Port of London Authority
The Port of London Authority is a self-funding public trust established by The Port of London Act 1908 to govern the Port of London. Its responsibility extends over the Tideway of the River Thames and its continuation and it maintains and supervises navigation, and protects the rivers environment. The PLA originally operated all enclosed dock systems on the river, but these have long closed to commercial traffic, with the exception of Port of Tilbury. The PLAs responsibility extends from a point marked by an obelisk just downstream of Teddington Lock to the end of the Kent/Essex strait of the North Sea a total of about 95 miles, the PLA does not cover the Medway or the Swale. From the City of London, via the Thames Conservancy, the PLA has inherited ownership of the bed of the river and foreshore from Teddington to the Yantlet Line. During much of the 20th century the PLA owned and operated many of the docks and wharfs in the Port, but they have all now been either closed or privatised. Today the PLA acts mainly as an authority for the tidal stretch of the River Thames, ensuring safe navigation.
Comparable responsibilities for the river including, and upstream of, Teddington Lock fall to the Environment Agency, the PLA is responsible for the operation of Richmond Lock, but it is not responsible for the Thames Barrier which is managed by the Environment Agency in its flood management role. The PLA originally had its headquarters on Tower Hill in the City of London, the PLA retains a presence in the City in offices at Bakers Hall on Harp Lane, where the Chairman, Chief Executive and Secretary of the PLA are based. Both Port Control centres operate the system for coordinating traffic within the PLAs area. The system involves 16 radar stations along the river and out in the estuary, the PLA owns Denton Wharf and Jetty in Gravesend, which is the main base for its fleet of more than 40 vessels. It provides lift-out and maintenance services for users of the Thames. The PLA owns Barrier Gardens Pier and Unity House, near its centre at the Thames Barrier. There are two stations at Harwich and Ramsgate, beyond the estuary and the Port of London.
From these stations pilots are sent out and return from large vessels entering and leaving the Port, the PLA employs about 360 people. The PLA owns three piers and jetties on the River Thames and these are available for other river users as well as the PLAs own vessels. Five new patrol vessels were built by Alnmaritec in Northumberland and delivered in 2009, the Lord Mayor of London, the chief dignitary of the City of London, is ex officio the Admiral of the Port of London. The PLA uses a blue ensign with a gold heraldic sealion on all its vessels and it has a house flag and pennants for the use of the Chairman and the Vice Chairman of its Board
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west, the Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east, the country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain in its centre and south, and includes over 100 smaller islands such as the Isles of Scilly, and the Isle of Wight. England became a state in the 10th century, and since the Age of Discovery. The Industrial Revolution began in 18th-century England, transforming its society into the worlds first industrialised nation, Englands terrain mostly comprises low hills and plains, especially in central and southern England. However, there are uplands in the north and in the southwest, the capital is London, which is the largest metropolitan area in both the United Kingdom and the European Union. In 1801, Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland through another Act of Union 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, 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 Angeln peninsula in the Bay of Kiel area of the Baltic Sea. The earliest recorded use of the term, as Engla londe, is in the ninth century translation into Old English of Bedes Ecclesiastical History of the English People. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, its spelling was first used in 1538. The earliest attested reference to the Angles occurs in the 1st-century work by Tacitus, the etymology of the tribal name itself is disputed by scholars, it has been suggested that it derives from the shape of the Angeln peninsula, an angular shape. An alternative name for England is Albion, the name Albion originally referred to the entire island of Great Britain.
The nominally earliest record of the name appears in the Aristotelian Corpus, specifically the 4th century BC De Mundo, in it are two very large islands called Britannia, these are Albion and Ierne. But modern scholarly consensus ascribes De Mundo not to Aristotle but to Pseudo-Aristotle, the word Albion or insula Albionum has two possible origins. Albion is now applied to England in a poetic capacity. Another romantic name for England is Loegria, related to the Welsh word for England, the earliest known evidence of human presence in the area now known as England was that of Homo antecessor, dating to approximately 780,000 years ago. The oldest proto-human bones discovered in England date from 500,000 years ago, Modern humans are known to have inhabited the area during the Upper Paleolithic period, though permanent settlements were only established within the last 6,000 years
The London Docks were one of several sets of docks in the historic Port of London. They were constructed in Wapping downstream from the City of London between 1799 and 1815, at a cost exceeding £5½ million, traditionally ships had docked at wharves on the River Thames, but by this time, more capacity was needed. They were the closest docks to the City of London, until St Katharine Docks were built two decades later, the London Dock Company was formed in 1800, and work on the Docks began in 1801. In 1864 they were amalgamated with St Katharine Docks, the London Docks occupied a total area of about 30 acres, consisting of Western and Eastern docks linked by the short Tobacco Dock. The Western Dock was connected to the Thames by Hermitage Basin to the south west, the Eastern Dock connected to the Thames via the Shadwell Basin to the east. The principal designers were the architects and engineers Daniel Asher Alexander, the docks specialised in high-value luxury commodities such as ivory, spices and cocoa as well as wine and wool, for which elegant warehouses and wine cellars were constructed.
The system was never connected to the railway network, together with the rest of the enclosed docks, the London Docks were taken over by the Port of London Authority in 1909. The docks were closed to shipping in 1969 and sold to the borough of Tower Hamlets, the western portion of the London Docks was filled in with the intention of turning them into public housing estates. The land was largely derelict when it was acquired in 1981 by the London Docklands Development Corporation. It was subsequently redeveloped with over 1,000 individual properties centred on the old Tobacco Dock, the controversial Fortress Wapping printing works of Rupert Murdochs News International corporation was constructed on the northern half of the infilled Western Dock. Hermitage Basin and Shadwell Basin survive, Wapping Basin is now a sports pitch and some of the Eastern Dock site is open space. A small canal runs across the part of the Western Dock site from Hermitage Basin to Tobacco Dock. Safeguarded wharf Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert
A marina is a dock or basin with moorings and supplies for yachts and small boats. A marina differs from a port in that a marina does not handle large ships or cargo from freighters. The word marina is used for inland wharves on rivers, marinas may be located along the banks of rivers connecting to lakes or seas and may be inland. They are located on coastal harbors or coastal lagoons, either as stand alone facilities or within a port complex, a marina may have refueling and repair facilities and boat chandlers and restaurants. A marina may include facilities such as parking lots for vehicles. Slipways transfer a trailered boat into the water, a marina may have a boat hoist well operated by service personnel. A marina may provide in- or out-of-water boat storage, fee-based services such as parking, use of picnic areas and clubhouses for showers are usually included in long-term rental agreements. Visiting yachtsmen usually have the option of buying each amenity from a fixed schedule of fees, arrangements can be as wide as a use, such as a shower.
The right to use the facilities is frequently extended at overnight or period rates to visiting yachtsmen, since marinas are often limited by available space, it may take years on a waiting list to get a permanent berth. Boats are moored on buoys, on fixed or floating walkways tied to an anchoring piling by a roller or ring mechanism, buoys are cheaper to rent but less convenient than being able to walk from land to boat. Harbor shuttles, may transfer people between the shore and boats moored on buoys, the alternative is a tender such as an inflatable boat. Facilities offering fuel, boat ramps and stores will normally have a common-use dock set aside for such short term parking needs, where the tidal range is large, marinas may use locks to maintain the water level for several hours before and after low water. Marinas may be owned and operated by a club, especially yacht clubs —. Marinas may be private businesses, components of a resort. List of marinas MARINA - Maritime Industry Authority
Fenchurch Street railway station
Fenchurch Street railway station, known as London Fenchurch Street, is a central London railway terminus in the southeastern corner of the City of London. It takes its name from its proximity to Fenchurch Street, a key thoroughfare in the City, the station and all trains are operated by c2c. The station opened in 1841 to serve the L&BR and was rebuilt in 1854 when the LTSR, the ECR operated trains out of Fenchurch Street to relieve congestion at its other London terminus at Bishopsgate. The line from the station was electrified in 1961, and controversially closed for seven weeks in 1994, Fenchurch Street is one of the smallest railway termini in London in terms of platforms, but one of the most intensively operated. It has no interchange with the London Underground. The station frontage is on Fenchurch Place, adjacent to Fenchurch Street in the City of London, the station has two entrances, one on Fenchurch Place and another on Coopers Row, near Tower Hill. It has four platforms arranged on two islands elevated on a viaduct, the station has been Grade II listed since 1972 and the conference venue One America Square is built adjacent to it.
Following privatisation in 1994, the station was run by Network Rail, since 1996, the station has been served by the National Express Groups c2c who have a franchise to run services until 2029. Fenchurch Street is in the central London Travelcard zone 1 like other stations in the city. The nearest is Tower Hill about 0.2 miles to the southeast, London Buses route 40 passes the station. Services from Fenchurch Street run towards East London and south Essex, including Barking, Chafford Hundred Lakeside, Tilbury Town Basildon, Southend Central, the typical off-peak service consists of eight trains per hour, During peak periods services are increased up to 20 tph. Most peak services have 12 cars, although the stations capacity is small compared to other London terminals, it has a high footfall, averaging around 16 million passengers annually. The area around Fenchurch Street is one of the oldest inhabited parts of London, the station was the first to be granted permission by the Corporation of London to be constructed inside the City of London, following several refusals against other railway companies.
The original building, designed by William Tite opened on 20 July 1841, serving the London and Blackwall Railway and it had two platforms connected via a stairway to the booking hall. Steam locomotives did not use the station until 1849 because before this time trains were dragged uphill from Blackwall to Minories, the reverse journey eastwards required a manual push from railway staff. William Marshalls railway bookstall established at the station in 1841 was the first to be opened in the City of London, following the opening of the London and Blackwall Extension Railway on 2 April 1849, services operated from Fenchurch Street to Bow & Bromley. Some were extended to Victoria Park & Bow where an interchange existed with the Eastern Counties Railway from Bishopsgate, the station had two heavily used platforms and a double track line from Stepney onwards. Following a reduced income at Blackwall, LBR shareholders voted to align with the ECR and jointly construct the London, services would split at Stratford, one service to Bishopsgate and the other to Fenchurch Street along the reopened line via Bow & Bromley
Thomas Telford FRS, FRSE was a Scottish civil engineer and stonemason, and a noted road and canal builder. After establishing himself as an engineer of road and canal projects in Shropshire, he designed numerous projects in his native Scotland, as well as harbours. Telford was born on 9 August 1757 at Glendinning, a hill farm 3 miles east of Eskdalemuir Kirk, in the parish of Westerkirk, in Eskdale. His father John Telford, a shepherd, died soon after Thomas was born, Thomas was raised in poverty by his mother Janet Jackson. At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to a stonemason and he worked for a time in Edinburgh and in 1782 he moved to London where, after meeting architects Robert Adam and Sir William Chambers, he was involved in building additions to Somerset House there. Two years he found work at Portsmouth dockyard and — although still largely self-taught — was extending his talents to the specification, design, in 1787, through his wealthy patron William Pulteney, he became Surveyor of Public Works in Shropshire.
Civil engineering was a still in its infancy, so Telford was set on establishing himself as an architect. His projects included renovation of Shrewsbury Castle, the towns prison, as the Shropshire county surveyor, Telford was responsible for bridges. The bridge at Buildwas was Telfords first iron bridge and he was influenced by Abraham Darbys bridge at Ironbridge, and observed that it was grossly over-designed for its function, and many of the component parts were poorly cast. By contrast, his bridge was 30 ft wider in span and half the weight and he was one of the first engineers to test his materials thoroughly before construction. As his engineering prowess grew, Telford was to return to this material repeatedly, in 1795 the bridge at Bewdley in Worcestershire was swept away in the winter floods and Telford was responsible for the design of its replacement. The same winter floods saw the bridge at Tenbury swept away and this bridge across the River Teme was the joint responsibility of both Worcestershire and Shropshire and the bridge has a bend where the two counties meet.
Telford was responsible for the repair to the end of the bridge. Extending for over 1,000 feet with an altitude of 126 feet above the valley floor, the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct consists of nineteen arches, each with a forty-five foot span. Being a pioneer in the use of cast-iron for large scaled structures, Telford had to invent new techniques, such as using boiling sugar, eminent canal engineer William Jessop oversaw the project, but he left the detailed execution of the project in Telfords hands. The aqueduct was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009, the same period saw Telford involved in the design and construction of the Shrewsbury Canal. When the original engineer, Josiah Clowes, died in 1795, the aqueduct is no longer in use, but is preserved as a distinctive piece of canal engineering. The Ellesmere Canal was completed in 1805 and alongside his canal responsibilities and these included water supply works for Liverpool, improvements to Londons docklands and the rebuilding of London Bridge
Nazi Germany is the common English name for the period in German history from 1933 to 1945, when Germany was governed by a dictatorship under the control of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. Under Hitlers rule, Germany was transformed into a fascist state in which the Nazi Party took totalitarian control over all aspects of life. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich from 1933 to 1943, the period is known under the names the Third Reich and the National Socialist Period. The Nazi regime came to an end after the Allied Powers defeated Germany in May 1945, Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by the President of the Weimar Republic Paul von Hindenburg on 30 January 1933. The Nazi Party began to eliminate all opposition and consolidate its power. Hindenburg died on 2 August 1934, and Hitler became dictator of Germany by merging the powers and offices of the Chancellery, a national referendum held 19 August 1934 confirmed Hitler as sole Führer of Germany. All power was centralised in Hitlers person, and his word became above all laws, the government was not a coordinated, co-operating body, but a collection of factions struggling for power and Hitlers favour.
In the midst of the Great Depression, the Nazis restored economic stability and ended mass unemployment using heavy military spending, extensive public works were undertaken, including the construction of Autobahnen. The return to economic stability boosted the regimes popularity, especially antisemitism, was a central feature of the regime. The Germanic peoples were considered by the Nazis to be the purest branch of the Aryan race, millions of Jews and other peoples deemed undesirable by the state were murdered in the Holocaust. Opposition to Hitlers rule was ruthlessly suppressed, members of the liberal and communist opposition were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. The Christian churches were oppressed, with many leaders imprisoned, education focused on racial biology, population policy, and fitness for military service. Career and educational opportunities for women were curtailed and tourism were organised via the Strength Through Joy program, and the 1936 Summer Olympics showcased the Third Reich on the international stage.
Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels made effective use of film, mass rallies, the government controlled artistic expression, promoting specific art forms and banning or discouraging others. Beginning in the late 1930s, Nazi Germany made increasingly aggressive territorial demands and it seized Austria and Czechoslovakia in 1938 and 1939. Hitler made a pact with Joseph Stalin and invaded Poland in September 1939. In alliance with Italy and smaller Axis powers, Germany conquered most of Europe by 1940, reichskommissariats took control of conquered areas, and a German administration was established in what was left of Poland. Jews and others deemed undesirable were imprisoned, murdered in Nazi concentration camps and extermination camps, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the tide gradually turned against the Nazis, who suffered major military defeats in 1943
Emergency medical services in the United Kingdom
Emergency care including ambulance and emergency department treatment is free to everyone, regardless of immigration or visitor status. The NHS commissions most emergency services through the 14 NHS organisations with ambulance responsibility across the UK. As with other services, the public normally access emergency medical services through one of the valid emergency telephone numbers. This led to the formation of predominantly county based ambulance services, which gradually merged up and changed responsibilities until 2006, when there were 31 NHS ambulance trusts in England. Following further changes as part of the NHS foundation trust pathway, the commissioners in each region are responsible for contracting with a suitable organisation to provide ambulance services within their geographical territory. The primary contract for each area is held by a public NHS body, of which there are 11 in England. The service was operated before reorganisation in 1974 by the St Andrews’ Ambulance Association under contract to the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service was established in 1995 by parliamentary order, and serves the whole of Northern Ireland.
The Welsh Ambulance Service NHS Trust was established on 1 April 1998, there is a large market for private and voluntary ambulance services, with the sector being worth £800m to the UK economy in 2012. This places the voluntary providers in direct competition with private services, expenditure on private ambulances in England increased from £37m in 2011−12 to £67. 5m in 2013/4, rising in London from £796,000 to more than £8. 8m. In 2014−15, these 10 ambulance services spent £57.6 million on 333,329 callouts of private or voluntary services - an increase of 156% since 2010−11, in 2013, the CQC found 97% of private ambulance services to be providing good care. These private, registered services are represented by the Independent Ambulance Association, there are a number of unregistered services operating, who do not provide ambulance transport, but only provide response on an event site. These firms are not regulated, and are not subject to the checks as the registered providers, although they may operate similar vehicles.
There are a number of ambulance providers, sometimes known as Voluntary Aid Services or Voluntary Aid Societies, with the main ones being the British Red Cross. The history of the ambulance services pre-dates any government organised service. As they are in competition for work with the private ambulance providers. Voluntary organisations have provided cover for the public when unionised NHS ambulance trust staff have taken industrial action, there are a number of smaller voluntary ambulance organisations, fulfilling specific purposes, such as Hatzola who provide emergency medical services to the orthodox Jewish community in some cities. These have however run into difficulties due to use of vehicles not legally recognised as ambulances, all emergency medical services in the UK are subject to a range of legal and regulatory requirements, and in many cases are monitored for performance. This framework is largely statutory in nature, being mandated by government through a range of primary and secondary legislation and this requires all providers to register, to meet certain standards of quality, and to submit to inspection of those standards
London postal district
The London postal district is the area in England of 241 square miles to which mail addressed to the LONDON post town is delivered. It was integrated by the Post Office into the national system of the United Kingdom during the early 1970s and corresponds to the N, NW, SW, SE, W, WC, E. The postal district has known as the London postal area. The County of London was much smaller at 117 square miles, by the 1850s, the rapid growth of the metropolitan area meant it became too large to operate efficiently as a single post town. A Post Office inquiry into the problem had been set up in 1837, in 1854 Charles Canning, the Postmaster General, set up a committee at the Post Office in St. Martins Le Grand to investigate how London could best be divided for the purposes of directing mail. In 1856, of the 470 million items of mail sent in the United Kingdom during the year, approximately one fifth were for delivery in London, the General Post Office thus at the control of the Postmaster General devised the area in 1856 project-managed by Sir Rowland Hill.
Hill produced an almost perfectly circular area of 12 miles radius from the central post office at St. Martins Le Grand, within the district it was divided into two central areas and eight compass points which operated much like separate post towns. Each was constituted London with a suffix indicating the area it covered, the system was introduced during 1857 and completed on 1 January 1858. The remaining eight letter prefixes have not changed, at the same time, the London postal district boundary was retracted in the east, removing places such as Ilford for good. In 1868 the S district was split between SE and SW, the NE and S codes have been re-used in the national postcode system and now refer to the NE postcode area around Newcastle upon Tyne and the S postcode area around Sheffield. In 1917, as a measure to improve efficiency, the districts were further subdivided with a number applied to each sub-district. Exceptionally and esoterically, W2 and SW11 are head districts, the numbered sub-districts became the outward code of the postcode system as expanded into longer codes during the 1970s.
Ad hoc changes have taken place to the organisation of the districts, subdivisions of postcode sub-districts Owing to heavier demand, seven high-density postcode districts in central London have been subdivided to create new, smaller postcode districts. This is achieved by adding a letter after the postcode district. Where such sub-districts are used such as on street signs and maps. The districts subdivided are E1, N1, EC SW1, W1, WC1, there are solely non-geographic suffixed sub-districts for PO boxes in NW1 and SE1. The London postal district has never been aligned with the London boundary, when the initial system was designed, the London boundary was restricted to the square mile of the small, ancient City of London. The wider metropolitan area covered parts of Middlesex, Kent, Essex
The Jubilee line is a London Underground line. Opened in 1979, it is the newest line on the network, although sections of track date back to 1932. The stations are larger and have special safety features, both aspects being attempts to future-proof the line, the Jubilee line is coloured silver/grey on the Tube map, to mark the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II after which the line was named. Between Finchley Road and Wembley Park, the Jubilee line shares its route with the Metropolitan line, between Canning Town and Stratford, the line runs parallel to the Stratford International branch of the Docklands Light Railway. In 1932, the Metropolitan Railway built a branch from its line at Wembley Park to Stanmore. The line, as many others in the northwest London area, was designed to absorb commuter traffic from the new. At first, the Metropolitan had advocated a new line roughly following the line of the Edgware Road between the tube station and a point near Willesden Green. Indeed, construction advanced as far as the rebuilding of Edgware Road station to accommodate 4 platforms of 8-car length, things changed, with the formation of the London Passenger Transport Board and the subsequent absorption of the Metropolitan.
The solution was now a new branch of the Bakerloo line from Baker Street to serve new stations at St, the new line rose between the Metropolitan tracks at Finchley Road, providing cross-platform interchange with the Metropolitan line. At Wembley Park, the new Bakerloo would run on to serve Kingsbury, Canons Park and Stanmore, the Bakerloo extension, built as above, opened in 1939. The planning for the Tube network immediately before and after World War II considered several new routes, Line C opened as the Victoria line, in stages, from 1968 to 1972. Work on the northeast–southwest route continued, the new line was to have been called the Fleet line after the River Fleet. In 1971, construction began on the new Fleet line, economic pressure and doubt over the final destination of the line had led to a staged approach. Under the first stage, the Baker Street-to-Stanmore branch of the Bakerloo line was joined at Baker Street to a new 2, the new tube was to offer cross-platform interchange between the Bakerloo and Fleet at Baker Street, as pioneered on the Victoria line.
The work was completed in 1979, as part of the works, Trafalgar Square and Strand stations were combined into a single station complex, Charing Cross. The existing Charing Cross station on the sub-surface District and Circle lines was renamed Embankment, another part of the works included a section of test tunnel, built near New Cross. When the planned route was altered, this section was abandoned as it was effectively useless. However, this idea was rejected because of the costs involved
Tower of London
The Tower of London, officially Her Majestys Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle located on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the edge of the square mile of the City of London by the open space known as Tower Hill. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror in 1078 and was a resented symbol of oppression. The castle was used as a prison from 1100 until 1952, a grand palace early in its history, it served as a royal residence. As a whole, the Tower is a complex of buildings set within two concentric rings of defensive walls and a moat. There were several phases of expansion, mainly under Kings Richard the Lionheart, Henry III, the general layout established by the late 13th century remains despite activity on the site. The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history and it was besieged several times, and controlling it has been important to controlling the country.
The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a record office. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II, in the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle. This was a powerful and trusted position in the medieval period, in the late 15th century, the castle was the prison of the Princes in the Tower. Under the Tudors, the Tower became used less as a royal residence and this use has led to the phrase sent to the Tower. Executions were more commonly held on the notorious Tower Hill to the north of the castle, in the latter half of the 19th century, institutions such as the Royal Mint moved out of the castle to other locations, leaving many buildings empty. Anthony Salvin and John Taylor took the opportunity to restore the Tower to what was felt to be its medieval appearance, in the First and Second World Wars, the Tower was again used as a prison and witnessed the executions of 12 men for espionage.
After the Second World War, damage caused during the Blitz was repaired, the Tower of London is one of the countrys most popular tourist attractions. Under the ceremonial charge of the Constable of the Tower, it is cared for by the charity Historic Royal Palaces and is protected as a World Heritage Site. The Tower was orientated with its strongest and most impressive defences overlooking Saxon London and it would have visually dominated the surrounding area and stood out to traffic on the River Thames. The castle is made up of three wards, or enclosures, the innermost ward contains the White Tower and is the earliest phase of the castle
The Blackstone Group
The Blackstone Group L. P. is an American multinational private equity, alternative asset management and financial services firm based in New York City. As the largest alternative investment firm in the world, Blackstone specializes in equity, credit. Blackstone was founded in 1985 as a mergers and acquisitions boutique by Peter G. Peterson and Stephen A. Schwarzman, over the course of two decades, Blackstone has evolved into one of the worlds largest private equity investment firms. In 2007, Blackstone completed a $4 billion initial public offering to become one of the first major private equity firms to list shares in its management company on a public exchange. Hamilton E. James is the current president, chief operating officer, as of 2011, Blackstone is the worlds fifth-largest private equity firm by committed capital, focusing primarily on leveraged buyouts of more mature companies. The firm invests through minority investments, corporate partnerships, and industry consolidations, the firm focuses on friendly investments in large capitalization companies.
Blackstones private equity business employs approximately 120 investment employees in New York City, Menlo Park, Mumbai, Hong Kong, in 2009 Blackstone purchased Busch Entertainment. In 2012, Blackstone acquired a controlling interest in Utah-based Vivint, Inc. a home automation, former notable investments include Universal Studios Parks, which was sold to Comcast. The real estate business has raised approximately $28 billion for a variety of vehicles, including six US-focused funds. Blackstone raised a real estate special situations fund focusing on non-controlling debt, the special situations fund invests directly in real estate as well as private and publicly traded real estate-related securities. The purchase and subsequent profitable IPO of Southern Cross led to controversy in the UK, part of the purchase involved splitting the business into a property company, NHP, and a care home business, which Blackstone claimed would become the leading company in the elderly care market. In May 2011, Southern Cross, now independent, was almost bankrupt and it denied blame, although Blackstone was widely accused in the media for selling on the company with an unsustainable business model and crippled with an impossible sale and leaseback strategy.
After the subprime mortgage crisis, Blackstone Group LP has bought more than $5.5 billion single-family homes for rent, to be sold when the prices rise. Blackstone has agreed to sell a selection of Northern California office buildings for the sum of $3.5 billion, in 1990, Blackstone created a fund of hedge funds business to manage the internal assets for Blackstone and its senior managers. Over the years, this evolved into Blackstones marketable alternative asset management segment. Among the investments included in this segment are funds of funds, mezzanine funds, senior debt vehicles, proprietary hedge funds. The combination of Blackstone and GSO created one of the largest credit platforms in the asset management business. GSO was founded in 2005 by Bennett Goodman, Tripp Smith, the GSO team had previously managed the leveraged finance businesses at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette and Credit Suisse First Boston, after the acquisition of DLJ