London is no stranger to destruction, mourning and reconstruction. The Great Fire of London struck in the seventeenth century and gave Londoners no chance to recover from the great plague which swept the city just before. In the twentieth century, it was the first and second World Wars which claimed their toll on the nation’s capital and its people. Despite this, the ever-present resilience of the Londoners has seen the rebuilding of this grand, exciting and prosperous capital to be enjoyed by all its visitors in the new millennium.
London has never made much of an attempt to be one of the most beautiful European capitals and nor does it pretend to be such. Instead, as the architect Piers Gough put it, “London is a dirty, gritty, hard-working city”, which is seen by many as one of its endearing characteristics. The gradual growing together over centuries, of towns, villages, peoples and cultures has made London into the exciting, unpredictable and varied place it is today.