London - A Brief History: Part 5 - World Wars, 20th Century and London Today

London - A Brief History: Part 5 - World Wars, 20th Century and London Today

World Wars and the 20th Century London

ww2 blitz london children
The Blitz Devastation in London
Source: National Archives
London suffered heavily during World War I but was still the capital of a massive empire. Between World War I and II, London continued to expand geographically as the transport system expanded and allowed people to live in the suburbs; car ownership also facilitated this.

London’s unemployment grew rapidly during the Great Depression of the 1930s, only to be followed by World War II. During The Blitz, London suffered extensive damage, and again fires raged through the City of London destroying it. Over one million houses in London were destroyed, and the death toll reached 40,000. Many escaped to the countryside, fearing for their lives.

London went through a massive rebuilding project after WWII, and the 1950s and 1960s saw big tower blocks being built to house Londoners. During this time, many immigrants came to the city from the Commonwealth countries – Indians, Jamaicans, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis made their way to the city, making it a truly multicultural place.
London’s population was decreasing, though, and had dropped from 8.6 million before WWII to 6.8 million in the 1980s. This began to increase again from the mid-1980s onwards.

Present Day London

London today is a cosmopolitan city with international repute. The city has an official population of more than 8.6 million people, matching its peak in 1939. The city is still growing, however, and its population is expected to reach 10 million by 2029.

London has twenty post codes, thirty-two boroughs and, at the time of writing, has Sadiq Khan as its mayor.

The city has not lost its unique historical influence, though, as it boasts four heritage sites: Kew Gardens; the areas of the Palace of Westminster, St Margaret’s Church and Westminster Abbey; the Tower of London; and Maritime Greenwich.

London is also an education hub with students from around the world flocking to the city annually in search of fine education. The city boasts high calibre colleges like the London school of Economics, Royal Academy of Music and the London Business School.

In terms of tourism, London attracts over 31 million tourists annually and possesses a vibrant economy. Measured in terms of international visitors, London is the most visited city in the world.
Today’s London is truly amazing. It has evolved to become the multicultural centre of Europe and an economic, educational and tourist hub. The future of the city looks brighter than ever.

Go Back and Read Part 4 - Industrial Revolution or read from the beginning with Part 1 - Roman London.

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