Heaton is a suburb in the east end of Newcastle upon Tyne, about 2 miles from the city centre. It is bordered by the neighbouring areas of High Heaton and Cochrane Park to the north and Walkergate to the east, Byker to the south and Jesmond and Sandyford to the west; the name Heaton means high town, referring to the area "being situated on hills above the Ouseburn, a tributary of the River Tyne." In the 12th century Heaton became part of the Barony of Ellingham granted by Henry I to Nicholas de Grenville. King John stayed in the castle at Heaton on a number of occasions. In the 17th century the Heaton estate was purchased by Henry Babington, knighted at Heaton Hall by James I on 1 May 1617. By the 18th century, Heaton was a coal mining area with many of its collieries owned by Matthew White and Richard Ridley; the Heaton estate was broken up in 1835 when the area became incorporated into Newcastle upon Tyne. Much of the land in Heaton in 1841 was owned by Armorer Donkin, who on his death in 1851 bequeathed the land to his business partner, the industrialist Sir William Armstrong.
In 1879, the corporation acquired part of the Heaton Hall estate, laid out as Heaton Park, Sir William Armstrong donated Armstrong Park and Jesmond Dene to the city. The three parks run into each other to form a green corridor through east Newcastle. Heaton was divided into two electoral wards, North Heaton and South Heaton, each of, represented by three councillors. However, boundary changes to all wards in Newcastle upon Tyne were implemented at the city council elections in May 2018, with the majority of Heaton falling in the Heaton ward. A small part of Heaton close to Shields Road is in the Ouseburn ward, with neighbouring High Heaton included in the Manor Park ward. Heaton is a mixed working middle class area. In recent years it has become a popular residence for many students attending the city's two universities, Newcastle University and Northumbria University. Rent and student letting is lower in price than in the neighbouring student areas of Jesmond and Sandyford. During the 19th century, the building of the railways saw a line pass through Heaton, now the East Coast Main Line.
Heaton has a major rail depot. Heaton became the location of Sir Charles Parsons engineering works producing turbines, founded in 1889. Third Avenue was the birthplace of the Ringtons Tea business; the main commercial street in Heaton is Chillingham Road which benefits from local amenities including two small supermarkets, a number of small shops and newsagents, takeaways, cafes and public houses. In the Cochrane Park area of Heaton there is a famous landmark building, The Wills Building, built in 1946-50 as a cigarette factory and was redeveloped in 1999 as luxury apartments. Heaton was served by Heaton railway station, on the main line from Newcastle to Edinburgh Waverley and on the direct line from Newcastle to the coast; that station was closed on 11 August 1980, when the Wear Metro system opened. Heaton is now served by Chillingham Road Metro station, but Byker Metro station is closer for some living in South Heaton. Heaton is served by a variety of bus routes, including routes 1, 62 and 63, which link Heaton to Newcastle city centre and areas in the west of Newcastle.
Heaton has a large secondary school, Heaton Manor School, although many children in Heaton attend Benfield School, located on the Heaton/Walkergate boundary. There are a number of primary schools spread over the area: Ravenswood Primary School, Chillingham Road Primary School, Hotspur Primary School and St. Theresa's Primary School. Heaton was home to Newcastle United under their previous name, Newcastle East End F. C. between 1886 and 1892. East End played at the Heaton Junction Ground on Chillingham Road before moving to St James' Park. Two Northern League football clubs play in areas neighboring Heaton. Heaton Stannington F. C. play in High Heaton, while Newcastle Benfield F. C. play next door to Benfield School. Heaton is home to amateur rugby football club Medicals RFC, based in Cartington Terrace. Jack Common, author of'Kiddar's Luck' and'The Ampersand', was born and brought up at 44 Third Avenue and attended Chillingham Road Primary School. Common was to model for the bust of Karl Marx that tops Marx's tomb in Highgate Cemetery, London.
Chas Chandler, bassist for the Animals. Manager of the Jimi Hendrix Experience and Slade, it is reputed that Jimi Hendrix himself busked on Chillingham Road during his time living with Chas in Heaton at 35 Second Avenue. Cheryl Cole was born in Heaton on 30 June 1983 and lived there until the mid-1990s when she moved to nearby Walker. Photos of the area from Geograph Newcastle Council Ward Info: North Heaton Newcastle Council Ward Info: South Heaton Newcastle Council Ward Info: Ouseburn Link to Historical information on Heaton Kay's Geography: Heaton page
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service Tyne and Wear Metropolitan Fire Brigade, is the fire and rescue service for the metropolitan county of Tyne and Wear. The service provides emergency fire cover to the five comprising metropolitan boroughs of Sunderland, Newcastle Upon Tyne, North Tyneside and South Tyneside, serving a population of 1.09 million people and a total geographical area of 538 square kilometres. Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Authority is responsible for the running of the service, as well as the publication of performance indicators in accordance with its legal obligations. In April 2017, Chris Lowther was appointed Chief Fire Officer. In November 2018, the service announced proposals to cut frontline operations in order to meet budget requirements imposed by the Government; the proposals are under public consultation and members of the public are welcome to complete the consultation survey and attend the remaining meetings, a full list of which can be found at the Tyne and Wear Fire Service website.
The public consultation ends in January 2019. Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service was established as Tyne and Wear Metropolitan Fire Brigade in 1974 as a result of changes to area boundaries within the North East of England. A fire service did exist through delivery of several smaller fire services established under the Fire Brigades Act 1938 which made it a requirement for local authorities to provide fire cover to their area, although the smaller services were never united as one service as they are today until 1974. During the second World War, all local fire services in the region and on a national level created under the 1938 legislation were nationalised to form the National Fire Service, remaining this way until the Fire Services Act 1947 which handed control back of fire cover back to local authorities in 1948; when the service was established in 1974, it brought together four small local fire services and parts of two others to form the service that exists today. In June 2003 Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott submitted a white paper to Parliament outlining reforms to the Fire Service in the UK.
Part of the reforms outlined included changing the name of fire services across the UK to'Fire and Rescue Service', giving greater emphasis to the changing role of the fire service. In 2004, following further government publications, the name of the service was changed from Tyne and Wear Metropolitan Fire Brigade to Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, with post-2004 vehicle livery and all other parts of the service reflecting the name change. In 2006, the service had built six new fire stations under the Public Private Partnership initiative, replacing older fire stations that were in need of extensive upgrade. In 2011, the location for the new Sunderland North fire station in Fulwell was announced, with the station expected to be opened in late 2014 and replacing the current station nearby. In July 2014, due to government budget cuts the fire and rescue service was forced to remove a frontline fire appliance from Swalwell and one from Wallsend fire station. May 2015 saw the introduction of two Targeted response vehicles to be based at Washington fire station.
In September 2015 a further two targeted response vehicles would replace two fire appliances, one at Newcastle central and one at Sunderland central. Further cuts were implemented in October 2016 removing a further two fire appliances, one at West Denton and one at Hebburn. Water Ladder: A01 / C01 / E01 / F01 / G01 / H01 / J01 / K01 / M01 / N01 / Q01 / S01 / T01 / V01 / W01 / Y01 Water Tender: C02 / F02 / J02 / K02 / N02 / Q02 / V02 / Z02 Targeted Response Vehicle: C17 / C172 / N17 / N172Aerial Ladder Platform: E03 / M03 / V03 Hazardous Response Unit: S04 Operational Support Unit: V05 Special Rescue Unit: K06 Incident Command Unit: A07 Swift Water Rescue Unit: F093 Fire Boat: F09 Boat Transporter Unit: F094 Outreach Support Vehicle: A12 L4V: K13 / Y15 Prime Mover: Q10 / Y16Pods: Bulk Foam Unit Flood Prevention Unit High Volume Pump Urban Search & Rescue: Prime Mover: L10 / L11 / L12Modules: Module 1 - Technical Search Equipment Module 2 - Heavy Transport, Confined Space & Hot Cutting Equipment Module 3 - Breaching & Breaking Equipment Module 4 - Multi Purpose Vehicle Module 5 - Shoring OperationsCBRN Response: Incident Response Unit: J08 Prime Mover + Mass Decontamination Unit: J10 Detection, Identification & Monitoring: W14 Training Water Tender: L01 / L02 / L03 / L04 Advanced Driver Training Water Tender: VTS1 / VTS2 Driver Training Lorry: Fire apparatus Fire service in the United Kingdom Fire station FiReControl List of British firefighters killed in the line of duty Official website Official Site of the FIRE KILLS: YOU CAN PREVENT IT!
Campaign Fire Gateway Website, Fire Safety Information and Fire Service locater Tyne & Wear YouTube channel
The Byker Wall is a long, unbroken block of 620 maisonettes in the Byker district of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. They were constructed in the 1970s; the wall is just part of the estate. The Wall, along with the low rise dwellings built to its south, replaced Victorian slum terraced housing. There were nearly 1200 houses on the site at Byker, they had been condemned as unfit for human habitation in 1953, demolition began in 1966. The new housing block was designed by Ralph Erskine assisted by Vernon Gracie. Design began in 1968 and construction took place between 1969 and 1982; the architects opened an office on site to develop communication and trust between the existing residents. Existing buildings were to be demolished; the new high-rise block was designed to shield the site from an intended motorway. Construction materials for Byker Wall were cheap, concrete and timber. Surfaces were treated with bright colours, while brick bandings were used on the'Wall' to indicate floor levels, its Functionalist Romantic styling with textured, complex facades, colourful brick and plastic panels, attention to context, low-rise construction represented a major break with the Brutalist high-rise architectural orthodoxy of the time.
Following completion, less than 20% of the original local residents were housed at Byker Wall. Refurbishment of the whole estate was commenced in partnership with Your Homes Newcastle, the social housing arm of Newcastle City Council; the work was undertaken by a division of Balfour Beatty. The work involved careful reinstatement of original features and colour schemes, using modernised materials where possible, while retaining the look and feel of the 1970s design scheme. For example, a new coloured aluminium window frame was designed to allow for improved security and insulation, without compromising the visual impact of the buildings; the most recent phase of this was completed in June 2008. A bid for PFI funding from the Homes and Communities Agency was sought in June 2009 to fund the project, estimated to cost £210 million, but was rejected as it did not meet the criteria. A two-year refubishment programme with a budget of £26 million began in April 2014. New roofs and windows will be installed and the estate will be repainted in line with the original colour scheme.
In February 2019 local company JDDK were appointed to undertake further upgrades to the estate on a £4 million contract. The Byker Community Trust was incorporated in September 2011 under the Industrial and Provident Society Act 1965 with charitable objectives. BCT is a ‘registered provider’ of social housing. In July 2012 a stock transfer from Newcastle City Council was completed and BCT became the owner of 1,800 properties; the creation of BCT has had the support of Newcastle City Council, the Homes and Communities Agency and English Heritage. In 2013, Bolam Coyne won the Royal Institute Chartered Surveyors award for Best North East Regeneration Project of the Year. In 2003 the Department for Culture and Sport announced a proposal to award the Byker estate, of which the Wall forms a part, a Grade II listed rating as an example of outstanding architecture. In January 2007, the Estate became a grade II* listed building, its innovative and visionary design has earned it the Civic Trust Awards, the Eternit Award, the Ambrose Congreve Award for Housing, the Veronica Rudge Green Prize for Urban Design from Harvard University.
The Wall has been placed on UNESCO's list of outstanding twentieth century buildings. In 1988 Byker Wall was featured in an episode of Building Sights presented by writer Beatrix Campbell, who compared the development to a pomegranate; the Byker Wall was the home of "Ratboy", Anthony Kennedy, a juvenile delinquent who hid in its heating shafts when running from police during the 1990s. Mansell PLC's work on the refurbishment of the wall Bid for PFI funding to refurbish the wall
Byker Grove is an English television series which aired between 1989 and 2006 and was created by writer Adele Rose and producer Andrea Wonfor. The show was broadcast at 5:10pm after Newsround on CBBC on BBC One, it was aimed at an older teenager and young adult audience, tackling serious and sometimes controversial storylines. The show ran between 1989 and 2006, was set in a youth club in the Byker district of Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. In 1987, Wonfor approached soap writer Adele Rose. Together they created a single pilot episode featuring children aged 8–11 at an out-of-school club. In autumn 1988, Wonfor gained the backing of Anna Home Head of the Children's Department at BBC Television. Home gave the go ahead for a run of a series of six 25-minute episodes to be broadcast by the BBC; the age of the main characters was raised to 12–16 after support from first producer-director, Matthew Robinson. The first series centred on young teenagers crossing the bridge from childhood to adulthood. Byker Grove launched the careers of Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly who are otherwise known as Ant & Dec as well as the actress Jill Halfpenny, Donna Air, former CBBC presenter Andrew Hayden-Smith and Emmerdale actors Dale Meeks, Charlie Hardwick, Chelsea Halfpenny, Laura Norton and Victoria Hawkins.
Appearing in the series was the now glamour model Francoise Boufhal and Charlie Hunnam, who starred in the American TV series Sons of Anarchy and co-starred in Pacific Rim. Founder producer/director was Matthew Robinson who, after Byker Grove, became executive producer of EastEnders, Head of Drama BBC Wales and now runs Khmer Mekong Films in Cambodia. Byker Grove was home to writers such as Catherine Johnson and Matthew Graham; the first writer was Adele Rose - in Series 1 she wrote episodes 1–4 and 6. The most prolific was Brian B. Thompson, who wrote 50 episodes over 12 series. Byker Grove gave Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper his first break into TV drama when he directed four episodes in 1997. Byker Grove was not filmed in the Byker area of Newcastle; the actual youth club set was in Benwell, in the west area of the City, Byker being in the east. Byker Metro station and other landmarks in the real Byker are used for filming backdrops; the youth club building seen on-screen is The Mitre, which used to be a pub.
After the success of the first series, The Mitre was bought by the BBC's London property department which granted Zenith Television a permanent licence to film the series there. The building housed production offices, make up suite and costume department; the final series started on 7 October 2006 on the CBBC Channel. Richard Deverell, head of CBBC, was interviewed on Newsround about the decision to axe Byker Grove. On 11 March 2008, it was reported that Gallowgate Productions TV, the TV production company owned by Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, purchased the rights to Byker Grove after the production company that made it went into liquidation in 2007. According to reports, the reason Ant & Dec decided to purchase the rights was to stop a digital channel showing repeats featuring the duo during their time in the series, though this has neither been confirmed or denied by the duo themselves; the cast and crew from the first 10 years of the show held their first reunion on 19 May 2012 in the Quayside area of Newcastle upon Tyne and on a river boat cruise.
The party guests included Donna Air, Charlie Hardwick and Andrew Hayden-Smith. Jill Halfpenny and Si King were absent due to work commitments. Byker Grove was not intended for young children, but aimed at a young adult and teenage audience as it tackled some controversial subjects such as drug addiction, child abuse, teen pregnancy and abortion. Although some of the action took place outside the youth club, the series was unusual among dramas in that the characters were shown in school. One of the major settings was the foster home run by the kindly but strict Lou Gallagher, the longest-running character. In November 1994, Byker Grove became the first British drama to broach the subject of "coming out of the closet" when Noddy Fishwick kissed his close friend Gary Hendrix at the back of a cinema; this scene caused outrage in the British tabloids, a Sun editorial calling for producer Matthew Robinson to be sacked. However the BBC backed the storyline which received countrywide support from gay teenagers, many teachers, parents.
The 2004 series saw the character of Bradley agonising over his sexuality and coming out of the closet as gay to his girlfriend Sadie, after a romantic holiday together had failed to live up to their expectations. The series depicted life as unjust, with bad things happening to good people, such as Flora's death from a brain tumour, Greg's fall from the roof of the Grove which left him paralysed from the waist down, Jemma Dobson being electrocuted by a faulty electricity mains socket and youth leader Geoff Keegan's death in an accidental gas explosion. Byker Grove confronted viewers with repercussions for the characters' actions permanent; these ranged from the comical to the tragic. P. J. was blinded during an illicit and unsupervised paintballi
England is a country, part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to Scotland to the north-northwest; the Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south; the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight. The area now called England was first inhabited by modern humans during the Upper Palaeolithic period, but takes its name from the Angles, a Germanic tribe deriving its name from the Anglia peninsula, who settled during the 5th and 6th centuries. England became a unified state in the 10th century, since the Age of Discovery, which began during the 15th century, has had a significant cultural and legal impact on the wider world; the English language, the Anglican Church, English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world – developed in England, the country's parliamentary system of government has been adopted by other nations.
The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the world's first industrialised nation. England's terrain is chiefly low hills and plains in central and southern England. However, there is upland and mountainous terrain in the west; the capital is London, which has the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. England's population of over 55 million comprises 84% of the population of the United Kingdom concentrated around London, the South East, conurbations in the Midlands, the North West, the North East, Yorkshire, which each developed as major industrial regions during the 19th century; the Kingdom of England – which after 1535 included Wales – ceased being a separate sovereign state on 1 May 1707, when the Acts of Union put into effect the terms agreed in the Treaty of Union the previous year, resulting in a political union with the Kingdom of Scotland to create the Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland to become the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
In 1922 the Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom, leading to the latter being renamed the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Englaland, which means "land of the Angles"; the Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages. The Angles came from the Anglia peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea; the earliest recorded use of the term, as "Engla londe", is in the late-ninth-century translation into Old English of Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People. The term was used in a different sense to the modern one, meaning "the land inhabited by the English", it included English people in what is now south-east Scotland but was part of the English kingdom of Northumbria; the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that the Domesday Book of 1086 covered the whole of England, meaning the English kingdom, but a few years the Chronicle stated that King Malcolm III went "out of Scotlande into Lothian in Englaland", thus using it in the more ancient sense.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its modern spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, Germania, in which the Latin word Anglii is used; the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars. How and why a term derived from the name of a tribe, less significant than others, such as the Saxons, came to be used for the entire country and its people is not known, but it seems this is related to the custom of calling the Germanic people in Britain Angli Saxones or English Saxons to distinguish them from continental Saxons of Old Saxony between the Weser and Eider rivers in Northern Germany. In Scottish Gaelic, another language which developed on the island of Great Britain, the Saxon tribe gave their name to the word for England. An alternative name for England is Albion; the name Albion referred to the entire island of Great Britain. The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus the 4th-century BC De Mundo: "Beyond the Pillars of Hercules is the ocean that flows round the earth.
In it are two large islands called Britannia. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, i.e. it was written in the Graeco-Roman period or afterwards. The word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins, it either derives from a cognate of the Latin albus meaning white, a reference to the white cliffs of Dover or from the phrase the "island of the Albiones" in the now lost Massaliote Periplus, attested through Avienus' Ora Maritima to which the former served as a source. Albion is now applied to England in a more poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England and made popular by its use in Arthurian legend; the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximate
Fire services in the United Kingdom
The fire services in the United Kingdom operate under separate legislative and administrative arrangements in England and Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland. Emergency cover is provided by over fifty agencies; these are known as a fire and rescue service, the term used in modern legislation and by government departments. The older terms of fire brigade and fire service survive in informal usage and in the names of a few organisations. England and Wales have local fire services which are each overseen by a fire authority, made up of representatives of local governments. Fire authorities have the power to raise a Council Tax levy for funding, with the remainder coming from the government. Scotland and Northern Ireland have centralised fire services, so their authorities are committees of the devolved parliaments; the total budget for fire services in 2014-15 was £2.9 billion. Central government maintains national standards and a body of independent advisers through the Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser, created in 2007, while Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services provides direct oversight.
The devolved government in Scotland has HMFSI Scotland. Firefighters in the United Kingdom are allowed to join unions, the main one being the Fire Brigades Union, while chief fire officers are members of the National Fire Chiefs Council, which has some role in national co-ordination; the fire services have undergone significant changes since the beginning of the 21st century, a process, propelled by a devolution of central government powers, new legislation and a change to operational procedures in the light of terrorism attacks and threats. See separate article History of fire safety legislation in the United Kingdom Comprehensive list of recent UK fire and rescue service legislation: Fire services are established and granted their powers under new legislation which has replaced a number of Acts of Parliament dating back more than 60 years, but is still undergoing change. 1938: Fire Brigades Act 1938. This Act provided for centralised co-ordination of fire brigades in Great Britain and made it mandatory for local authorities to arrange an effective fire service.
1947: Fire Services Act 1947 This Act transferred the functions of the National Fire Service to local authorities. Now repealed in England and Wales by Schedule 2 of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004. 1959: Fire Services Act 1959 This Act amended the 1947 Act. It was repealed in Wales along with the 1947 Act. 1999: Greater London Authority Act 1999 This act was necessary to allow for the formation of the Greater London Authority and in turn the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority. In 2002, there was a series of national fire strikes, with much of the discontent caused by the aforementioned report into the fire service conducted by Prof Sir George Bain. In December 2002, the Independent Review of the Fire Service was published with the industrial action still ongoing. Bain's report led to a change in the laws relating to firefighting. 2002: Independent Review of the Fire Service published 2004: Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 only applying to England and Wales. 2006: The Regulatory Reform Order 2005 This piece of secondary legislation or statutory instrument replaces several other acts that dealt with fire precautions and fire safety in premises, including the now defunct process of issuing fire certificates.
It came into force on 1 October 2006. The DfCLG has published a set of guides for non-domestic premises: 2006: The Government of Wales Act 2006 gave the National Assembly for Wales powers to pass laws on "Fire and rescue services. Promotion of fire safety otherwise than by prohibition or regulation." But does not prevent future legislation being passed by the UK government which applies to two or more constituent countries. There are further plans to modernise the fire service according to the Local Government Association, its website outlines future changes, specific projects: "The aim of the Fire Modernisation Programme is to adopt modern work practices within the Fire & Rescue Service to become more efficient and effective, while strengthening the contingency and resilience of the Service to react to incidents. " The fire service in England and Wales is scrutinised by a House of Commons select committee. In June 2006, the fire and rescue service select committee, under the auspices of the Communities and Local Government Committee, published its latest report.
Committee report The committee's brief is described on its website: The Communities and Local Government Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure and policy of the Department for Communities and Local Government and its associated bodies. Government response This document, the subsequent government response in September 2006, are important as they outlined progress on the FiReControl, efforts to address diversity and the planned closure of HMFSI in 2007 among many issues. Both documents are interesting as they refer back to Professor Bain's report and the many recommendations it made and continue to put forward the notion that there is an ongoing need to modernise FRSs. For example, where FRSs were inspected by HMFSI, much of this work is now carried out by the National Audit Office. Fire Control On 8 February 2010 the House of Commons Communities and Local Governm
London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans; the City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of the London Assembly. London is considered to be one of the world's most important global cities and has been termed the world's most powerful, most desirable, most influential, most visited, most expensive, sustainable, most investment friendly, most popular for work, the most vegetarian friendly city in the world. London exerts a considerable impact upon the arts, education, fashion, healthcare, professional services and development, tourism and transportation.
London ranks 26 out of 300 major cities for economic performance. It is one of the largest financial centres and has either the fifth or sixth largest metropolitan area GDP, it is the most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the busiest city airport system as measured by passenger traffic. It is the leading investment destination, hosting more international retailers and ultra high-net-worth individuals than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to have hosted three modern Summer Olympic Games. London has a diverse range of people and cultures, more than 300 languages are spoken in the region, its estimated mid-2016 municipal population was 8,787,892, the most populous of any city in the European Union and accounting for 13.4% of the UK population. London's urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census.
The population within the London commuter belt is the most populous in the EU with 14,040,163 inhabitants in 2016. London was the world's most populous city from c. 1831 to 1925. London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London. Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and The Shard. London has numerous museums, galleries and sporting events; these include the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world. "London" is an ancient name, attested in the first century AD in the Latinised form Londinium. Over the years, the name has attracted many mythicising explanations; the earliest attested appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, written around 1136. This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.
Modern scientific analyses of the name must account for the origins of the different forms found in early sources Latin, Old English, Welsh, with reference to the known developments over time of sounds in those different languages. It is agreed; this was adapted into Latin as Londinium and borrowed into Old English, the ancestor-language of English. The toponymy of the Common Brythonic form is much debated. A prominent explanation was Richard Coates's 1998 argument that the name derived from pre-Celtic Old European *lowonida, meaning "river too wide to ford". Coates suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London. However, most work has accepted a Celtic origin for the name, recent studies have favoured an explanation along the lines of a Celtic derivative of a proto-Indo-European root *lendh-, combined with the Celtic suffix *-injo- or *-onjo-. Peter Schrijver has suggested, on these grounds, that the name meant'place that floods'; until 1889, the name "London" applied to the City of London, but since it has referred to the County of London and Greater London.
"London" is sometimes written informally as "LDN". In 1993, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the south foreshore, upstream of Vauxhall Bridge; this bridge either reached a now lost island in it. Two of those timbers were radiocarbon dated to between 1750 BC and 1285 BC. In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to between 4800 BC and 4500 BC, were found on the Thames's south foreshore, downstream of Vauxhall Bridge; the function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on the south bank. Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans about four years after the invasion