Pirelli Tower in Milan. It was named after Ernest Taberner OBE, Town Clerk from 1937 to 1963.
Taberner House houses most of the council's central employees and its 'one-stop shop' is the main location for the public to access information and services, particularly with respect to housing.
The borough is in the deep south of London, with the M25 orbital motorway stretching to the south of it, between Croydon and Tandridge. In the north and east of Croydon the authority mainly borders the London Borough of Bromley and in the north west the boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. The boroughs of Sutton and Merton are located directly to the west. It is at the head of the River Wandle, just to the north of a significant gap in the North Downs. It lies 10 miles (16 km) south of London, and the earliest settlement may have been a Roman staging post on the London-Portslade road, although conclusive evidence has not yet been found. The main town centre houses a great variety of well-known stores on North End and two shopping centres. It was pedestrianised in 1989 to attract people back to the town centre. Another shopping centre called Park Place, is planned to be built by 2012.
The CR postcode area covers most of the south and centre of the London Borough of Croydon while the other parts in the north are covered by SW and SE postcodes include the areas of South Norwood and Selhurst, Upper Norwood, West Norwood, and Norbury and Streatham.
Districts in the London Borough of Croydon include Addington, a small village to the east of Croydon which until 2000 was poorly linked to the rest of the borough as it was without any railway or light rail stations with only a few patchy bus services to rely on. Addiscombe is a town just northeast of the centre of Croydon, and is popular with commuters to Central London due to its close proximity to the busy East Croydon station. Ashburton, to the northeast of Croydon, is mostly home to residential houses and flats, being named after Ashburton House, one of the three big houses in the Addiscombe area. Broad Green is a small district, centred on a large green with many homes and local shops in West Croydon. Coombe is an area, just east of Croydon, which has barely been urbanised and has retained its collection of large houses fairly intact. Coulsdon, southwest of Central Croydon, which has retained a good mix of traditional high street shops as well as a large number of restaurants for its size. Croydon is the principal area of the borough, Crystal Palace is an area north of Croydon, which is shared with the London Boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham and Bromley. Fairfield, just northeast of Croydon, holds the Fairfield Halls and the village of Forestdale, to the east of Croydon's main area, commenced work in the late 1960s and completed in the mid-70s to create a larger town on what was previously open ground. Hamsey Green is a place on the plateau of the North Downs, south of Croydon. Kenley, again south of the centre, lie within the London Green Belt and features a landscape dominated by green space. New Addington, to the east, is a large local authority estate surrounded by open countryside and golf courses. Norbury, to the northwest, is a suburb with a large ethnic population. Norwood New Town is a part of the Norwood triangle, to the north of Croydon. Monks Orchard is a small district made up of large houses and open space in the northeast of the borough. Pollards Hill is a residential district with houses on roads, which are lined with pollarded lime trees, stretching to Norbury. Purley, to the south, is a main town whose name derives from "pirlea", which means 'Peartree lea'. Sanderstead, to the south, is a village mainly on high ground at the edge of suburban development in Greater London. Selhurst is a town, to the north of Croydon, which holds the nationally known school, The BRIT School. Selsdon is a suburb which was developed during the inter-war period in the 1920s and 1930s, and is remarkable for its many Art Deco houses, to the southwest of Croydon Centre. Shirley, is to the east of Croydon, and holds Shirley Windmill. South Croydon, to the south of Croydon, is a locality which holds local landmarks such as The Swan and Sugarloaf public house and independent Whitgift School part of the Whitgift Foundation. South Norwood, to the north, is in common with West Norwood and Upper Norwood, named after a contraction of Great North Wood and has a population of around 14,590. Thornton Heath is a town, to the northwest of Croydon, which holds Croydon's principal hospital Mayday. Upper Norwood is, west to Croydon, on a mainly elevated area of the borough. Waddon is a residential area, mainly based on the Purley Way retail area, to the west of the borough. West Croydon is west of Croydon and Woodside is located to the northeast of the borough, with streets based around Woodside Green, a small sized area of green land. And finally Whyteleafe is a town, right to the edge of Croydon with some areas in the Surrey district of Tandridge.
Croydon is a gateway to the south from Central London, and therefore has a number of major roads running through it. Purley Way on the A23 road was built to by-pass Croydon town centre on which the A23 once did, is one of the busiest roads in the borough, and has been the site of several major retail developments including one of only 17 IKEA stores in the United Kingdom. It carries on to Brighton Road which is the main route running towards the south from Croydon to Purley and continues on the A23. The centre of Croydon is very congested, and the urban planning has since become out of date and quite inadequate, due to the expansion of Croydon's main shopping area and office blocks. Wellesley Road, is a dual carriageway that cuts through the centre of the town, and makes it hard to interchange between the civic centre's two railway stations. Croydon Vision 2020 includes a plan for a more pedestrian-friendly replacement. It has also been named as one of the worst roads for cyclists in the area. Construction of the Croydon Underpass beneath the junction of George Street and Wellesley Road/Park Lane during the early Sixties started, with the main aim to prevent traffic congestion on Park Lane, situated above the underpass. The Croydon Flyover on the other hand is situated near the underpass and next to Taberner House. It mainly leads traffic on to Duppas Hill, towards Purley Way with the intention for easy links with Sutton and Kingston upon Thames further afield. The major junction on the flyover is for Old Town, which is also a large three-lane road.
Croydon covers an area of 86.52 km², the 256th largest district in England. Croydon's physical features consist of many hills and rivers that are spread out across the borough and into the North Downs, Surrey and the rest of South London. Addington Hills is a major floodplain in London for the Thames Valley and is recognised as a significant obstacle to the growth of London from its origins as a port on the north side of the river, to a large circular city. The Great North Wood is a former natural oak forest that covered the Sydenham Ridge and the southern reaches of the River Effra and its tributaries. The most notable tree, called Vicar's Oak, marked the boundary of four ancient parishes; Lambeth, Camberwell, Croydon and Bromley. John Aubrey referred to this "ancient remarkable tree" in the past tense as early as 1718, but according to JB Wilson, the Vicar's Oak survived until 1825. The River Wandle is also a major tributary of the River Thames, where it stretches to Wandsworth and Putney for 9 miles (14 km) from its main source in Waddon.
Croydon has a temperate climate in common with most areas of Great Britain, it is similar to that of Greenwich in Inner London: its Koppen climate classification is Cfb. Its mean annual temperature of 9.6 °C is similar to that experienced throughout the Weald, and slightly cooler than nearby areas such as the Sussex coast and Central London. Rainfall is considerably below England's average (1971–2000) level of 838 mm, and every month is drier overall than the England average.
The nearest weather station is at Gatwick Airport.
In recent years, the development of tall buildings, such as the approved Croydon Vocational Tower and Wellesley Square, has been encouraged in the London Plan, which will lead to the erection of new skyscrapers over the next few years as London goes through a high-rise boom.
No.1 Croydon, formerly the NLA Tower, Britain's 88th tallest tower, close to East Croydon station, is an example of 1970s architecture. The tower has been nicknamed the 50p building, as it resembles many 50p pieces in a pile. Lunar House is another high-rise building. Like other government office buildings on Wellesley Road, such as Apollo House, the name of the building was inspired by the US moon landings (In the Croydon suburb of New Addington there is a public house, built during the same period, called The Man on the Moon).
A new generation of buildings are being considered by the council as part of Croydon Vision 2020, so that the borough doesn't lose its title of having the "largest office space in the south east", excluding Central London. Projects such as Wellesley Square, which will be a mix of residential and retail with an eye-catching colour design and 100 George Street a proposed modern office block are incorporated in this vision.
Notable events that have happened to Croydon's skyline include the Millennium project to create the largest single urban lighting project ever. It was created for the buildings of Croydon to illuminate them for the third millennium. Not only did this project give new lighting to the buildings, but it provided an opportunity to project onto them images and words, mixing art and poetry with coloured light, and also displaying public information after dark. Apart from increasing night time activity in Croydon and thereby reducing the fear of crime, it helped to promote the sustainable use of older buildings by displaying them in a more positive way.
According to the 2001 census, Croydon has a population of around 269,100. In 2005 this was recorded to have risen up to 342,700, making Croydon the ninth most populous local authority in England out of 354 boroughs. 159,111 were males, with 171,476 females. In 2001 the number of people per hectare in Croydon was 38.21, in London 45.62, and in England 3.77. The mean age of the residents of Croydon was 33.75 and 233,748 out of 330,587 residents described their health as 'good'.
White is the majority ethnicity with over 72%, compared to 90% in England as a whole. Black or Black British was the second-largest ethnicity, over 13%; 11.3% is South Asian.
The most common householder type were owner occupied with only a small percentage rented. Many new housing schemes and developments are currently taking place in Croydon, such as The Exchange and Bridge House, IYLO, Wellesley Square and Altitude 25. The Metropolitan Police recorded a 10% fall in the number of crimes committed in Croydon, better than the rate which crime in London as a whole is falling, in 2006. Croydon has had the highest fall in the number of cases of violence against the person in South London, and is one of the top 10 safest local authorities in London. According to Your Croydon (a local community magazine) this is due to a stronger partnership struck between Croydon Council and the police. In 2007, overall crime figures across the borough saw decrease of 5%, with the number of incidents decreasing from 32,506 in 2006 to 30,862 in 2007. Croydon has five police stations. Croydon police station is on Park Lane in the centre of the town near the Fairfield Halls; South Norwood police station is a newly refurbished building just of the High Street; Norbury police station is on London Road; Kenley station is on Godstone Road; and New Addington police station is on Addington Village road.
The table below details the population change since 1901, including the percentage change since the last available census data. Although the London Borough of Croydon has existed as a London borough since 1963, figures have been generated by combining data from the towns, villages, and civil parishes that would later be constituent parts of the authority.
The main employment sectors of the Borough is retail and enterprise which is mainly based in Central Croydon. Major employers are well-known companies, who hold stores or offices in the town. Purley Way is a major employer of people, looking for jobs as sales assistants, sales consultants and store managerial jobs. IKEA Croydon, when it was built in 1992, brought many non-skilled jobs to Croydon. The store, which is a total size of 23,000 m², took over the former site of Croydon Power station, which had led to the unemployment of many skilled workers. In May 2006, the extension of the IKEA made it the fifth biggest employer in Croydon, and includes the extension of the showroom, market hall and self-serve areas. Other big employers around Purley is the large Tesco Extra store in Purley, along with other stores in Purley Way which include, Sainsbury's, B&Q, Comet, Vue and Toys "R" Us along with many others. Croydon town centre is also a major retail centre, and home to many High Street and department stores as well as designer boutiques. The main town centre shopping areas are on the North End precinct, Whitgift Centre, Centrale and the St George's Walk. Department stores in Croydon town centre include House of Fraser, Marks and Spencer, Allders, Debenhams and T.K. Maxx. Croydon's main market is Surrey Street Market, which has a royal charter dating back to 1276. Shopping areas outside the city centre include the Valley Park retail park, Croydon Colonnades, Croydon Fiveways, and the Waddon Goods Park.
In a 2005 survey on spending potential, Croydon came 21st (second in London behind the West End which came out first) with £909 million while the next London retail centre, Kingston upon Thames came 24th with £864 million. In a 2004 survey on the top retail destinations, Croydon was 27th.
In 2007, Croydon leapt up the annual business growth league table, with a 14% rise in new firms trading in the borough after 125 new companies started up, increasing the number from 900 to 1,025, enabling the town, which has also won the Enterprising Britain Award and "the most enterprising borough in London" award, to jump from 31 to 14 in the table.
Croydon is home to a variety of international business communities, each with dynamic business networks, so businesses located in Croydon are in a good position to make the most of international trade and recruit from a labour force fluent in 130 languages.
Tramlink created many jobs when it opened in 2000, not only drivers but engineers as well. Many of the people involved came from Croydon, which was the original hub of the system. Retail stores inside both Centrale and the Whitgift Centre as well as on North End employee people regularly and create many jobs, especially at Christmas. As well as the new building of Park Place, which will create yet more jobs, so will the regeneration of Croydon, called Croydon Vision 2020, highlighted in the Croydon Expo which includes the Croydon Gateway, Wellesley Square, Central One plus much more.
Croydon is a major office area in the south east of England, being the largest outside of Central London. Many powerful companies based in Europe and worldwide have European or British headquarters in the town. American International Group (AIG), the sponsors of Manchester United F.C. has its European headquarters in East Croydon in No.1 Croydon formerly the NLA Tower (50p building), shared with Liberata, Pegasus and the Institute of Public Finance. AIG is the sixth-largest company in the world according to the 2007 Forbes Global 2000 list. The Swiss company Nestlé has its UK headquarters in Croydon in the Nestlé Tower, on the site of the proposed Park Place shopping centre, so the offices may be modernised and re-newed causing the company to relocate for a while. Real Digital International has developed a purpose built 70,000 sq ft (6,500 m2) factory on Purley Way equipped with the most sophisticated production equipment and technical solutions. ntl:Telewest now Virgin Media has offices at Communications House, from the Telewest side when it was known as Croydon Cable. The Home Office UK Border Agency has its headquarters in Lunar House in Central Croydon. In 1981, Superdrug opened a 11,148 m² (120,000 ft²) distribution centre and office complex at Beddington Lane. The head office of international engineering and management consultant Mott MacDonald is located in St Anne House on Wellesley Road. BT has large offices in Prospect East in Central Croydon. The Royal Bank of Scotland also has large offices in Purley, south of Croydon. Direct Line also has an office opposite Taberner House. Other companies with headquarters in Croydon include Lloyds TSB, Merrill Lynch and Balfour Beatty. Ann Summers used to have its headquarters in the borough but has moved to the Wopses Lodge Roundabout in Tandridge.
There are a large number of attractions and places of interest all across the borough of Croydon, ranging from historic sites in the north and south to modern towers in the centre.
Croydon Airport was once London's main airport, but closed on 30 September 1959 due to the expansion of London and the need of more room at the airport which was impossible to provide, so Heathrow International Airport took over as London's main airport. It is now disused and is a tourist attraction. The Croydon Clocktower arts venue was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1994. It includes the David Lean Cinema (built in memory of David Lean), the Museum of Croydon and Croydon Central Library. The Museum of Croydon (formerly known as Croydon Lifetimes Museum) highlights Croydon in the past and the present and currently features high-profile exhibitions including the Riesco Collection, The Art of Dr Seuss and the Whatever the Weather gallery. Shirley Windmill is a working windmill and one of the few surviving large windmills in Surrey, built in 1854. It is Grade II listed and received a £218,100 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Addington Palace is an 18th century mansion in Addington which was originally built as Addington Place in the 16th century. The palace became the official second residence of six Archbishops, five of whom are buried in St Mary's Church and churchyard nearby. North End is the main pedestrianised shopping road in Croydon, having Centrale to one side and the Whitgift Centre to the other. The Warehouse Theatre is a popular theatre for mostly young performers and is due to get a face-lift on the Croydon Gateway site. The Nestlé Tower is the UK headquarters of Nestlé and is one of the tallest towers in England, which is due to be re-fitted during the Park Place development. The Fairfield Halls is a well known concert hall and exhibition centre, opened in 1962. It is frequently used for BBC recordings and was formerly the home of ITV's World of Sport. It includes the Ashcroft Theatre and the Arnhem Gallery. Croydon Palace was the summer residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury for over 500 years and included regular visitors such as Henry III and Queen Elizabeth I. It is thought to have been built around 960. Croydon Cemetery is a large cemetery and crematorium west of Croydon and is most famous for the gravestone of Derek Bentley, who was wrongly hanged in 1953. Mitcham Common is an area of common land partly shared with the boroughs of Sutton and Merton. Almost 500,000 years ago, Mitcham Common formed part of the river bed of the River Thames. The BRIT School is a performing Arts & Technology school, owned by the BRIT Trust (known for the BRIT Awards Music Ceremony). Famous former students include Kellie Shirley, Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis, Kate Nash, Dane Bowers, Katie Melua and Lyndon David-Hall. Grants is an entertainment venue in the centre of Croydon which includes a Vue cinema and the Tiger Tiger nightclub. Taberner House houses the main offices of Croydon Council, and was built between 1964 and 1967. It has been compared to the Pirelli Tower in Milan. Surrey Street Market has a Royal Charter dating back to 1276 linking it to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The market is regularly used as a location for TV, film and advertising. Beanos, a collectors' record store that has been in Croydon for over three decades, was once the largest second-hand record shop in Europe. The Parish Church of St John the Baptist is a large church dating from the 15th century. It was largely destroyed by fire in 1867 and rebuilt by Sir George Gilbert Scott. It is the burial place of six Archbishops of Canterbury with monuments to Archbishops Sheldon and Whitgift. BedZED, Beddington Zero Energy Development, is on the outskirts of the borough.
There are two main interchanges for all public transport modes (national and local rail, tram, and local buses) at West Croydon and East Croydon station.
Croydon is linked into the national motorway network via the M23 and M25 orbital motorway. The M25 skirts the south of the borough, linking Croydon with other parts London and the surrounding counties; the M23 branches from the M25 close to Coulsdon, linking the town with the South Coast, Crawley, Reigate, and London Gatwick Airport. The A23 connects the borough with the motorways. The A23 is the major trunk road through Croydon, linking it with Central London, East Sussex, Horsham, and Littlehaven. The old London to Brighton road, passes through the west of the borough on Purley Way, bypassing the commercial centre of Croydon which it once did.
The Brighton Main Line railway route south from Croydon links the town to Sussex, Surrey, and Kent and to Central London to the north: providing direct services to Hastings, Southampton, Brighton, Portsmouth, Gatwick Airport, Bedford and Luton. Also running through Croydon is the N/S cross-country line which links Manchester and Reading directly with South London, the Southeast, and the South Coast. The main station for all these services is East Croydon station in the centre of the town centre. East Croydon station is the largest and busiest station in Croydon, third busiest in London, excluding Travelcard Zone 1. The station at West Croydon serves all trains travelling west except the fastest. There are also more regional stations scattered around the borough. Passenger rail services through Croydon are provided by Southern, Southeastern, First Capital Connect and CrossCountry. A pilot scheme launched by the Strategic Rail Authority, Transport for London and three train operators is designed to encourage more passengers to travel off-peak. In full partnership with the South London Boroughs which includes Croydon, SWELTRAC, SELTRANS and the transport users group, the scheme promotes the advantages of off-peak travel following improvements to safety, travel connections and upgrading of station facilities. The Thameslink Programme (formerly known as Thameslink 2000), is a £3.5 billion major project to expand the Thameslink network from 51 to 172 stations spreading northwards to Bedford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King's Lynn and southwards to Guildford, Eastbourne, Horsham, Hove to Littlehampton, East Grinstead, Ashford and Dartford. The project includes the lengthening of platforms, station remodelling, new railway infrastructure (e.g. viaduct) and additional rolling stock. When implemented, First Capital Connect services would call at other stations in the borough including Purley and Norwood Junction.
The closest international airport to Croydon is London Gatwick Airport, which is located 19 miles (31 km) from the city centre. The airport opened on August 1930 and is a major international operational base for British Airways, easyJet and Virgin Atlantic. It currently handles around 35 million passengers a year making it London's second largest airport and the second busiest airport in the United Kingdom after Heathrow. Croydon Airport opened on 29 March 1920 but, due in part to its short runway and the expanding Gatwick Airport close by the final passenger scheduled flight departed on 30 September 1959. It used to be the operating base for Imperial Airways and was served by British Airways. London Heathrow Airport, London City Airport and London Luton Airport all lie within a two hours' drive of the city. Luton Airport is connected to Croydon by a direct train every hour.
The A23 and A22 roads are the major trunk roads through Croydon. These both run north-south, connecting to each other in Purley. The A22 connects Croydon, its starting point, to East Grinstead, Tunbridge Wells, Uckfield, and Eastbourne. Other major roads generally radiate spoke-like from the city centre. Wellesley Road is an urban motorway which cuts through the middle of the central business district was constructed in the 1960s and includes an underpass, which allows traffic to avoid going into the town centre.
The hilly topography of Croydon and the lack of underground services in that part of South London is a reason for the extensive suburban and inter-urban railway network. Croydon is in the commuter belt to London as part of suburbia. There are several busy local rail routes running along the borough's towns, connecting it with London Bridge and London Victoria. These local routes mainly run on the Brighton Main Line and Sutton & Mole Valley Lines. As well as the main stations of East Croydon and West Croydon, there are several suburban stations at Norwood Junction, Purley, Coulsdon South and Kenley and more.
The light rail system Tramlink (Operated by Tramtrack Croydon, a wholly owned subsidy of Transport for London), opened in 2000, serves the borough and surrounding areas. Its network consists of three lines, from Elmers End to West Croydon, from Beckenham to West Croydon, and from New Addington to Wimbledon, with all three lines running via the Croydon loop on which it is centred on. It has been highly successful, environmentally-friendly and a reliable light rail system carrying around 22 million passengers a year. It is also the only tram system in London but there is another light rail system in the Docklands. It serves Mitcham, Woodside, Addiscombe and the Purley Way retail and industrial area amongst others. An extension to Crystal Palace is currently being developed by Transport for London with the support of the council and the South London Partnership. This would improve public transport access to Upper Norwood and Crystal Palace Park and help to stimulate regeneration across the wider area. The extension could be in service by 2013. Other possible extensions include Sutton, a new park and ride close to the M25, Coulsdon, Purley, Kingston Upon Thames, Tolworth, Tooting, Brixton for an interchange with the proposed Cross River Tram, Bromley and Lewisham for an interchange with the Docklands Light Railway.
A sizeable bus infrastructure which is part of the London Buses network operates from a main hub at West Croydon station. The bus station at West Croydon is undergoing a major re-development to make it more modern and future-proof. There are also plans to create a new bus terminal at Park Place if the shopping centre is built. Addington Interchange is a regional bus terminal in Addington Village which has an interchange between route three and bus services in the remote area. Arriva London, part of Arriva, is one of the largest bus operators to serve Croydon along with Metrobus, Selkent, and National Express London. Recent developments have seen East London Bus Group taking over Stagecoach bus services in London. Unlike other places in the country, London's transport infrastructure is regulated and therefore is not subject to price wars between different companies with TfL setting a standard price for bus services which is currently set at 90p with an Oyster card. Services include buses to Central London, Purley Way, Bromley, Lewisham and a number of other civic centres in the south. London Buses route X26, the longest route in London, provides services to Heathrow Airport via Richmond and Sutton.
Although hilly, Croydon is compact and has few major trunk roads running through it. It is on one of the Connect2 schemes which are part of the National Cycle Network route running around Croydon. The North Downs, an area of outstanding natural beauty popular with both on- and off-road cyclists, is so close to Croydon that part of the park lies within the borough boundary, and there are routes into the park almost from the civic centre.
Construction of the first phase of the East London Line Extension to West Croydon is now under way north of the Thames. This project will improve Croydon's public transport connections to central and inner East London. It will also provide the main impetus for building a modern public transport interchange at West Croydon station linking tram, bus and rail. The East London Line Extension will be a major contribution to London's transport infrastructure in time for the Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in the capital in 2012. Two stations in Croydon, Norwood Junction and West Croydon, will be connected to London Underground services. Currently Croydon is one of only five London Boroughs not to have at least one London Underground station within its boundaries, and the closest tube station is apparently Morden tube station, 139 minutes away to the west.
Home Office policing in Croydon is provided by the Metropolitan Police. The force's Croydon arm have their head offices for policing on Park Lane next to the Fairfield Halls and Croydon College in central Croydon. Public transport is co-ordinated by Transport for London. Statutory emergency fire and rescue service is provided by the London Fire Brigade, which has five stations in Croydon.
The Mayday University Hospital, built on a 19-acre (77,000 m2) site in Thornton Heath at the west of Croydon's boundaries with Merton, is a large NHS hospital administrated by Mayday Healthcare NHS Trust. Former names of the hospital include the Croydon Union Infirmary from 1885 to 1923 and the Mayday Road Hospital from 1923 to around 1930. It is a District General Hospital with a 24-hour accident and emergency department. NHS Direct has a regional centre based at the hospital. The NHS Trust also provides services at Purley War Memorial Hospital, in Purley. Croydon General Hospital was on London Road but services transferred to Mayday, as the size of this hospital was insufficient to cope with the growing population of the borough. Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Centre and the Emergency Minor Treatment Centre are other smaller hospitals operated by the Mayday in the borough. Cane Hill was a psychiatric hospital in Coulsdon.
Waste management is co-ordinated by the local authority. Unlike other waste disposal authorities in Greater London, Croydon's rubbish is collected independently and isn't part of a waste authority unit. Locally produced inert waste for disposal is sent to landfill in the south of Croydon. There have recently been calls by the ODPM to bring waste management powers to the Greater London Authority, giving it a waste function. The Mayor of London has made repeated attempts to bring the different waste authorities together, to form a single waste authority in London. This has faced significant opposition from existing authorities. However, it has had significant support from all other sectors and the surrounding regions managing most of London's waste. Croydon has the joint best recycling rate in London, at 36%. Croydon's Distribution Network Operator for electricity is EDF Energy Networks; there are no power stations in the borough. Thames Water manages Croydon's drinking and waste water; water supplies being sourced from several local reservoirs, including Beckton and King George VI. Before 1971, Croydon Corporation was responsible for water treatment in the borough.
The borough of Croydon is 86.52kmsq, populating approximately 340,000 people. There are five fire stations within the borough; Addington (two pumping appliances), Croydon (two pumping appliances, incident response unit, fire rescue unit and a USAR appliance), Norbury (two pumping appliances), Purley (one pumping appliance) and Woodside (one pumping appliance). Purley has the largest station ground, but dealt with the fewest incidents during 2006/07.
The borough of Croydon has the most schools in London; 156. The fire stations, as part of the Community Fire Safety scheme, visited 49 schools in 2006/2007.
Overall, Croydon was ranked 92nd out of the all the Local Education Authorities – and 21st in Greater London – in National Curriculum assessment performance in 2007. In 2007, the Croydon LEA was ranked 81st out of 149 in the country – and 21st in Greater London – based on the percentage of pupils attaining at least 5 A*–C grades at GCSE including maths and English (37.8% compared with the national average of 46.7%). In 2007, Old Palace School of John Whitgift was the most successful school in Croydon at GCSE with 100% of the pupils gaining five or more GCSEs at A*–C grade including maths and English. The most successful public sector school was Coloma Convent Girls' School.
The borough compared with the other London boroughs has the highest amount of schools in it, due to the fact that 26% of its population are under 20 years old. They include primary schools (95), secondary schools (21) and four further education establishments. Croydon College has its main building in Central Croydon, it is a high rise building. John Ruskin College is one of the other colleges in the borough, located in Addington and Coulsdon College in Coulsdon. South Norwood has been the home of Spurgeon's College, a world-famous Baptist theological college, since 1923; Spurgeon's is located on South Norwood Hill and currently has some 1000 students. The London Borough of Croydon is the local education authority for the borough.
Below is a table which shows the results of the GCSE Examination Performance in Croydon schools in 2007.
The borough of Croydon has 14 libraries, a joint library and a mobile library. Many of the libraries where built a long time ago and therefore have become outdated, so the council started updating a few including Ashburton Library which moved from its former spot into the state-of-the-art Ashburton Learning Village complex which is on the former site of the old 'A Block' of Ashburton Community School which is now situated inside the centre. The library is now on 1 floor. This is what the council wanted to roll out around the borough but due to the cost of this one, it was decided that doing this would cost to much.
South Norwood Library, New Addington Library, Shirley Library, Thornton Heath Library, Selsdon Library, Sanderstead Library, Purley Library, Coulsdon Library and Bradmore Green Library are examples of older council libraries. The main library is Croydon Central Library which holds many references, newspaper archives and a tourist information point (one of three in South East London). Upper Norwood Library is a joint library with the London Borough of Lambeth. This means that both councils fund the library and its resources, but even though Lambeth have nearly doubled their funding for the library in the past several years Croydon has kept it the same, doubting the future of the library.
Croydon is made up of many different cultures and ethnicities from around the world. According to the United Kingdom Census 2001, the borough has over 215,124 Christians, mainly Protestants. This is the largest religious following in the borough and has many more believers than the next religion Islam. There are just 17,642 Muslim followers in the borough, which makes up some of the 607,083 in London as a whole. But over 48,615 people are atheists, meaning that they don't believe in a religion at all, compared with only 26,506 people in close by borough of Kingston upon Thames, although this is a less populated borough.
There are more than 35 churches in the borough, with Croydon Parish Church being the main one. This church was founded in Saxon times, since there is a record of "a priest of Croydon" in 960, although the first record of a church building is in the Domesday Book (1086). In its final medieval form, the church was mainly a Perpendicular-style structure, but this was severely damaged by fire in 1867, following which only the tower, south porch and outer walls remained. Under the direction of Sir George Gilbert Scott the church was rebuilt, incorporating the remains and essentially following the design of the medieval building, and was reconsecrated in 1870. It still contains several important monuments and fittings saved from the old church.
Croydon is going through a large re-generation plan and part of that plan is to add a Cultural Quarter to the centre of Croydon. This includes the Bridge House and The Exchange developments which are plans for loft style urban living to the centre of town.
The borough has been criticized in the past for not having enough leisure facilities, maintaining the position of Croydon as a three star borough. At the moment only three leisure centres are open for public use and two of these are expected to be closed down in the near future, with plans for only one of them to be re-built. Thornton Heath's ageing sports centre was recently knocked down, and replaced by a newer more modern leisure centre. South Norwood Leisure Centre was closed down in early 2006 so that it could be knocked completely down and re-designed from scratch like Thornton Heath, which would cost around £10 million.
In May 2006 the Conservative Party became in charge of Croydon and decided that doing this would cost too much money, so they came up with another idea of just re-furbishing the centre, although this decision did not come without controversy.
Purley Pool is to close soon, but a new "super-pool" is planned in Coulsdon. The aging New Addington Leisure Centre is also set to close but is to be re-built. A new leisure centre is also going to be built on the A23, southern end of Purley Way in Waddon.
Sport Croydon, currently is the commercial arm for leisure in the borough and the logo is seen somewhere in each of the centres. Fusion currently provides leisure services for the council which previously used Parkwood Leisure which itself provides services for nearby Lewisham.
Football teams include Crystal Palace F.C., which plays at Selhurst Park, in the Coca-Cola Championship. Coulsdon United F.C. (formerly Coulsdon Town F.C. before the merge with Salfords F.C.) are a team that currently play in the Combined Counties League Division One. Croydon Athletic F.C., whose local nickname is The Rams, is a football club based in Thornton Heath's Keith Tuckey Stadium and play in the Isthmian League Division One South, with Croydon F.C. who play at Croydon Sports Arena and Holmesdale, who were founded in South Norwood but currently playing on Oakley Road in Bromley, currently in the Kent League. Non-football teams that play in Croydon are Streatham-Croydon RFC, a historic rugby union club in Thornton Heath who play at Frant Road, as well as South London Storm Rugby League Club, based at Streatham's ground, who compete in the Rugby League Conference. The London Olympians are an American Football team that play in Division 1 South in the British American Football League.
Croydon has over 120 parks and open spaces, ranging from the 200-acre (0.81 km2) Selsdon Wood Nature Reserve to many recreation grounds and sports fields scattered throughout the Borough.
Croydon aims to become one of the hearts of culture in London and the South East of England. This has been proved with the dedication the council has shown to projects such as the proposed Croydon Arena. Although, despite the aim, it has also cut funding to the Warehouse Theatre.
In 2005, Croydon Council drew up a Public Art Strategy, with a vision that is accessible and enhances people's enjoyment of their surroundings. The public art strategy delivered a new event called Croydon's Summer Festival hosted in Lloyd Park. The festival consits of two days of events. The first is called Croydon's World Party which is a free one day event with three stages featuring world, jazz and dance music from the UK and internationally. The final days event is the Croydon Mela, a day of music with a mix of traditional Asian culture and east meets western club beats across four stages as well as dozens of food stalls and a funfair. It has attracted crowds of over 50,000 people. The stratergy also created a creative industries hub in Old Town, ensure public art is included in developments such as College Green and Croydon Gateway and investigate the possibility of gallery space in the Cultural Quarter.
The Warehouse Theare is a professional producing theatre opened in 1977 with one hundred seats based in an oak-beamed former cement Victorian warehouse. It has been acclaimed for its commitment to new writing, including its annual International Playwriting Festival, in partnership with the Extra Candoni Festival of Udine in Italy and Theatro Ena in Cyprus. Youth theatre is also important, with the resident Croydon Young Peoples' Theatre and including an annual collaboration with the Croydon-based Brit School. It is on the Gateway site which is going through a regeneration project. Stanhope's plan for the site is to include a 200 seat theatre custom-designed by Foster + Partners in their Ruskin Square development surrounded by a large new park. This will be paid for in full by Stanhope at a cost approaching £5 million. The Board of the Warehouse Theatre believes that this is the best option for securing a fully funded, workable and unique building. Arrowcroft's proposal is for an Arena-led scheme which initially didn't include the theatre. But this was changed to incorporate a replacement theatre as part of a condition of planning. It is proposed that it occupies one of the leisure units behind the Arena facing onto the plaza with a children's playground in front. The plan is to build a 200 seat theatre inside the leisure unit. The biggest problem with this scheme is that it would be built in one phase and requires the theatre to vacate the current theatre before the development begins. The theatre would then be without a home for a period of three years or more and would need a temporary location and additional funding to make this possible. The theatre will be launching its largest fundraising appeal in its 30 year history over the Autumn of 2008 to help it launch itself into the new building. Fundraising will be required for finishing touches to the new building, technical equipment, launch programme and a host of other vital expenditure to ensure the Warehouse Theatre is launched into its new future on a firm footing.
Fairfield Halls, Arnhem Gallery and the Ashcroft Theatre show productions that are held throughout the year such as drama, ballet, opera and pantomimes and can be converted to show films. It also contains the Arnhem Gallery civic hall and an art gallery. Other cultural activities, including shopping and exhibitions, are Surrey Street Market which is mainly a meat and vegetables market near the main shopping environment of Croydon. The market has a Royal Charter dating back to 1276. Airport House is a newly refurbished conference and exhibition centre inside part of Croydon Airport. The Whitgift Centre, the current main shopping centre in the borough is also one of the largest in-town shopping centres in the whole of Europe. Centrale, a new shopping centre that houses many more familiar names, as well as Croydon's House of Fraser. North End, the main shopping street, which holds both centres. Park Place, a shopping centre that is planned to be built in Central Croydon by Minerva. Croydon Arena is a proposed arena for the Gateway site which if built will feature more commercial exhibitions and sport events next to East Croydon station.
There are three local newspapers which operate within the borough, each with considerable history in the area. The Croydon Advertiser began life in 1869, and is the third-highest selling paid-for weekly newspaper in London. The Advertiser is also Croydon's major paid-for weekly paper and is on sale every Friday in five geographical editions: Croydon; Sutton & Epsom; Coulsdon & Purley; New Addington; and Caterham. The paper converted from a broadsheet to a compact (tabloid) format on 31 March 2006. It was bought by Northcliffe Media which is part of the Daily Mail and General Trust group on 6 July 2007. In 2008 it was given a new website as part of the This is network of brands across the United Kingdom. The Croydon Post is a free newspaper available across the borough and is operated by the Advertiser group. The circulation of the newspaper is notably more than the main title published by the Advertiser Group.
The Croydon Guardian is another local weekly paper, which is paid for at newsagents but free at Croydon Council libraries and via deliveries. The newspaper is published every Wednesday. The paper is owned by regional newspaper publisher Newsquest Media Group and is inside the South London arm. It is one of the best circulated local newspapers in London and has the highest circulation in Croydon with around one thousand more copies distributed than The Post.
The borough is served by the London regional versions of BBC and ITV coverage, from either the Crystal Palace or Croydon transmitters.
Capital Radio began broadcasting on October 1973 from Euston Tower, North London. The station, now owned by Global Radio, broadcasts as 95.8 Capital FM from Leicester Square in Central London. The group also has a sister station on the medium wave frequency, known as Classic Gold Digital 1521. Local BBC radio is provided by BBC London 94.9. Large radio stations picked up by transmitters around Croydon are Kiss 100 and Magic 105.4 FM from Bauer Radio, Choice FM and Heart 106.2 from Global Radio, Virgin Radio from SMG and 102.2 Smooth Radio from Guardian Media Group.
The London Borough of Croydon is twinned with the municipality of Arnhem which is located in the east of the Netherlands. The city of Arnhem is one of the 10 largest cities in the Netherlands. They have been twinned since 1946 after both towns had suffered extensive bomb damage during the recently ended war. There is also a Guyanese link supported by the council.
London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow (IATA: LHR, ICAO: EGLL), located in the London Borough of Hillingdon, is the largest and busiest airport in the United Kingdom. It is the world's third busiest airport for passenger traffic and it handles the most international passenger traffic in the world. Heathrow is owned and operated by BAA, which also owns and operates six other UK airports. BAA is itself owned by an international consortium led by the Spanish Ferrovial Group. Heathrow is the primary hub of British Airways, bmi and Virgin Atlantic.
Located 12 NM (22 km; 14 mi) west of Central London, England, Heathrow originally was designed to have six runways in three pairs spaced approximately 120 degrees apart but now has just two parallel main runways running east-west and five terminals. The site covers 12.14 square kilometres (4.69 sq mi). Terminal 5 was officially opened by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II on 14 March 2008 and opened to passengers on 27 March 2008. Construction of Heathrow East, to replace Terminal 2 and The Queen's Building, began in 2008, and is expected to be completed by 2012. Terminals 3 and 4 will also be refurbished during this period. In November 2007 a consultation process began for the building of a new third runway and was controversially approved on 15th January 2009 by UK Government ministers.
Heathrow Airport has a CAA Public Use Aerodrome Licence (Number P527) that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction.
Heathrow is located 12 NM (22 km; 14 mi) west of central London, England, near the southern end of the London Borough of Hillingdon and in the now historic county of Middlesex. The airport stands on a parcel of land that was designated part of the London Metropolitan Green Belt. To the north, the airport is surrounded by the built-up areas of Harlington, Harmondsworth, Longford and Cranford.
To the east are Hounslow and Hatton, and to the south are East Bedfont and Stanwell. To the west, the M25 motorway separates the airport from Colnbrook in Berkshire.
The airport's location to the west of London, and the east-west orientation of its runways, means that airliners usually approach to land directly over the city. Other leading European airports, such as those at Madrid, Frankfurt and Paris, are located north or south of their cities, in order to minimise the overflying problem. Another disadvantage of the site is that it is low-lying, at 83 feet (25 m) above sea level, and can be prone to fog.
Heathrow is one of six airports serving the London area, along with Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Southend and City although only Heathrow and City Airports are located within Greater London.
Aviation at the location of what is now Heathrow Airport began during World War I, when the site was used as a military airfield. By the 1930s the airfield, then known as the Great Western Aerodrome, was privately owned by Fairey Aviation Company, and was used for aircraft assembly and testing. Commercial traffic used Croydon Airport, which was London's main airport at the time.
In 1943, Heathrow came under the control of the Ministry of Air, to be developed as a Royal Air Force transfer station. Construction of runways began in 1944, on land that was originally acquired from the vicar of Harmondsworth. The new airport was built by Wimpey Construction, and was named after the hamlet Heath Row, little more than a row of isolated cottages on Hounslow Heath frequented by highwaymen; which was demolished to make way for the airport, and which was located approximately where Terminal 3 now stands.
The Royal Air Force never made use of the airport, and following the end of World War II control was transferred to the Ministry of Civil Aviation on 1 January 1946. The first civil flight that day was to Buenos Aires, via Lisbon for refuelling. The official opening ceremony was performed on 25 March 1946 by Lord Winster, the Minister of Aviation. On 16 April a Panair Lockheed L-049 Constellation landed after a flight from Rio de Janeiro, the first aircraft of a foreign airline to land at Heathrow. The first BOAC scheduled flight departed for Australia on 28 May. This route was operated as a joint route with Qantas. The airport opened fully for civilian use on 31 May 1946, and by 1947 Heathrow had three runways, with three more under construction. These older runways, built for the piston-engined planes of that era, were each slightly longer than a mile in length, arranged in a 6-point star pattern to allow for all wind conditions.
In 1953, the first slab of the first modern runway was ceremonially placed by Queen Elizabeth II. She also opened the first permanent terminal building, the Europa Building (now known as Terminal 2), in 1955. On 1 April 1955, a new 38.8-metre (127 ft) control tower designed by Frederick Gibberd was opened, replacing the original RAF control tower.
The Oceanic Terminal (renamed as Terminal 3 in 1968) opened on 13 November 1961, to handle flight departures for long-haul routes. At this time the airport had a direct helicopter service from central London; there were also public viewing facilities and gardens on the roof of the Europa Building By the time Terminal 1 was opened in 1968, completing the cluster of buildings at the centre of the airport site, Heathrow was handling 14 million passengers annually.
The location of the original terminals in the centre of the site has since become a constraint to expansion. The decision to locate them there reflected an early assumption that airline passengers would not require extensive car parking, as air travel was then only affordable to the wealthy, who would often be chauffeur-driven.
In the late 1960s a 160 acres (0.65 km2) cargo terminal was built to the south of the southern runway, connected to Terminals 1, 2 and 3 by a tunnel.
In 1970, Terminal 3 was expanded with the addition of an arrivals building. Other facilities were also added, including the UK's first moving walkways. Heathrow's two main runways, 10L-28R and 10R-28L, were also extended to their current lengths in order to accommodate new large jets such as the Boeing 747. The other runways were closed to facilitate terminal expansions – except for Runway 23, which was preserved for crosswind landings until 2002.
In 1977, the London Underground Piccadilly Line was extended to Heathrow; connecting the airport with Central London in just under an hour. On 23 June 1998 Heathrow Express started operating, providing a direct rail service to London's Paddington station, via a specially-constructed line between the airport and the Great Western Main Line.
Continued growth in passenger numbers to 30 million annually by the early 1980s led to the need for more terminal space. Terminal 4 was constructed to the south of the southern runway, next to the existing cargo terminal, and away from the three older terminals. It was connected with Terminals 1, 2 and 3 by the already-existing Heathrow Cargo Tunnel. Terminal 4 was opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales in April 1986, and became the home for then newly-privatised British Airways.
In August 1982, the "Airport Spur" section of the M4 was opened to give the airport a direct link with the motorway and provide motorway access to airport users from as far away as the West Country and South Wales. Four years later, the M25 was completed as the London Orbital Motorway giving a direct motorway link to much of the rest of the country.
In 1987, the UK government privatised the British Airports Authority (now known as "BAA Limited") which controls Heathrow and six other UK airports.
During the 1980s and 1990s, since privatisation, BAA has expanded the proportion of terminal space allocated to retailing activities, and has invested in the development of retail activity. This has included expanding terminal areas to provide more shops and restaurants, and routing passengers through shopping areas, in order to maximise their exposure to retail offerings.
Heathrow Airport is used by over 90 airlines which fly to 170 destinations worldwide. The airport is the primary hub of British Airways, BMI and Virgin Atlantic.
Of Heathrow's 67 million annual passengers, 11% travel to UK destinations, 43% are short-haul international travellers, and 46% are long-haul. The busiest single destination in terms of passenger numbers is New York, with over 3.5 million passengers travelling between Heathrow and JFK / Newark airports in 2007. The airport has five passenger terminals (Terminals 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) and a cargo terminal. Terminal 5 opened to passengers on 27 March 2008 and will be fully completed with the opening of its second satellite building in 2010.
Originally, Heathrow had six runways, arranged in three pairs at different angles, with the passenger terminal in the centre. With growth in the required length for runways, Heathrow now has just two parallel runways running east-west. Runway 23, a short runway for use in strong south-westerly winds, was decommissioned in 2005 and now forms part of a taxiway.
In 2006, the new £105 million Pier 6 was completed at Heathrow's Terminal 3 in order to accommodate the Airbus A380 superjumbo, providing four new aircraft stands. Other modifications totalling in excess of £340 million have also been carried out across the airfield in readiness for the Airbus A380, and the newly opened Terminal 5 is also fully compatible with the A380. The first A380 test flight into Heathrow took place on 18 May 2006, but following delays to the aircraft's production, scheduled services did not commence from Heathrow until 18 March 2008, when Singapore Airlines flight SQ308 touched down from Singapore carrying 470 passengers, marking the first ever European commercial flight by the Airbus A380.
A new 87 metres (285 ft) high £50 million air traffic control tower entered service on 21 April 2007, and was officially opened on 13 June 2007 by Secretary of State for Transport Douglas Alexander.
Policing of the airport is the responsibility of the aviation security unit of the Metropolitan Police, although the army, including armoured vehicles of the Household Cavalry, has occasionally been deployed to the airport during periods of heightened security. Heathrow's reputation for thefts has led to it sometimes being referred to as 'Thiefrow'.
Heathrow Airport has Anglican, Catholic, Free Church, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Jewish chaplains. There is a multi-faith prayer room and counselling room in each terminal, in addition to St. George's Interdenominational Chapel which is located in an underground bunker adjacent to the old control tower, where Christian services take place. The chaplains organise and lead prayers at certain times in the prayer room. There is an Anglican Service every Tuesday and Wednesday, daily Catholic Mass and Free Church prayers in the chapel.
Heathrow airport has its own resident press corps, consisting of six photographers and one TV crew, serving all the major newspapers and television stations around the world.
Aircraft destined for Heathrow usually enter its airspace via one of four main 'reporting points': Bovingdon (BNN) over Hertfordshire, Lambourne (LAM) over Essex, Biggin Hill (BIG) over Bromley and Ockham (OCK) over Surrey. Each is defined by a VOR radio-navigational beacon. When the airport is busy, aircraft will orbit in the associated holds. These reporting points/holds lie respectively to the north-west, north-east, south-east and south-west of the London conurbation.
Air traffic controllers at Heathrow Approach Control (based in Swanwick, Hampshire) then guide the aircraft to their final approach, merging aircraft from the four holds into a single stream of traffic, sometimes as close as 2.5 nautical miles (4.6 km; 2.9 mi) apart. Considerable use is made of continuous descent approach techniques to minimise the environmental effects of incoming aircraft, particularly at night. Once an aircraft is established on its final approach, control is handed over to Heathrow Tower.
Because aircraft generate significantly more noise on departure than when landing, there is a preference for "westerly operations" during daytime operations. In this mode aircraft depart towards the west and approach from the east over London, thereby minimising the impact of noise on the most densely populated areas.
Heathrow's two runways generally operate in 'segregated mode' whereby arriving aircraft are allocated to one runway and departing aircraft to the other. To further reduce noise nuisance to people beneath the approach and departure routes, the use of runways 27R and 27L is swapped at 3 pm each day if the wind is from the west. When easterly landings are in progress there is no alternation; 09L remains the landing runway and 09R the departure runway due to the Cranford Agreement. Occasionally landings are allowed on the nominated departure runway, to help reduce airborne delays and to position landing aircraft closer to their terminal, thus reducing taxi times.
As BAA owns London's three major airports and therefore has a monopolistic position, the amount it is allowed to charge airlines to land aeroplanes at Heathrow is heavily regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Until 1 April 2003, the annual increase in landing charge per passenger was capped at inflation minus 3%. From 2003 to 2007, charges increased by inflation plus 6.5% per year, taking the fee to £9.28 per passenger in 2007. In March 2008, the CAA announced that the charge would be allowed to increase by 23.5% to £12.80 from 1 April 2008, and by inflation plus 7.5% for each of the following four years.
In addition, air traffic between Heathrow and the United States was strictly governed by the countries' bilateral Bermuda II treaty. The treaty originally allowed only British Airways, Pan Am, and TWA to fly from Heathrow to the US. In 1991 PAA and TWA sold their rights to United Airlines and American Airlines respectively, and Virgin Atlantic was added to the list of airlines allowed to operate on these routes. In 2002, American Airlines and British Airways announced plans to coordinate the scheduling of their trans-Atlantic routes but plans were dropped after the United States Department of Transportation made approval conditional on the granting of further access slots to Heathrow to other US airlines. American Airlines and British Airways considered the slots too valuable and dropped the plans. The Bermuda bilateral agreement conflicted with the Right of Establishment of the United Kingdom in terms of its membership in the EU, and as a consequence the UK was ordered to drop the agreement in 2004. A new "open skies" agreement was signed by the United States and the European Union on 30 April 2007, and came into effect on 30 March 2008.
Whilst the cost of landing at Heathrow is determined by the CAA and BAA, the allocation of landing slots to airlines is carried out by Airport Co-ordination Limited (ACL).
The operator of Heathrow, BAA, claims that Heathrow is the "world's busiest international airport", but it is only the world's third-busiest by total passenger traffic, after Atlanta-Hartsfield-Jackson and Chicago O'Hare, which are also international airports. However, Heathrow has the highest number of international passengers.
In 2007 Heathrow was the busiest airport in Europe in terms of total passenger traffic (13.6% more passengers than at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport and 25.6% more than at Frankfurt Airport), but it was third behind Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt in terms of plane movements (12.9% fewer landings and take offs than at Charles de Gaulle, and 2.2% fewer than at Frankfurt). Heathrow airport was fourth in terms of cargo traffic (after Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt and Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport).
Heathrow's facilities were originally designed to accommodate either 45 or 55 million passengers annually according to BAA (55 million the figure presented to the T5 Inquiry, 45 million the figure used for the consultation into the third runway). With numbers currently approaching 70 million the airport has become crowded and subject to delays, for which it has been criticised in recent years, and in 2007 the airport was voted the world's least favourite alongside Chicago O'Hare in a TripAdvisor survey. However, the opening of Terminal 5 in 2008 has relieved some pressure on terminal facilities, increasing the airport's terminal capacity to 90 million passengers a year.
With only two runways operating at over 98% of their capacity, Heathrow has little room for more flights, although the increasing use of larger aircraft such as the Airbus A380 will some increase in passenger numbers. It is difficult for existing airlines to obtain landing slots to enable them to increase their services from the airport, or for new airlines to start operations. In order to increase the number of flights, BAA has proposed using the existing two runways in 'mixed mode' whereby aircraft would be allowed to take-off and land on the same runway. This would increase the airport's capacity from its current 480,000 movements per year to as many as 550,000 according to British Airways CEO Willie Walsh. BAA has also proposed building a third runway to the north of the airport, which would significantly increase traffic capacity (see Future expansion below).
However with passenger traffic at Charles de Gaulle growing by 5.8% to 59.3 million during the 12 months to September 2007, compared with Heathrow's fall of 0.4% to 67.6 million during the same period, it is possible that CDG ---- with its four runways operating at only 73.5% capacity ---- could overtake Heathrow by 2010.
Terminal 1 was opened in 1968 and was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II in May 1969. In 2005, a substantial redesign and redevelopment of Terminal 1 was completed, which saw the opening of the new Eastern Extension, doubling the departure lounge in size and creating additional seating and retail space. Terminal 1 handles most of Heathrow's domestic and Irish routes along with some long haul routes and European routes.
Terminal 2 is Heathrow's oldest terminal and was opened as the Europa Building in 1955. Terminal 2, as well as the adjacent Queens Building, will be demolished in order to make way for the new Heathrow East Construction project opening in 2010.
Terminal 3 was opened as The Oceanic Terminal on 13 November 1961 to handle flight departures for long-haul routes. At this time the airport had a direct helicopter service to Central London from the gardens on the roof of the terminal building. The Oceanic Terminal was renamed as Terminal 3 in 1968 and was expanded in 1970 with the addition of an arrivals building. Other facilities were also added, including the UK's first moving walkways. In 2006, the new £105 million Pier 6 was completed in order to accommodate the Airbus A380 superjumbo; both Singapore Airlines and Emirates now operate regular flights from Terminal 3 using the Airbus A380.
Redevelopment of Terminal 3's forecourt by the addition of a new four lane drop-off area and a large pedestrianised plaza, complete with canopy to the front of the terminal building was completed in 2007; these improvements were intended to improve passengers' experiences, reduce traffic congestion and improve security. BAA also have plans for a £1bn upgrade of the rest of the terminal over the next ten years.
Terminal 4 is situated to the south of the southern runway next to the cargo terminal, and is connected to Terminals 1, 2 and 3 by the Heathrow Cargo Tunnel. Until 2008 it was used mainly by British Airways, but from 2009 will become the Heathrow base for airlines of the SkyTeam alliance.
Following the transfer of most of British Airways' flights to Terminal 5 during 2008, Terminal 4 is undergoing a £200m upgrade to enable it to accommodate 45 airlines and serve as the base for the SkyTeam alliance. The forecourt has been upgraded to reduce traffic congestion and improve security. An extended check-in area will open in late 2009, and piers and departure lounges are being renovated. Two new stands to accommodate the Airbus A380 are being constructed, and a new baggage system is being installed.
Terminal 5 is situated between the northern and southern runways at the western end of the Heathrow site, and was opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 14 March 2008 some nineteen years after its inception. The first two weeks of the terminal's operation were disrupted by a number of problems with the terminal's IT systems, coupled with insufficient testing and staff training, which caused over 500 flights to be cancelled.
Built at a cost of £4.3 billion, the new terminal consists of a four storey main terminal building (Concourse A) and two satellite buildings linked to the main terminal by an underground people mover transit system. The first satellite (Concourse B) includes dedicated aircraft stands for the Airbus A380; Concourse C is currently under construction and scheduled to open in 2010. In total, Terminal 5 has 60 aircraft stands and capacity for 30 million passengers annually. There are more than 100 shops and restaurants.
The transport network around the airport has been extended to cope with the increase in passenger numbers. A dedicated motorway spur has been built from the M25 between junctions 14 and 15 to the terminal, which includes a 3,800 space multi-storey car park. A more distant long-stay car park for business passengers will be linked to the terminal by a personal rapid transit system, which will open in 2009. New branches of both the Heathrow Express and the Underground's Piccadilly Line serve a new shared Heathrow Terminal 5 station.
In November 2005 BAA announced that after the opening of Terminal 5 in 2008, it planned to demolish Terminals 1 and 2 and the Queen's Building administrative centre between them, and replace them by a new Heathrow East terminal. The new terminal will provide an increase in capacity, being capable of handling 30 million people ---- five million fewer than currently use Terminals 1 and 2, although considerably more than the design capacity of the existing buildings. The plan envisages the complete realignment of piers more logically and the building of new ones on the now defunct cross-wind runway, in a site taking up roughly the same amount of space as Terminal 5. Planning permission was granted in May 2007 on condition that the project meets a number of 'green' targets.
The construction of new aircraft stands began in early 2009 to allow Terminal 2 to be demolished later in the year, enabling construction of the main terminal to begin. Originally planned to be completed by 2012 in time for the London Olympics, this is now unlikely. The entire project is set to cost £1-1.5bn.
See Expansion of London Heathrow Airport.
Heathrow is accessible via the nearby M4 motorway and A4 road (Terminals 1–3), the M25 motorway (Terminals 4 and 5), and the A30 road (Terminal 4). There are drop off and pick up areas at all terminals and short and long stay multi-storey car parks. Additionally, there are car parks (not run by BAA) just outside the airport, these are connected to the terminals by shuttle buses. Heathrow airport is also served by taxi services.
Four parallel tunnels under one of the runways connect the M4 motorway and the A4 road to Terminals 1–3. The two larger tunnels are each two lanes wide and are used for motorised traffic. The two smaller tunnels were originally reserved for pedestrians and bicycles; to increase traffic capacity the cycle lanes have been modified to each take a single lane of cars, although bicycles still have priority over cars. Pedestrian access to the smaller tunnels has been discontinued, with the free bus services being the alternative.
There are (mainly off-road) bicycle routes to some of the terminals. But despite its recent construction there are no cycle routes connecting to Terminal 5. Free bicycle parking places are available in car parks 1 and 1A.
In January 2009 the Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon announced that the UK government support the expansion of Heathrow by building a third runway (2200m) and sixth terminal building. This decision follows the 2003 white paper on the future of air transport in the UK, and a public consultation in November 2007. This was a controversial decision which met widespread opposition because of its greenhouse gas emissions, destruction of local communities, and noise and air pollution.
A plan to make Heathrow an international railway exchange has also been proposed with the potential construction of Heathrow Hub railway station.
Now that Terminal 5 is open, the allocation of airlines to terminals at Heathrow will change. The new arrangements will largely be based around which alliance each airline belongs to. The transfer process started in March 2008 and is expected to be completed over 26months.
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science, more commonly referred to as The London School of Economics or LSE, is a specialist college of the University of London in London, England. It was founded in 1895, and officially joined the federal University in 1900 as the Faculty of Economics, beginning to issue its degrees from 1902. Today it is regarded as one of the world's leading academic institutions and remains a specialist single-faculty constituent college of the University, the only such institution in Britain. Located on Houghton Street in Westminster, off the Aldwych and next to the Royal Courts of Justice and Temple Bar, it describes itself as "the world‘s leading social science institution for teaching and research". LSE also has the most international student body of any university in the world today.
The School is a member of the Russell Group, the European University Association, Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Community of European Management Schools and International Companies, The Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs and Universities UK as well as the Golden Triangle of British Universities, and most recently the 'G5 Group' of Britain's five leading universities.
The London School of Economics was founded in 1895 by Fabian Society members Sidney and Beatrice Webb, Graham Wallas, and George Bernard Shaw, with funding provided by private philanthropy, including a bequest of £20,000 from Henry Hunt Hutchinson to the Fabian Society. Supposedly the decision was made at a breakfast party on 4 August 1894. All believed in advancing socialist causes by reformist rather than revolutionary means, and the LSE was established to further the Fabian aim of bettering society, focusing on research on issues of poverty, inequality and related issues. This led the Fabians, and the LSE, to be one of the main influences on the UK Labour Party.
The school was founded with the initial intention of renewing the training of Britain's political and business elite, which seemed to be faltering due to inadequate teaching and research - the number of postgraduate students was dwarfed by those in other countries. A year before the founding, the British Association for the Advancement of Science pushed for the need to advance the systematic study of social sciences as well. In fact, Sidney and Beatrice Webb used the curriculum of the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (best known as Sciences Po), which covered the full-range of the social sciences, as part of their inspiration for molding the LSE's educational purpose. LSE was opened in October 1895 at No. 9 John Street, Adelphi, originally as a night-school to bring higher education to the working classes.
The school expanded rapidly and was moved along with its newly established library, the British Library of Political and Economic Science to No. 10 Adelphi Terrace in September 1896, continuing to expand through the next couple of years thanks to Shaw. In 1902, The Coefficients dining club was regularly meeting in the Library, and they effected the development of LSE along with the Fabians and the Suffragettes movement (who also first met at LSE). In 1900, the School became officially recognised as a Faculty of Economics within the much larger University of London in Bloomsbury, and began enrolling students for bachelor degrees and doctorates in the same year. At the same time, the LSE began expanding into other areas of social sciences, including, initially, geography (in 1902) and philosophy (in 1903), pioneering the study of international relations, as well as teaching history, law, psychology and sociology. By 1902, it was apparent the School had and would continue to outgrow its Adelphi Terrace location, and moved to its present campus in Clare Market off the Aldwych and aside Kingsway - not far from Whitehall, in 1902. The Old Building, which remains a significant office and classroom building, was opened on Houghton Street in 1922.
During these years and under the directorship of William Beveridge, future father of the welfare state and the National Health Service, LSE redefined the study of economics and the new conception of the study of economics as "a science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses" is looked to as the norm. LSE in this sense must be looked at as the father of modern economics studies. Under Beveridge, Friedrich Hayek was appointed as a professor and he brought about the ascendancy of the LSE through his famous debates with John Maynard Keynes.
In 1939, with the outbreak of the Second World War, LSE's Houghton Street campus became home to the Ministry for Economic Warfare, whilst following discussions between school Director, Carr-Saunders and Winston Churchill, it was agreed to temporarilly relocate the school to Cambridge, where it took over Peterhouse College. Initially for a period of a year, the beginning of the Blitz led to LSE's post at Cambridge to be lengthened, returning to London in 1945.
The famed Keynes-Hayek debates which occurred between Cambridge and the LSE still shapes the two major schools of economic thought today as nations still debate the merits of the welfare state versus an economy solely controlled by the market. LSE's influence upon modern economics is undeniable since it both formed the very basis for economic thought as well as shaped modern perception of free market economics. Hayek's works continue to influence the study of economics across the globe. At the other extreme, during these years Harold Joseph Laski, a professor of political science at the LSE was influential in British politics as an advocate of far left policies. Many renowned world leaders including John F. Kennedy (and his brother Robert F. Kennedy) studied under his guidance at the LSE.
While the LSE's initial reputation was that of a socialist-leaning institution, this had changed by the 1960s, with LSE Director Walter Adams fighting hard to remove LSE from its Fabian roots. This led to many student protests, which also involved Lionel Robbins, who had returned to LSE as chairman of governors, having been a member of staff for many years.
Anthony Giddens, the former director of the LSE, stands as the creator of the 'Third Way' followed by both Tony Blair (who unveiled the Fabian Window at LSE in 2005) and Bill Clinton. His policy created a balance between the traditional welfare state and the belief in total free market economics. This policy is being put into effect by governments all across the world as free market economies continue to deal with wealth inequalities and bettering the welfare of the general population.
Recently, the School has been active in British government proposals to introduce compulsory ID cards, researching into the associated costs of the scheme, and shifting public and government opinion on the issue. Also, whilst it affects its own students, the LSE was influential in bringing about the introduction of tuition fees for UK universities in 2006, and continues to campaign for higher funding through its membership of the G5 Group. In 2008, it also came under fire, along with the University of Cambridge, for its publishing of a list of 'soft' subjects which it considered inappropriate for entry to its undergraduate courses,. The institution is also popular with politicians and MPs to launch new policy, legislation and manifesto pledges, prominently with the launch of the Liberal Democrats Manifesto Conference under Nick Clegg on 12 January 2008.
There are many who have achieved in the world of politics, business or academia who can trace their success to the years they spent at the LSE. Inspired by tuition from academics who are often familiar faces, if not household names, LSE students take their first steps to greatness in the debating chambers, cafes, bars – and even occasionally in their seminar groups – during three or four years of studying.
Additionally, the top 10 employers of LSE graduates are principally accounting, investment banking, consultancy and law firms. Indeed, LSE is often known as the 'investment bank nursery' due to around 30% of graduates going into "banking, financial services and accountancy", according to LSE Careers Service official figures. LSE is often the most preferred university for employers in the private sector, financial services abroad and the City of London.
Over the years the LSE has continued to expand around Houghton Street. A recent fund-raising scheme, called the "Campaign for the LSE", which sought to raise £100 million, the LSE has purchased the former Public Trustee building at 24 Kingsway. This has been redeveloped into an ultra-modern educational building, to be known as the "New Academic Building" at a total cost of over £45 million, and has increased the campus space by 120,000 square feet. The £100 million was raised in November 2007, and the building opened for teaching in October 2008, with an official opening by Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on 5 November 2008.
The current Director of the school, Sir Howard Davies, was formerly Chairman of the Financial Services Authority, Controller of the Audit Commission, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry and Deputy Governor of the Bank of England. Following his first term in office, he has been reappointed as of June 2007, and will serve until 2013.
The LSE is a single faculty institution, dedicated solely to the study and research of social sciences, and is the only university in the United Kingdom to do so. The School offers over 120 MSc programmes, 2 MPA programmes, an LLM, 30 BSc programmes, an LLB and 4 BA programmes (including International History and Geography). LSE is only one of two British universities to teach BSc Economic History (the other being Cambridge). Other subjects pioneered by LSE include anthropology, criminology, international relations, social psychology and sociology. Courses are taught in over thirty research centres and nineteen departments, plus the Language Centre. Among the many research institutes are the Asia Research Centre, Mannheim Centre for Criminology & Criminal Justice, Darwin@LSE, Financial Markets Group (FMG) founded by Mervyn King, Centre for Economic Performance, European Institute, Gender Institute and Migration Studies Unit (MSU).
Since these programmes are all within the social sciences they closely resemble each other, and undergraduate students are made to take at least one course module in a subject outside of their degree for their first and second years of study, promoting a broader education of the social sciences. Many also engage in a practice known as "auditing", where students attend lectures by professors whose classes they are not formally enrolled in for pleasure or wider learning. At undergraduate level, certain departments are very small (90 students across three years of study), ensuring small lecture sizes, allowing a more hands-on approach than other institutions.
There is immensely fierce competition for entry to the LSE, indeed it has more applicants per place than the "Oxbridge" colleges, with the same typical entry requirements of three A's at A-Level. It approximately has 17 applicants for every place. Some courses, including economics, politics, law, management sciences, are significantly higher than this still, with 20+ applicants per place. Thus admissions for undergradute study of politics and economics hover around 3-4 percent (the Department of Government and the Department of Economics respectively). In 2008, the approximate UCAS points score for undergraduate entry at the LSE was 484 (equivalent to AAAA at A-level). The LSE is one of only three university institutions in Britain who never enter the UCAS clearing system each August, the other two being Oxford and Cambridge. LSE, like the vast majority of universities in the UK (Oxford and Cambridge being notable exceptions), does not employ an interview system, and so selects its students purely on the basis of exam results. Like MIT, LSE does not hand out sports scholarships. LSE also has one of the highest fee charges in the world for international and postgraduate students, with some courses costing in excess of £20,000.
In recent years, the LSE has been one of many top British universities which has come under fire for its supposedly high acceptance and intake of students from British "public schools". Whilst such claims continue to be pressed in the media, a report published by the Independent Schools Council in 2006, the governing organisation of all British independent schools, claims that students from private schools have only a 29.69% chance of gaining a place at the LSE - the lowest acceptance rate of any Russell Group institution.
Entrance standards are also high for postgraduate students (particularly for those seeking external funding), who are normally required to have (for taught Master's courses) a First Class or (at the very least) Upper Second Class UK honours degree, or its overseas equivalent.
The process of postgraduate admissions to the LSE is conducted on a rolling basis, as opposed to a deadline system. Applications are accepted from mid-October and the evaluation process begins in mid-November. Applications are considered as they "roll in" and the candidate can receive one of three outcomes; successful (acceptance), unsuccessful (rejection), or conditional (placement on a waiting-list/interim decision). The admissions process continues without any set deadline until all available places have been allocated. This process does give a higher probability of acceptance for early applications over late ones. The consideration process ends once the places have been allocated, meaning that all applications in queue for consideration are returned with the notification that since the programme is full, neither an acceptance nor rejection can be given. The applications success rate for programmes vary by their size, although most of the major courses have an intake of approximately 5%-10% of applicants. As part of the admissions process, LSE admissions officers often meet with prospective candidates at university fairs. Plans are afoot to increase the number of places offered, by expansion allowed by the purchase of additional faculty buildings.
LSE also offers the TRIUM Global Executive MBA programme jointly with Stern School of Business of New York University and HEC School of Management, Paris. It is divided into six modules held in five international business locations over a 16-month period. Whitefield Consulting Worldwide, a global MBA consultancy, has ranked the TRIUM Executive MBA programme as second worldwide. The Financial Times' most recent rankings (2007) of executive MBA programmes also placed TRIUM as second worldwide.
The LSE Summer School was established in 1989 and has expanded extensively with more than 3,000 participants in 2006, a similar number to the university's full-time undergraduate programme. The Summer School offers over 50 subjects based on regular undergraduate courses at the LSE from the Accounting, Finance, Law, International Relations and Management departments, and takes place over two sessions of three weeks each, in July and August each year. LSE also offers the LSE-PKU Summer School in collaboration with Peking University. Courses from both Summer Schools can be used as credit against other qualifications, and some courses can be taken as part of a conditional offer for LSE Masters programmes. In 2007 the Summer School accepted students from over 100 countries, including from some of the top colleges and universities in the world, as well as professionals from several national banks and major financial institutions. As well as the courses, accommodation in LSE halls of residence is available, and the Summer School provides a full social programme including guest lectures, receptions and the Crush! nightclub. The Summer School expects to expand further in the future, particularly with the LSE's acquisition of the New Academic Building.
The academic year is divided into three terms. Michaelmas Term lasts ten weeks from October to December; Lent Term lasting ten weeks from January to March; and Summer Term lasting ten weeks from April to July. Within Michaelmas Term, the School officially commences on a Thursday, but with academic studies commencing the following Monday, usually around the 6-10 October each year. All other terms begin their academic week on a Monday. Freshers Week is held in the first week of October each year, though in recent years this has spilled over into the first week of academic teaching, creating Freshers' Fortnight. In 2008, the Freshers' Fortnight was replaced by a Festival held over two weeks.
Unlike the majority of British universities, the School has not introduced semesters into its timetabling, instead continuing to use terms to denote splits in courses.
There are nearly 7,800 full-time students and around 800 part-time students at the university. Of these, 25% come from the United Kingdom, 18% from other European Union countries, and 57% from more than 150 other countries making it the most international academic institution in the world. At one time, LSE had more countries represented by students than the UN.
The LSE is rare in British universities in that almost 64% of students are postgraduates, an unusually high proportion in comparison with other British institutions, meaning that undergraduates are in the minority. Postgraduates are divided between Taught-Masters (MSc, MPA, LLM) and Research students (MPhil, PhD). There is approximately an equal split between genders with 51% male and 49% female students.
The LSE has its own Students' Union, the LSESU, which is affiliated with the National Union of Students and the National Postgraduate Committee as well as University of London Union. The SU is often regarded as the most politically active in Britain - a reputation it has held since the well documented LSE student riots in 1966-67 and 1968-69, which made international headlines, and its links with the political, economic and business world give it great influence to debate and rally on major issues, both campus related and internationally.
The Union is responsible for the organisation and undertaking of entertainment events and student societies, as well as student welfare and issues regarding accommodation and other matters. Recently, the Union has been responsible for the hosting of the inaugural Freshers’ Ball in Leicester Square, raising funds for RAG (Raising and Giving), which aims to raise an annual fund to support charities and organisations across the world. In various forms the RAG Week has been operating since 1980, when it was started by then Student Union Entertainments Officer and now New Zealand MP Tim Barnett, RAG Week held every Lent Term involves a host of events from hikes to Paris, abseiling off the Old Building and skydiving all to raise money, whilst the Global Week – the biggest event of its kind in Europe, celebrates the diversity of LSE’s students every Summer Term.
The Media Group, consists of the weekly student newspaper, The Beaver, Pulse! radio station (relaunched in October 2007), LooSE Television, which was incorporated in 2005, the LSE’s own television station, (responsible for filming and streaming public lectures, as well as publicity films and election results,) and the Clare Market Review a journal which is currently in the process of reinvention. Students also get access the The London Student, the largest student publication in Europe, which is published by the University of London.
Affiliated with the LSESU, the LSE Athletics Union is the body responsible for all sporting activity within the university. It is a member of the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS). In distinction to the 'blues' awarded for sporting excellence at Oxford and Cambridge, London's outstanding athletes are awarded 'purples'.
The LSE is the only university in the country which retains a weekly Union General Meeting, as opposed to an annual gathering, where motions are discussed and debated. As part of the University of London, students at the LSE are also affiliated with the University of London Union (ULU) which is situated on Malet Street in Bloomsbury.
The current Union General Secretary for the 2008-09 academic session is Aled Dilwyn Fisher.
The LSE moved to its present day central London campus at Clare Market and Houghton Street in 1902 . In 1920, King George V laid the foundation stone of the Old Building, the principal building of the LSE. The School has gradually increased its ownership of adjacent buildings, creating an almost continuous campus between Kingsway and the Royal Courts of Justice. Today, the campus consists approximately thirty buildings, connections between which have been established on an ad-hoc basis with often confusing results. The floor levels of buildings do not always equate, leading to an individual being on a different "floor" after passing through a hallway. The campus also has a series of extension bridges between buildings created high on the upper floors to connect several buildings. The campus has often been referred to as an M.C. Escher maze. The school is also noted by its numerous statues, either animals or surrealist, often donated by alumni.
The LSE campus went through a renewal under former Director Anthony Giddens (1996-2003), with the redevelopment of Connaught and Clement Houses on the Aldwych, and the purchase of buildings including the George IV public house, which had been nestled amongst the campus for decades, but is now owned by the LSE. Recent projects have included the £35 million renovation of the Lionel Robbins Building, which houses the British Library of Political and Economic Science, LSE's Library and a brand new Student Services Centre in the Old Building as well as the LSE Garrick on the junction of Houghton Street and Aldwych.
Currently, the School is about to complete work on the former Public Trust Building on Kingsway, which was purchased by the LSE in 2005. Opening in June 2008, the Lincoln's Inn Fields Building, will become one of the most environmentally friendly university buildings in the UK. With an entrance overlooking Lincoln's Fields, the new space will dramatically increase the size of the campus, incorporating four new lecture theatres, the Departments of Management and Law, computer and study facilities, meeting places and a huge glass atrium in the centre of the building, as well as a roof terrace with spectacular views over Covent Garden and the Aldwych, and The City of London.
The British Library of Political and Economic Science (BLPES) is currently the world's largest library solely dedicated to the social sciences, containing over 4.7 million volumes on its shelves. This also makes it the second largest single entity library in Britain, after the British Library at King's Cross. Other buildings of note include the Peacock Theatre, the School's main lecture theatre, seating 999 persons, which by night serves as the West End base of Sadler's Wells. The venue is a member of the Society of London Theatre, and has hosted many dance, musical and dramatic productions, as well as serving as the base for many of the LSE' public lectures and discussions.
The LSE is famous for its public lectures programme, organised by the LSE Events office which is open to students, alumni and the general public. These weekly lectures are regularly given by prominent national and international speakers including ambassadors, authors, CEOs, Members of Parliament, leading professors and heads of state. Recent speakers have included Gordon Brown MP, David Cameron MP, Kevin Rudd, Bill Clinton, George Osborne MP, Lord Stern, Cherie Booth, Hilary Benn MP, George Soros, Mary McAleese, Archbishop Rowan Williams, Alan Greenspan, John Major, Baroness Thatcher, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jens Lehmann, Kofi Annan, Tony Blair MP, Gerhard Schroeder, Ben Bernanke, John Lewis Gaddis, Joseph Meegan, Costas Simitis, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Lee Hsien Loong, Milton Friedman, Jeffrey Sachs, Vicente Fox and Nelson Mandela.
The LSE has also introduced LSE Live, which is a series of public lectures that are broadcast live over the internet, as well as being open to the LSE community, and occasionally to the general public. Introduced in 2008, the series has seen many prominent speakers such as George Soros, Thomas L. Friedman, Fareed Zakaria and most recently, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States.
The LSE also hosts many concerts and plays, with We Are Scientists, Dr. Karl Kennedy and Tim Westwood performing along with numerous lunchtime classical music recitals.
Accommodation for students is centred in and around central London, consisting ten residential facilities owned and operated by the LSE (with both dormitories and apartments) and Lilian Knowles, operated by Shaftesbury Student Housing. Together, these residences accommodate over 3,400 students. In addition, there are also eight intercollegiate halls shared with other constituent colleges of the University of London, accommodating approximately 25% of the School's first year intake.
The LSE guarantees housing to all first-year undergraduate students, regardless of where their present address may be (i.e. - already living in London). Many postgraduates are also catered for, with specific accommodation set aside for their needs. None of the residences are at the Houghton Street campus - the closest is at Grosvenor House, within a five minute walk, while the farthest residences (Nutford and Butler's Wharf) are forty-five minutes away by Tube or bus. Accommodation is offered on a random basis within quotas set out for each hall, but in each residence there will be a mixture of students; home and overseas, male and female, undergraduate and postgraduate. New undergraduate students (including General Course students) will occupy about 36% of all spaces. Postgraduates take approximately 56% of spaces in LSE halls and continuing students about 8%. Accommodation is offered according to two letting periods - 31 weeks and 40 weeks, the latter including Christmas and Easter breaks at the end of Michaelmas and Lent Terms.
The largest residence, Bankside opened in 1996 and accommodates 617 students across eight floors overlooking the River Thames and located behind the popular Tate Modern art gallery on the south bank of the River. High Holborn, approximately 10 minutes from campus was opened in 1995 and remains the second largest residence. Other accommodation is located well for London's attractions and facilities - Butler's Wharf is situated next to Tower Bridge, Rosebery in the bustling borough of Islington and near Salder's Wells and Carr-Saunders Hall, named after the LSE professor is approximately 5 minutes from Telecom Tower in the heart of Fitzrovia.
Since 2005, the School has opened three new residences to provide accommodation for all first year students. Lilian Knowles, independently operated, is home for approximately 360 students and opened in 2006. Planning permission was sought to convert Nortumberland House, on Northumberland Avenue into a new residence on 2 June 2005, and the accommodation opened to students in October 2006.
Located in the heart of London, one minute walk from Trafalgar Square, and between the Strand and Thames Embankment, Northumberland House is a Grade II listed building, (formerly a Victorian grand hotel and lately government offices). It is close to the main strip of the West End theatres and five minutes from Picadilly Circus, Leicster Square, Covent Garden and Oxford Circus.
The closest residence to the Houghton Street campus (not more than 5 minutes walk) is reserved for postgraduate students and is located on the eastern side of Drury Lane at the crossroads of Great Queen Street and Long Acre. Grosvenor House, converted from a Victorian office building, opened in September 2005. The residence is unique in that all of its 169 rooms are small, self-contained studios, with private toilet and shower facilities and a mini-kitchen. Its central West End location, two minutes from Covent Garden Piazza makes it popular for London's Theatreland. Oxford Street, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square are only a short walk away. Further postgraduate accommodation is provided by Sidney Webb House accommodating almost 450 students (with some undergraduates), which is located near Borough Market, approximately a 35-minute walk from the School.
There are also eight intercollegiate halls.
The main library of the LSE is the British Library of Political and Economic Science (BLPES), which is the world's largest library devoted to the social and political sciences. Founded in 1896, it has been the national social science library of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth and all its collections have been recognised for their outstanding national and international importance and awarded 'Designation' status by the Museums Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).
BLPES responds to around 6,500 visits from students and staff each day. In addition, it provides a specialist international research collection, serving over 12,000 registered external users each year.
The Shaw Library, housed in an impressive room in the Old Building contains the university's collection of fiction and general readings for leisure and entertainment. The Fabian Window is also located within the library, having been unveiled by Tony Blair in 2003.
Additionally, students are permitted to use the libraries of any other University of London college, and the extensive facilities at Senate House Library, situated in Russell Square.
The latest national Research Assessment Exercise (RAE 2008) sponsored by the UK government, ranks the LSE as joint-second (with Oxford) by grade point average across the fourteen units of assessment it submitted. The RAE results also rank the LSE as the UK's top university in Anthropology, Economics, Politics, Law, Social Policy and European Studies. The LSE, in various leading Newspaper University guides, is often ranked No.1 in the UK for the Study of Politics (correlating to the LSE's world leading reputation in both Economic and Political Science). The Independent Newspaper placed LSE first in the country for its research, on the basis that 35% of its faculty were judged to be doing world leading work, compared to 32% for both Oxford and Cambridge respectively (The Independent, December 18, 2008). Over 68% of research was given a 4* (world leading) or 3* (internationally excellent) grading, whilst the economics department was the strongest department of any mainstream subject in the country.
In two of the three major league tables for British universities (The Times and Sunday Times), the LSE is ranked second in the strength of its research ratings, behind only Cambridge. Additionally, the LSE submitted 97% of academic staff for assessment, more than any other university. The LSE ranks 1st amongst the colleges of the University of London federation.
In the 2007 THES - QS World University Rankings, LSE was ranked "3rd in the world" after Harvard and Berkeley for the social sciences (3rd in 2006, 2nd in 2005 and 2004), "26th in the world" for arts and humanities (19th in 2006, 9th in 2005, 10th in 2004). The study of social, economic and political problems covers not only the UK and European Union, but also countries of every continent. From its foundation LSE has aimed to be a laboratory of the social sciences, a place where ideas are developed, analysed, evaluated and disseminated around the globe... LSE has an outstanding reputation for academic excellence.
In 2007, the MSc Management programme was ranked 2nd in the world by the Financial Times' European Masters Ranking (8th in 2006, 4th in 2005) and the TRIUM Executive MBA offered in conjunction with New York University's Stern School of Business and HEC Paris was ranked 2nd in the world by the 2007 Financial Times EMBA Ranking.
Furthermore, the LSE's Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method is highly renowned, which is mirrored in the rankings of Blackwell's Philosophical Gourmet Report. It is ranked 1st in the world for philosophy of social science and joint 2nd in the world for philosophy of science, as well as joint 3rd for 'Decision, Rational Choice, and Game Theory'. Other celebrated bachelor degrees include Economic History, International Relations (both first to be introduced as degrees by LSE), Economics (ranked 1st in the world), Political Science (1st in UK and widely accepted as a world leader in Academic, Legislative and Coporate cirlces) Politics (fluctating rank between 1st and 2nd in the UK) Actuarial Science, International History, Business Mathematics and Statistics, Management, Management Sciences, Sociology and Social Psychology.
In the 2009 Good University Guide, the LSE came 1st in the UK for Accounting and Finance, Business Studies, Economics and Social Policy; 2nd for Geography, Anthropology and Politics; 4th for History and Philosophy; 5th for Law; 7th for Sociology and 8th for Mathematics.
The LSE ranked 3rd overall in the Sunday Times University Guide's cumulative table over ten years of study (1997-2007).
The LSE has an 'international reputation that in this country only Oxbridge can beat'.. The LSE is widely and globally accepted as being the most prestigious social science Institution in the world. It is considered, in professional circles, to be the best Institution in the World for the study of the disciplines that pertain to the social sciences.
In 2008, 2006 and 2005 LSE failed to make the top 200 in the ARWU (Academic Ranking of World Universities), although it was ranked 151 in 2007 . According to the methodology used to rank universities in a world wide basis, LSE is discriminated because it is a university that specializes on particular subjects and does not cover the whole range of disciplines like many other universities do.
The dispute also concerned the question of the economist's role, and whether this should be as a detached expert or a practical adviser. For LSE and the historical economists, economic theory's application was of greater significance than economic theory itself.LSE and Cambridge economists worked jointly in the 1920s - for example, the London and Cambridge Economic Service - but the 1930s brought a return to the dispute as LSE and Cambridge argued over the solution to the economic depression.
LSE's Robbins and Hayek, and Cambridge's Keynes were chief figures in the intellectual disagreement between the institutions. The controversy widened from deflation versus demand management as a solution to the economic problems of the day, to broader conceptions of economics and macroeconomics. Robbins and Hayek's views were based on the Austrian School of Economics with its emphasis on free trade and anti-interventionism, an approach Robbins (but not Hayek) later acknowledged as inappropriate to the timing and circumstances of the 1930s economic depression.
Keynes and Cambridge's policies became standard practice in the 1930s onwards. With the growth of the influence of Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics, however, it could be said that many of the LSE's liberal ideas have influenced much of modern liberal economics. This is in large part due to the common influence on both Schools of Friedrich Hayek, who moved to the Chicago School of Economics after he left LSE.
The measure of the validity of Hayek's argumentis the growth of international free trade organisations and agreements such as those achieved in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) rounds (later to become the World Trade Organisation), which have as their goal the promotion of these policies in order to avoid the repetition of the globally sub-optimal reaction that took place in the 1930s, as advocated by Cambridge at the time.
Beyond the great academic contributions, the general work of the university and its graduates continues to have a large impact on the field of economics.
LSE has a long list of alumni and former staff spanning many walks of life from international politics, business, law and finance to authors, musicians, actors and internationally recognised academics. Among them are sixteen Nobel Prize winners in Economics, Peace and Literature. Most recently, this list was boosted in 2008 by the awarding of the Nobel Prize for Economics to Paul Krugman.
LSE alumni include forty-four international heads of state or heads of government, including seven current heads of state or government: Taro Aso of Japan, Mwai Kibaki of Kenya, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Anote Tong of Kiribati, Sergei Stanishev of Bulgaria and Óscar Arias of Costa Rica, the Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and President John Atta-Mills, of Ghana.
Other notable former heads of state or government include Romano Prodi of Italy, Marek Belka (Prime Minister of Poland, 2004-2005), Sher Bahadur Deuba (Prime Minister of Nepal, 1995-1997, 2001-2002, 2004-2005), Heinrich Brüning (Chancellor of Germany, 1930-1932), Sri K. R. Narayanan (President of India, 1997-2002), Percival Patterson (Prime Minister of Jamaica, 1992-2006), Constantine Simitis (Prime Minister of Greece, 1996-2004) and Pierre Trudeau and Kim Campbell, former Prime Ministers of Canada, 1968-1979/1980-1984 and 1993 respectively, Moshe Sharett, Lee Kuan Yew and Jomo Kenyatta also attended the LSE. Additionally, former heads of state or government in a further twenty-three countries, including Jamaica, Poland, Estonia, Nepal, Fiji, Peru, India, Mauritius and Greece have studied at the LSE.
In addition, John F. Kennedy, President of the United States (1961-1963) attended with his brothers Joseph and Bobby, whilst Lord Attlee, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1945-1951) taught at the School.
Twenty-nine current British Members of Parliament, including Ed Miliband and Yvette Cooper, both members of the current Cabinet are alumni of the LSE. Former Cabinet minister, Ruth Kelly and forty-five current peers of the House of Lords also attended the School, including Lord Stern who is current IG Patel Chair. Notable British MPs who were educated at LSE include Margaret Hodge, Edwina Currie, Baronness Virginia Bottomley and Frank Dobson.
Five members of US President Barack Obama's administration - Budget Director Peter Orszag, Pete Rouse (Senior Advisor), Mona Sutphen (Deputy Chief of Staff), Paul Volcker (Head of Economic Recovery Advisory Board) and Jason Furman are all graduates of the School, whilst Larry Summers (Head of the White House's National Economic Council) taught at the School. The LSE currently has more graduates represented than any other university bar Harvard.
The present Foreign Minister of China Mr. Yang Jie Chi is a LSE Alumnus. The Ministers for Foreign Affairs for both Norway and Finland are former PhD students of LSE. Secretary of Defense of Indonesia, Juwono Soedarsono is also a LSE PhD graduate. In the world of fiction, LSE's most prominent alumni is President Josiah Bartlet (played by Martin Sheen) from TV's 'The West Wing', a nobel prize winner in the field of Economics who claims that he was almost ejected from the school for authoring a paper advocating the deregulation of far east trade barriers (Series 1, Episode 9!).
Often cited as the breeding ground for The City, the LSE has produced many businessmen and financiers over the years.
The current Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, and a further five graduates of the LSE (Andrew Sentance, Tim Besley, Chief Economist Charles Bean, Deputy Governor Rachel Lomax and external member David Blanchflower) now sit on the Monetary Policy Committee which determines interest rates, manages inflation.
Several billionaires including Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of easygroup, .Lord Saatchi, George Soros, Robert Kaplan, Michael S. Jeffries, Sir Gordon Brunton, Richard Nesbitt all studied at the LSE. Nick Varney, CEO of Merlin Entertainments, the world's second largest attractions group and the current Chief Executive of the London Stock Exchange Clara Furse are both graduates of the School. The first Governor of Australia's central bank Nugget Coombs, Syed Ali Raza, President and Chairman of the Bank of Pakistan and the international banker and statesman David Rockefeller (whose family, along with the Rockefeller Foundation, financially supported the institution in the postwar period) also attended and finally one of the biggest investors in the Indian stock market, Anirudh Rao presently managing the Shah International mutual funds, ranked among the top 10 Indian mutual funds.
Sir Mick Jagger, frontman of The Rolling Stones, attended the school but dropped out to pursue his music career, naturalist Sir David Attenborough, Academy Award nominated producer Frederick M. Zollo, UK hiphop, grime artist and actor in Adulthood and Kidulthood Femi Oyeniran and British actress Jaime Murray all attended the School. Other alumni include Edward R. Pressman, renowned historian David Starkey, Jules O'Riordan, Loyd Grossman, Robert Kilroy-Silk, Kirsty Lang, Barbara Serra, Martin Lewis, Robert Elms, Rod Liddle, Val Venis, Josh Chetwynd, Keith Murdoch, BBC Chief Washington Correspondent Justin Webb, James Floyd and Mark Urban. Monica Lewinsky graduated from the School in 2006, whilst former Big Brother contestant Michael Cheshire and Icelandic singer and actress Felicia Jensen currently attend the School. Author China Miéville got a PhD from the LSE. Chad Hugo, one half of music producing duo The Neptunes and N*E*R*D is due to commence a PhD in Econometrics from October 2009.
Cherie Booth QC, the wife of former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, received her LLB from the LSE, whilst Baron Grabiner stepped down as Chair of the Court in December 2007. Sir Charles Webster the founder of the United Nations is also an LSE graduate, as are Ian Johnston Chief Constable of British Transport Police, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Chief architect of Indian constitution, Makhdoom Ali Khan Barrister Lincoln's Inn, former Attorney General of Pakistan and ex-offico Chairman Pakistan Bar Council, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Anthony Kennedy, International Court of Justice president Rosalyn Higgins, and International Court of Justice judges Manfred Lachs and Sir Christopher Greenwood.
Shami Chakrabarti, the current Director of Liberty and the renowned barrister and former Indian cabinet minister A.K.Sen were also scholars at the school.
The Philosophy Department was founded by Sir Karl Popper and has served as a place of study and teaching for well-known philosophers of science such as Paul Feyerabend and Imre Lakatos. Nancy Cartwright, one of the most eminent philosophers of science, is currently a professor in the Department. Two of the top 100 richest billionaires in the world, George Soros and Spiro Latsis, studied philosophy under Popper and Lakatos respectively.
Fictional Prime Minister of Great Britain and Minister for Administrative Affairs, James Hacker, studied economics at the LSE in the critically acclaimed Yes Minister and Yes, Prime Minister television series, as did fictional US president Jed Bartlet from NBC's acclaimed television series The West Wing. The updated biography of literary superspy James Bond following the release of Casino Royale (2006) states that his father, Andrew Bond, attended LSE also. Bokonon or Lionel Boyd Johnson, a religious leader in Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle attended the LSE, only for his education to be cut short by World War I.
Recent press reports have identified the LSE as part of a new group of universities which has started to act as a self-conscious elite lobby and pressure group: known commonly as the 'G5'. According to the Times Higher Education Supplement (THES), the five are the LSE, Imperial College London, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and University College London, and it describes them as the "super-elite" (as all five are already members of the elite Russell Group).
The 'G5' have begun to meet regularly and formally to plan their own path through the upheavals that are currently transforming British higher education, and to lobby for their own particular interests in maintaining the standards at the sharp end of tertiary education in the UK.
These five colleges have been noted to share the following attributes which appear to have been the common binding factors: strong research outputs, high teaching ratings, many famous names in public life, a major impact on global affairs and policy, and big international standing in academia. They also have some of the most influential and active student unions, with the overall University of London Student Union standing out for notable activism against successive governments, ranging from the 1968 storming of Downing Street, to recent protests over the War on Iraq and student "top-up" fees.
The LSE is also member of a new group known as the Golden Triangle, made up of Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, LSE, UCL and KCL. The last three are each notable colleges of the University of London (with Imperial gaining independence from the University of London in 2007), and are often regarded as universities in their own right. All have made progress towards gaining the right to award their own degrees.
As a member of the federal University of London, LSE has a central Chancellor, The Princess Royal who acts for the central university.
However, unlike other British universities and institutions, the LSE itself is not headed by the typical model of a having a ceremonial Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor who is responsible for the running of the university.
Instead, there is a single Director, responsible solely for the running of the School with a Board of Trustees and the Court of Governors, which is more similar to a corporation. The Director and Pro-Directors are nominated by Council and appointed formally by Court, whose additional powers are now limited to these appointments and a few others, including some lay members of Council.
The present Chairman of the Court of Governors is Irishman Peter Sutherland, the former Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, who replaced Lord Grabiner of Aldwych in December 2007. Sir Anthony Battishill is Vice-Chair. Amongst the Court of Governors, there are many internationally recognised figures including Cherie Booth, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and Lord Saatchi.
The London School of Economics and Political Science awards a range of academic degrees spanning bachelor's, master's and PhD degrees. The postnominals awarded are the degree abbreviations used commonly among British universities.
LSE does not award annual honorary degrees in common with other universities. In its 113-year history, the School has awarded fifteen honorary doctorates to established figures such as Nelson Mandela (Doctor of Science; Economics).
From 1902, following its inception to the University of London, and up until 2007, degrees were awarded by the federal university, that is from Lond. (Londiniensis) as common with all other colleges of the University, for example BSc London. This system was changed in 2007 in order to enable some colleges to award their own degrees. The LSE was granted the power, for the first time to begin awarding its own degrees from June 2008. Students graduating from 2008 onwards may choose instead receive a degree from the LSE, rather than London, e.g. - BSc London School of Economics and Political Science believed to be solely abbreviated to BSc LSE for ease of use.
In a statement from Director Sir Howard Davies, it was announced that while the LSE, UCL and KCL have decided to remain within the University of London for the time-being, students entering from September 2007 onwards would receive these new degrees. Those graduating in 2008 will be offered the chance to receive either a University of London degree or an LSE degree. The regulations of the University of London were amended to allow the colleges to award degrees in their own right.
As part of the decision, the LSE will begin to use its own formal academic wear (gowns etc.) and issue its own certificates.
There has been a mixed debate on the new format for awarding degrees, especially within the LSE's Students' Union. Whilst some agree that it undermines the membership and clout of London degrees, especially for other constituent institutions of the University of London, the decision for the LSE to award its own degrees has been met with great praise from students.
The LSE logo is a red square featuring the letters LSE. The full logo contains this image alongside the full wording The London School of Economics and Political Science in black lettering to the right of the image. This logo is used throughout the School, in conjunction with the coat of arms where there is a specific historical or ceremonial requirement.
The committee decided on the Beaver for its foresight, constructiveness and determined and industrious behaviour. In 1925 a carved wooden beaver presented by four professors was officially named 'Felix Q' and enrolled as an honorary student. Since then the Beaver has been one of the most well loved characters amongst students at LSE with the student newspaper pertinently named after him.
The LSE is situated in the City of Westminster between Covent Garden, Aldwych and Temple Bar, bordering the City of London. It resides adjacent to the Royal Courts of Justice, Lincoln's Inn and Kingsway, in what used to be Clare Market. The School is inside the central London Congestion Charging zone.
In the American TV show The West Wing, President Josiah Edward "Jed" Bartlet - portrayed by Martin Sheen - earned his Masters and PhD in Economics from the London School of Economics.
In the British sitcom Yes Minister and Yes Prime Minister, Prime Minister Jim Hacker is an LSE alumnus.
In the BBC drama Spooks, broadcast on 17 November 2008, lead character Alexis Meynall, a City investment banker remarks of his time at LSE, relating to the School's socialist history and drawing on the assumption LSE is 'the City's nursery'.
In the English edition of the Asterix comic book Obelix and Co., the character Caius Preposturous is said to have attended the Latin School of Economics, the L,S,and E in bold to show that it is a parody on LSE.