LONDON: LEGACY OF LEGENDS (1066-1991)

Dr. Charles F. Urbanowicz / Professor of Anthropology
Department of Anthropology
California State University, Chico
Chico, California 95929-0400
530-898-6220 [Office]; 530-898-6192 [Dept.] FAX: 530-898-6824
e-mail: curbanowicz@csuchico.edu / home page: http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban

9 May 1991 [1]

[This page printed from http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Forum/London1991.html]

© [All Rights Reserved.] Presented at the "Anthropology Forum at California State University, Chico, May 9, 1991 and placed on the WWW on April 5, 1999.

INTRODUCTION

The English essayist, Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), once remarked that "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life, for there is in London all that life can afford" (Darwin Porter, 1990, Frommer's England & Scotland, p. 138) and a more recent comment can be found in the following statement:

"Strangers get lost in London. So do Londoners, unless they are cabdrivers. It is a city in which to lose oneself, an engrossing experience. People who are afraid of getting lost, who believe that every city should be built as a piece, at a single stroke, to a well-ordered plan, should not come. London was not built for efficiency. It is a city for explorers." (Michael Jackson, 1989, The American Express Guide to London, p. 8.)

Central London itself, The City, is slightly more than one mile square with a population of approximately 5,000. From "The City" one then expands to Inner London, approximately 124 square miles (with a population of roughly 2,500,000 individual) and then Greater London with approximately 610 square miles, and an estimated 1991 population of 6,700,000. The London (Heathrow) International Airport is actually located in the Western part of Greater London.

 

PRE-1066 (Pax Romana & Boadicea)

"The story of London as a city began soon after the Roman invasion of AD 43."
(Jenny Hall & Ralph Merrifield, 1986, Roman London, page 4.

One author has written, the location of the original city of Londinium, so named by the Romans, "is the pre-eminent example of the strength" of creating a town at a location where a river could easily be forded and bridged and where ocean-going ships could come and go (D. M. Stenton, 1951, English Society in the Early Middle Ages: 1066-1307, p. 160). The Roman military arrived, the river was bridged, a fort was created, and London began to grow. The first great fire to strike London was in 60AD, when Queen Boadicea led her tribe in a revolt against the Romans. The revolt failed and Romans remained.

 

1066 AND-ALL-THAT (Britain, On The Continent, & The Tower of London)

London was occupied by Romans (and Britains) from 60AD and made the capital in 200AD. In 410, when the city of Rome fell, London was abandoned by the Romans to its native inhabitants.

"In the wake of the Romans came a new wave of invaders--this time Jutes from what is now Denmark, Angles from where Hamburg is today, Saxons from north Germany and Frisians from the Netherlands. By the early seventh century, the newcomers--referred to generically by historians as Anglo-Saxons, or Saxons--had conquered almost all of England, and unlike the Romans, they stayed." (A.H. Halsey & A. Sampson, Britain, p. 20.)

In October of 1066, the final invasion of the British Isles took place when William, Duke of Normandy (also known as William the Bastard) invaded England. After defeating the English King Harold at the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror was crowned King of England.

"At once, William ordered the building of fortifications to help secure London, the chief city of his new kingdom. One of these earth-and-timber castles was erected in the south-east corner of the Roman city walls, to command the River Thames as well as the city." (P. Hammond, 1987, Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, p. 4.)

 

1666 EVENTS (The River and the City as well as St. Paul's Cathedral)

London, located 40 miles upstream from the North Sea on the River Thames (the lifeblood of London) increased in size over the years as the population of the British Isles increased. In 1666 a catastrophic event struck the Capital, and it is amazing that it was not worse: Medieval London was essentially destroyed in the Great Fire, and although some 13,000 houses were destroyed over the period of September 2-5, 1666, very few individuals perished. Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723), an architect of the time, proposed a new plan for the City of London: the plan was not accepted, but he did design and oversea the construction of St. Paul's Cathedral, as well as fifty other churches in London. Sir Christopher Wren is buried in St. Paul's, and his epitaph, written by his son, is there for all to see: "...Lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice" or "If you would seek his monument, look around you." (Frank Atkinson, 1985, St. Paul's And The City, p. 56.)

 

TOWARDS THE 21ST CENTURY (Queen Victoria and Darwin as the Quintessential 19th Century Natural Scientist)

The "Victorian Era" began on the 20th of June 1837 when Princess Alexandrina Victoria, then eighteen, was informed at 5am by the Archibishop of Canterbury that King William IV (her uncle) had died, and she was now the Queen of England. The reign of Queen Victoria ended on the 22nd of January 1901 when she died. Darwin will not be covered here, save to say that his work was done in the era of Queen Victoria, and as with her monarchy, it has sustained the test of time. The British Empire, one obviously notes, is no longer as great as it was under Queen Victoria, but the ideas that Darwin gave us are still with us. (Please see C.F. Urbanowicz, 1990, Charles R. Darwin: My Life and My Death and "Darwin Continues To Evolve: Urbanowicz On Darwin (Again!)." For the CSU, Chico Anthropology Forum, September 11, 1997; numerous other "Darwin" references are available from http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/resume.html).

 

CONCLUSIONS (The Chunnel and Beyond)

One should become an educated traveler in order to maximize and appreciate what you are experiencing when you travel. This is the only way to travel!

 

SELECTED ADDITIONAL REFERENCES

Ash, Mauruce A. (1972) A Guide to the Structure of London.

Hanford, S.A. [translator] (1951) Caesar: The Conquest of Gaul.

Howarth, David (1977) 1066: The Year of the Conquest.

Millett, Martin (1990) The Romanization of Britain: An Essay in Archaeological Interpretation.

St John Parker, Michael (1976) Queen Victoria.

Thompson, Dorothy (1990) Queen Victoria: The Woman, The Monarchy, and the People.

Woodham-Smith, C. (1972) Queen Victoria: From Her Birth to the Death of the Prince Consort.


[1] © [All Rights Reserved.] This was a "handout" (accompanied by numerous slides) for the Anthropology Forum at California State University, Chico, May 9, 1991. No changes have been made, save for the addition of the WWW sites above (and below). To return to the beginning of this paper, please click here.

[This page printed from http://www.csuchico.edu/~curban/Forum/London1991.html]


To go to the home page of Charles F. Urbanowicz.

To go to the home page of the Department of Anthropology.

To go to the home page of California State University, Chico.


For more information, please contact Charles F. Urbanowicz
Copyright © 1999 Charles F. Urbanowicz

Anthropology Department, CSU, Chico
5 April 1999 by CFU