Roman Britain from the Air TV - Lisa Hilton TV - Michael Buerk TV - Paul Foot - Dan Snow TV - The Great Smog: Winter of ’52 TV - Seconds from Disaster: King’s Cross Fire TV - Wartime Crime TV - The Big Freeze: Winter ’63 TV - Benjamin Disraeli - John Milton - Percy French - Patrick Galvin - W F Hargreaves - James Joyce - Philip Larkin - William Morris - Adam Curtis TV - Enslaved with Samuel L Jackson TV - Once Upon a Time in Londongrad TV - David Olusoga TV - The Great Stink of 1858 TV -
In 43 A.D. the Romans landed an invasion army of 40,000 men on the Kent coast. Just four years later they started work on a new town they called Londinium. Roman Britain from the Air, ITV 2014
London is in meltdown. Once a laughable minority, the Puritans have swept into power. Lisa Hilton, Charles I: Downfall of a King II: A Nation Divided, BBC 2019
Mighty John Pym now rules over an abandoned London with 10,000 troops at his command: a myriad of plots, blunders and obstinacy have brought us to this cliff edge. Now in January 1642 war is all but inevitable. Lisa Hilton, Charles I: Downfall of a King III: The Final Showdown
A radical new transport system was carved out of London; how engineers wrestled to run steam trains underground. Michael Buerk, How the Victorians Built Britain s1e1, Channel 5 2018
A new rival vehicle came to London … The rails that carried the trams were slightly raised above the roads. ibid.
The results of the council elections in 1986 terrified the Tories. Labour came within a few votes of taking control of Westminster. At once Porter and her henchmen, who included the current Tory MP for Milton Keynes, Barry Legg, called a series of secret meetings to hatch a plot which would ensure that Labour would never get so close again. The plan was simple: to use the powers of the council in planning, housing and even in street amenities, to move Labour voters out of marginal wards and Tory ones in. Paul Foot, Waste Disposal
In the late 1830s a great swathe of Victorian London was ripped apart. The railway had arrived in the capital. Locomotion: Dan Snow’s History of Railways II, BBC 2013
In December 1952 one of the deadliest peacetime tragedies in history struck London. Over four days a stinking yellow smog smothered the city, so dense people couldn’t see their hands in front of their faces. The capital ground to a halt. But far worse, the smog was loaded with poisonous gases, and there would be devastating consequences. The Great Smog I: Winter of ’52 aka The Great Killer Smog, Channel 5 2022
At the time the official deathtoll was 4,000. But as we’ll discover, the real figure was much much greater. ibid.
It was seen by the government as the price Britain had to pay. ibid.
It was by far the worst disaster that Britain would face since The Blitz. ibid.
In 1952 eight and half million people lived in Greater London. Only about a million fewer than today. 98% of them still lived in houses with coal fires. ibid.
It was close to freezing so millions of coal fires had been lit across the capital. Commuters noticed that the fog was starting to turn yellowy-green. ibid.
In 1952 there were nine coal-fired power stations in London. ibid.
Coughing, they brought up glutinous black phlegm. ibid.
There was no mention that the smog may be dangerous, and no warnings were issued by the government. ibid.
The city fell silent. Thousands became sick. Hospitals were at breaking point. And the government attempted to hide its failings. The Great Smog: Winter of ’52 II
And they began to overwhelm the NHS. Wards became full, so hundreds of dangerously ill patients had to be transferred to other hospitals. ibid.
Londoners were developing a fierce, burning pain in their throats and lungs as they became inflamed by the sulphuric acid. Breathing became a problem. ibid.
It’s the Christmas shopping season in London and the rush hour is in full swing. Commuters and shoppers stream through King’s Cross, the city’s busiest rail interchange. Suddenly, a deadly wall of flame roars through the packed station. It kills 31 people. Seconds from Disaster: King’s Cross Fire, 2006
Fires are a fact of life on the ageing infrastructure of the Tube. There have been over 400 the previous three decades. ibid.
Moments later a huge jet of fire erupts … A small blaze has suddenly erupted into a ferocious inferno. ibid.
The prime suspect for the King’s Cross fire is now a careless smoker discarding a still-burning match. ibid.
Britain: World War II: As Nazi bombs rained down on London a crimewave is taking place across the nation’s capital. Emerging from the city’s smouldering ashes is a race for unprecedented control of the underworld. A new godfather is poised to seize power and his reign will change the streets of London for ever. Wartime Crime I, Yesterday 2018
‘57 consecutive night attacks on London.’ ibid. historian
‘A police state; of all the ironies we were fighting a police state.’ ibid.
The first to feel liberated by The Blitz are London’s criminals; at the outbreak of War a general amnesty empties the prisons. ibid.
Among them is Billy Hill … Hill sees an opportunity. ibid.
In London criminal activity is dominated by a few powerful gangs that hail from the city’s slums. ibid.
His [Hill] campaign of robbery, heists and racketeering is poised to change the nature of crime for ever. ibid.
Participation in the black market forces millions of people to abandon their pre-War standards of morality. ibid.
He [Hill] launches a new audacious type of crime: Post Office robbery. ibid.
In 1952 he carries out the Eastcastle Street robbery with a value of over £7 million today; it is the biggest criminal heist Britain has ever seen. ibid.
As temperatures started to drop and millions of Londoners sparked up their coal fires a freezing toxic cocktail of polluted smog smothered the capital. The Big Freeze: Winter ’63, Channel 5 2022
London: a nation, not a city. Benjamin Disraeli, Lothair, 1870
The gondola of London. ibid. re London cabs
London is a modern Babylon. Benjamin Disraeli, Tancred, 1847
A city of refuge, the mansion-house of liberty. John Milton, Areopagitica, 1644
Oh Mary, this London’s a wonderful sight,
With the people all working by day and by night ...
But for all I found there, I might as well be
Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea. Percy French, The Mountains of Mourne
With London’s ghost
I walk the streets
As easy as November fog
Among the reeds. Patrick Galvin, Christ in London
I’m Burlington Bertie
I rise at ten-thirty and saunter along like a toff,
I walk down the Strand with my gloves on my hand,
Then I walk down again with them off. W F Hargreaves, Burlington Bertie From Bow, 1915
The flushpots of Euston and the hanging garments of Marylebone. James Joyce, Finnegan’s Wake, 1939
I thought of London spread out in the sun,
Its postal districts packed like squares of wheat. Philip Larkin, The Whitsun Weddings, 1964
Forget six counties overhung with smoke,
Forget the snorting steam and piston stroke,
Forget the spreading of the hideous town;
Think rather of the pack-horse on the down,
And dream of London, small and white and clean,
The clear Thames bordered by its gardens green. William Morris, The Earthly Paradise, 1868-70
In the hot summer of 1666 the city of London was consumed by a great fire. 13,000 houses were destroyed. 89 churches were incinerated. 80% of the building stock was erased. No other city had burned like this since Roman times. Great Fire of London: The Untold Story, National Geographic 2011
The House of Commons appointed a committee to inquire into the causes of the disaster. ibid.
It was as they saw it an attack by foreign enemies. ibid.
Commercial rivalry had erupted into open warfare. ibid.