LONDON As well as being the capital of England, London is the capital of theUnited Kingdom. It is one of the greatest, most colourful and interestingcities of the world, and it tops the list of the cities I would like tovisit. I know a lot about it - I have studied its map, seen a lot ofpostcards, talked to people who have been there. Sometimes I close my eyesand imagine I walk down Piccadilly, Regent or Oxford Street, cross theThames by London or Tower Bridge, or knock on the door of Number 10,Downing Street, just to say “Hi!” to Tony Blair. London is a city which was never planned. It has accumulated. So, itincludes the City of London, the West End and the East End. The city isreally large – more than 8 million people live in so-called Greater London– that is, London and its suburbs. It stands on the both sides of the riverThames and 14 bridges span the river. The Thames, described variously as“liquid history” and the “noblest river in Europe” is graced in London witha score of bridges, tunnels and a barrier, but until 1750, when the firstWestminster Bridge opened, London Bridge was the one and the only. Thefirst one built in stone from 1176 to 1209 became renowned throughoutEurope for its houses and a chapel dedicated to St Thomas of Canterbury.Several of London bridges have special features – Hammersmith Bridge hasornamental metal work and Vauxhall has larger than life bronze figuresrepresenting pottery, engineering, architecture, agriculture, science, finearts, local government and education. Among the boats which ply the river,few attract more attention than the Oxford and Cambridge University BoatRace. London was founded by the Romans in 43 A. D. and was called Londinium.In 61 A. D. the town was burned down and when it was rebuilt by the Romansit was surrounded by a wall. That area within the wall is now called theCity of London. It is a financial and business center of the country. TheStock Exchange, the Bank of England, offices of major banks and companiesare all there. People only come to the City to work, nobody lives there,and at night it becomes deserted. Here is situated the Tower of London. The Tower was built by Williamthe Conqueror who conquered England in 1066. The Tower of London has been“fortress, palace, home of the Crown Jewels and national treasures,arsenal, mint, prison, observatory, zoo and tourist attraction”, wrote theDuke of Edinburgh in a book celebrating the Tower’s 900th anniversary. Itis interesting to mention the tradition connected with the history ofTower. The royal menagerie departed to the Zoo in 1834, leaving only theravens behind. Tradition says that if the ravens leave, the Tower and thecountry will fall. So Beefeaters – Warders of the Tower - give ravens meatevery night. The finest part of London is the West End with long streets of fineshops, theaters, picture gallery. Soho, the home of strip-tease, the cinemaindustry and international haute cuisine, is on the edge of theatreland,rich in history and rich in cultural mix. The name Soho probably came fromthe ancient hunting cry – So – Ho – in its farmland days. By the 19thcentury it must have seemed a strange area, described by John Galsworthy inthe Forsyte Saga as “Untidy, full of Greeks, Ishmaelites, cats, Italians,tomatoes, restaurants, organs, coloured stuffs, queer names, people lookingout of out windows, it dwells remote from the British Body Politic”. Todaythere is a complete China Town and Restaurants serve haute cuisine fromscores of countries. There are beautiful parks in the West End, such as St James’s Park,Green Park, Kensington Gardens, and Hyde Park with its Speaker’s Cornerthere you can go up on a platform and speak freely on the topic that youfind vital. The Royal Parks are central London‘s lungs. Bands play besidelakes, parks have cafes and art galleries. The Houses of Parliament with its Big Ben, the chimes of which areheard throughout the world on the BBC World Service are also in the WestEnd. Big Ben, the voice of London, has been telling the time to the secondsince 1859. Construction of the 320 foot clock tower began in the yearQueen Victoria came to the throne, 1837, as part of the reconstruction ofthe Houses of Parliament. The Great Bell cracked, was recast and crackedagain, given us the famous resonating boom. Why Big Ben? There are twoanswers – either can be chosen. It could have been named after Sir BenjaminHall, chief commissioner of works at that time. Or, perhaps, it was namedby workmen – Benjamin Caunt – who brought the bell from Whitechapel Foundryon a cart pulled by 16 white horses. The Palace of Westminster – among theworld’s most famous buildings – houses the British Parliament: the House ofLords and the House of Commons. The first palace was built for Edward theConfessor, who came to the throne in 1042. Every British citizen has thetraditional right to ask to see his or her Member of Parliament, and theymeet in the highly decorative Central Lobby. When Parliament is sitting, itis possible to hear debates from the Strangers’ Galleries. Even the Queenis subject to restrictions. For the State Opening of Parliament she has tosit enthroned in the Lords – a custom which goes back to the era of CharlesI. For relaxation, the Members of Parliament have reception rooms whichlead onto the riverside terrace. In gardens across the road is the JewelTower. Among moderns sculptures to have been placed in the vicinity is thestatue of Sir Winston Churchill, with his larger-than-life size sculptureraised on a plinth. White Hall and Downing Street are also in the West End. White Hallis a street where most government offices are situated, and I have alreadymentioned that No. 10, Downing Street is the official residence of theBritish Prime Ministers for more than 250 years. The famous cul-de-sac ofDowning Street was created by Sir George Downing, member of Parliament,around 1680. Number 10 is one of the original Downing Street houses tosurvive. No 10, with the most photographed door in the world, is guardedoutside by a single policeman. By the way the nick-name of Britishpolicemen are “bobbies”, because of Sir Robert Peel, who formed the policeforce. The Queen, when she is in London, lives in Buckingham Palace.Buckingham Palace facing the white marble and gilded Queen Victoriamemorial, flies the royal standard when the Queen is in residence. Todaythe Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have private suites in the North Wing,overlooking Green Park. Their home is open to around 30.000 guests insummer, attending garden parties. The entry costs around 20 pounds aperson. The gardens have a lake, cascading water and the wild life includeflamingoes. From the Palace the Queen leaves on ceremonial duties such asthe State Opening of Parliament in early winter and Trooping the colour tomark her official birthday in June. The architecture of London is very impressive. There is St. Paul’sCathedral, for example, where a lot of famous people were buried. TheNational and Tate Galleries contain many masterpieces of art. Westminster Abbey has been the setting for every monarch’s coronation,beginning with Edward the Confessor, a saintly man who came to the thronein 1040. The Abbey presents a pageant of noble, military, political andartistic history. It has the graves of queens and kings, of poets,politicians and churchmen. And the High Altar still contains the body ofEdward the Confessor, the Abbey’s founder. Westminster Cathedral is the leading Roman Catholic Church in England.It was built half a mile from the Abbey. The single bell in the 280 foothigh campanile is dedicated (like the Chapel in the Abbey) to Edward theConfessor. This gift from Gwendolen, Duchess of Norfolk, is inscribed “StEdward, pray for England”. The East End is something quite different. It is the industrial partof London. There are factories and docks there, and blocks of flats whereworking people live. They form quite a contrast to what we can see in theWest End. Conclusion “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life: for there is inLondon all that life can afford” -, wrote Samuel Johnson in 1777.Naturally, London is a cultural, scientific, and industrial center of thecountry, and it means that a lot of interesting things are taking placethere all the time. CONTENTS1. Introduction.2. Main part. 1. The River. 2. The City of London. 3. The West End. 4. The East End.3. Conclusion.4. Bibliography. Bibliography.1. Е. Л. Занина. 95 устных тем по английскому языку. – М. Рольф, 1997.2. Каверина В., Бойко В., Жидких Н. 100 тем английского устного. – М. БАО Пресс. 2002.3. Васильев К. Б. Pilot One. Справочное пособие по английскому языку. СПб. Тригон. 1998.4. London. 161 colour plates – map of the city centre. Thomas Benacci LTD. London. 1997.