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flag  History of London, England

Journey back in time to London, England

Visit London, England. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

Do You Have London Roots? Share MY Ancestral Story!

London, England - Royal Exchange, looking Southward The Beauties of England and Wales (1801-1815)

London, England

In 1845, the rubber band is was invented by Stephen Perry of London.

Fun fact: Big Ben is the name of the bell in London, not the tower.

There is MUCH more to discover about London, England. Read on!

London Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards

Royal Exchange, looking Southward
The Beauties of England and Wales (1801-1815)
London, England

Royal Exchange, looking Southward
The Beauties of England and Wales (1801-1815)
William Henry Bartlett print
London, England

William Henry Bartlett print
Peek, Frean & Co., Biscuit Manufacturers
London, England
London, England

Peek, Frean & Co., Biscuit Manufacturers
London, England
Brain Salt
London, England

Brain Salt

London, England

(IL) - Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois

London, England

(IL) - Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois
London, 1901
London, England

London, 1901
General View of the Tower, London
London, England

General View of the Tower, London
The Bank of England (1910)
London, England

The Bank of England (1910)
Blackfriars Bridge, London
London, England

Blackfriars Bridge, London

Discover London: History, News, Travel, and Stories

Add informationAdd History/News/Story
1550 - The population of London is about 120,000
The population of London may have reached 120,000 by the middle of the 16th century and about 250,000 by 1600. In the Middle Ages the church owned about 1/ 4 of the land in London. When Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries it released a great deal of land for new buildings.
1571 - The Royal Exchange is built
Wool was still the main export from London but there were also exports of 'Excellent saffron in small quantities, a great quantity of lead and tin, sheep and rabbit skins without number, with various other sorts of fine peltry (skins) and leather, beer, cheese and other sorts of provisions'. The Royal Exchange where merchants could buy and sell goods opened in 1571.
1600 - The population of London is about 250,000
Nevertheless the suburbs outside London continued to grow. In the late 16th century rich men began to build houses along the Strand and by 1600 London was linked to Westminster by a strip of houses.
1603 - Plague strikes London
All this happened despite outbreaks of bubonic plague. It broke out in 1603, 1633 and 1665 but each time the population of London quickly recovered.
1633 - Plague strikes again (London)
1635 - Hyde Park is opened to the public (London)
Banqueting House was built in 1622. In 1635 the king opened Hyde Park to the public. In 1637 Charles I created Richmond Park for hunting. Also in 1637 Queens House was completed in nearby Greenwich.
In 1636 John Greene leased the property on the site of what was later to be the Stag Brewhouse and Brewery.
"He was succeeded in 1641 by his son, William - later Sir Greene - who built the brewhouse and took his cousin, John Greene into partnership in 1646. John Greene built another brewery at Kensington Gravel pits, London. The brewhouse expanded, the partnership owning over 16 acres by the end of the 18th century. The Watney family were the main partners in the Stag Brewery of Pimlico for much of the 19th century. In 1837 James Watney became a partner in the brewery with John Lettsom Elliot and Charles Lambert, as later did his sons James and Norman in 1856. The brewery was known as Elliot, Watney & Co from about 1849. John L. Elliot withdrew from the business in 1850 and for 8 years remained a partner in name only. He finally retired in 1858 and the firm became known as James Watney & Co. James Watney then kept the management almost entirely to himself until his death, at well over eighty years, in 1884. After his death in 1884 Watney & Co Ltd. became a private limited company in 1885."
Dickens' London on Facebook
1642 - Civil War (London)
Then in 1642 Civil War began between king and parliament. The royalists made one attempt to capture London in 1643 but their army was met 6 miles west of St Pauls by a much larger parliamentary army. The royalists withdrew. However the Puritan government of 1646-1660 was hated by many ordinary people and when Charles II came to London from France in 1660 an estimated 20,000 people gathered in the streets to meet him. All the churches in London rang their bells.
1665 - Great Plague struck London; over 75,000 died webimage/ countrys/ europe/ england/ uketimeln2.htm
1666 - The Great Fire of London destroys about 13,200 houses
In 1666 came the great fire of London. It began on 2 September in a baker's house in Pudding Lane. At first it did not cause undue alarm. The Lord Mayor was awoken and said "Pish! A woman might piss it out!". But the wind caused the flames to spread rapidly. People formed chains with leather buckets and worked hand operated pumps all to no avail. The mayor was advised to use gunpowder to create fire breaks but he was reluctant, fearing the owners of destroyed buildings would sue for compensation. The fire continued to spread until the king took charge. He ordered sailors to make fire breaks. At the same time the wind dropped.

About 13,200 houses had been destroyed and 70-80,000 people had been made homeless. The king ordered the navy to make tents and canvas available from their stores to help the homeless who camped on open spaces around the city. Temporary markets were set up so the homeless could buy food. but the crowds of homeless soon dispersed. Most of the houses in London... Read MORE...

1685 - Oil lamps are used to light the streets of London
In the 17th century wealthy Londoners obtained piped water for the first time. It was brought by canal from the countryside then was carried by hollow tree trunks under the streets. You had to pay to have your house connected. After 1685 oil lamps lighted the streets. Hackney carriages became common in the streets of London.
1699 - Billingsgate is made a fish market (London)
Billingsgate was a general market until 1699 when an Act of Parliament made it a fish market.
1700 - The population of London is about 600,000
The population of London rose from about 600,000 in 1700 to 950,000 in 1800. The fashionable suburbs spread north along Tottenham Court Road and north west to the village of Paddington. By 1800 growth had spread to Islington and Chelsea. In the east growth spread to Stepney, Ratcliffe, Limehouse and Wapping. In the south the city spread to Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, Walworth and Kennington.
1703 - Buckingham Palace is built
1705 - Apr 23 - Richard Steele's "Tender Husband" premieres in London
1711 - St Paul's Cathedral is completed
1717 - June 24 - 1st Free Masons' grand lodge founded in London
June 24, 1717
1718 - May 15 - James Puckle, a London lawyer, patents world's 1st machine gun
May 15, 1718
1726 - October 28 - "Gulliver's Travels" by Jonathan Swift is published by Benjamin Motte in London
October 28, 1726
1843 - March 25 – Marc Isambard Brunel's Thames Tunnel, the first tunnel under the River Thames and the world's first bored underwater tunnel, is opened in London.
March 25, 1843
1843 - December 17 – Charles Dickens' novella A Christmas Carol is first published, in London. Released on December 19 it sells out by Christmas Eve.
December 17, 1843
1844 - June 6 – George Williams founds the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in London.
June 6, 1844
1845 - The rubber band is invented (Stephen Perry, England)
"THE FIRST elastic bands, made from vulcanised rubber, were patented on March 17, 1845, by Stephen Perry of Messrs Perry & Co, rubber manufacturers of London. Production of rubber bands 'for papers, letters, etc' was inaugurated by the firm at about the same time.

Sean Tyler, Orpington, Kent."
1848 - February 21 – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish The Communist Manifesto (Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei) in London.
February 21, 1848
1859 - Big Ben begins keeping time
May 31, 1859: The Great Clock (aka Big Ben) in London officially began keeping time. (On July 11, the Great Bell first struck the hour.) The 315-foot-high tower, part of the Houses of Parliament building, has no elevator; there are 334 steps to the belfry. The four quarter bells, or chimes, ring out every 15 minutes. The Great Bell tolls every hour. The minute hand measures almost 14 feet long. The clock mechanism weighs 5.6 tons, and is wound three times a week. The clock's time is adjusted by changing the number of old pennies sitting on a shelf near the top of the pendulum. The tune played each hour is from the aria "I Know That My Redeemer Liveth," part of Handel's Messiah.

The Old Farmer's Almanac
May 31, 1859
1863 - The Football Association was is founded in London, England

1869 - More than fifteen hundred deaths occur in London every week.

St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
January 30, 1869
1869 - A handbill, of which the following is a copy, was lately posted in sundry places in London:
"Vive la Republique!
"The Queen will visit the city in state on Saturday, and on that day she will be shot. She seldom gives a chance. The opportunity won't be lost!

But the Queen was not shot, though she graced the opening of the Holborn viaduct with her presence.
St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
November 27, 1869
1872 - Enterprising Yankee
A Yankee has a street stand in London for the sale of pop-corn and roasted peanuts.
St Joseph Herald
Saint Joseph, Michigan
March 9, 1872
1881 - On entering the sea, bathers should go thoroughly into it, and not dabble about, to get chilled knee-deep in the water...
When an individual commences bathing, it is best that he or she take one or two plunges, and then leave the water. After the next two or three days, five minutes' immersion may be allowed, but it should be noticed if there is any feeling of chilliness. If so, the time should even be lessened, when a glow is felt after one or two plunges into the sea, but a coldness if the bather remains longer in the water. It may be well to take the bath twice a day; but for short intervals each time. The majority of persons, however, especially if they bathe in the afternoon, when the water is somewhat warmed, will be able to remain immersed for ten minutes, and this is quite long enough for the majority of persons... Much harm is done by a protracted stay in the water, so as to check the reaction of the skin. Instead of the sea water acting as a stimulant, it then acts as a depressant. The bather on coming out of the water should dress at once and rapidly... Reaction should be encouraged by... Read MORE...

March 13, 1882: Eadweard Muybridge's Zoopraxiscope, an early movie projector, debuted in London

The Old Farmer's Almanac
1887 - November 13 – Bloody Sunday: Police in London clash with radical and Irish nationalist protesters.
November 13, 1887
1888 - Jack the Ripper active in London; Commits series of brutal murders

1892 - October 31 – The first collection of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories from The Strand Magazine, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, is published in London.
October 31, 1892
1895 - London
London, the capital city of England, and the seat of government of the British empire; the city proper, with the major part of the metropolis being in the county of Middlesex, on the N. bank of the Thamse, here crossed by 13 bridges; but several extensive quarters are on the S. side of the river, and the whole capital occupies part of the coutnies of Middlesex, Esses, Surrey, and Kent...

Pop. of London in 1801, 958,863; in 1811, 1,138,815; in 1821, 1,378,947; in 1831, 1,654,994; in 1841, 1,948,369; in 1851, 2,362,236; in 1861, 2,803,989; in 1871, 3,254,260; in 1881, 3,814,571; in 1891, 4,231,431...
Lippincott's Gazetteer of the World: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World Containing Notices of Over One Hundred and Twenty-five Thousand Places ... Joseph Thomas January 1, 1895 J.B. Lippincott
1907 - March 22 – The first taxicabs with taxi meters begin operating in London.
March 22, 1907
1908 - January 24 – Start of publication of Robert Baden-Powell's Scouting for Boys in London. The book will over time sell over 100 million copies and effectively begin the worldwide Boy Scout movement.
January 24, 1908
1908 - April 27–October 31 – The 1908 Summer Olympics are held in London.
April 27, 1908
1912 - THE TITANIC SAILS TO-DAY. Largest Vessel In World to Bring Many Well-Known Persons Here.
Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES.

LONDON, April, 9. - The White Star liner Titanic, the largest vessel in the world, will sail at noon to-morrow from Southampton on her maiden voyage to New York.

Although essentially similar in design and construction to her sister ship, the Olympic, the Titanic is an improvement of the Olympic in many respects. Capt. Smith has been promoted from the Olympic to take her across. There are two pursers, H. W. McElroy and R. L. Baker.

Among the passengers to sail to-morrow on the Titanic are Mr. and Mrs. H. J. Allison, Mrs. Aubert, Major Archibald Butt, Mrs. Cardeza, Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Carter, Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Chaffess, Norman Craig, Mr. and Mrs. Washington Dodge, Mr. and Mrs. Mark Fortune, Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Douglas, Col. Gracie, Benjamin Guggenheim, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Harper, Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Hoyt, Mr. and Mrs. Isidor Straus, Mr. and Mrs. J. B. Thayer, and Mr. and Mrs. George Widener.
The New York Times
New York, New York
April 10, 1912
1921 - Peculiar London Names
London Town (England) has many curious names incorporated in its streets and squares which embody strange incidents or are of peculiar origin. The derivations of the name of the city itself would fill a page but one authority gives the name as derived from the Celtic Luan-dun, City of the Moon, and tradition has it that there was once a temple of Diana where St. Paul's now stands. Similarly Greenwich is supposed to be derived from Gran-wick, also Celtic, meaning City of the Sun. London's also to be derived from Lud's Town, so called from Lud, said to be a mythical king of Britain.
St Albans Daily Messenger
St Albans, Vermont
January 18, 1921
1922 - November 14 – The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) begins radio service in the United Kingdom, broadcasting from station 2LO in London.
November 14, 1922
1926 - January 16 – A BBC radio play about a worker's revolution causes a panic in London.
January 16, 1926
1944 - Italian Prisoners Strike for Beer
LONDON (AP) - Italian prisoners of war went on strike today at camp in southern England because their beer ration of half a pint daily was stopped. The prisoners refused to go to work in the fields, cut wood or do any other camp chores until the ration is restored.
The Berkshire Evening Eagle
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
March 14, 1944
2023 - Here's a list of some of the top things to do and places to visit in London:
The British Museum: Home to a vast collection of art and artifacts from around the world, including the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles.

The National Gallery: An art lover's paradise, featuring works by artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, and Claude Monet.

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A): Explore a diverse collection of art, design, and fashion from different cultures and time periods.

The Tate Modern: Contemporary art enthusiasts will enjoy this museum housed in a former power station, showcasing works by artists like Picasso, Warhol, and Hockney.

Buckingham Palace: Witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony outside the official residence of the British monarch.

Westminster Abbey: A stunning Gothic church where many royal ceremonies and important events have taken place.

The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben: Iconic symbols of London, you can take a guided tour and enjoy a view of the city from the Elizabeth Tower.

The Tower of London:...

Discover MY Roots: London Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in London, England

We currently have information about 152 ancestors who were born or died in London.

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Ancestors Who Were Married in London, England

We currently have information about ancestors who were married in London.

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Buy it NOW!ENGLAND in My Roots: Ancestral Heritage Mug - 11oz Ceramic

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Updated: 9/17/2023 12:26:35 PM