The appearance presented by the streets of London an hour before sunrise, on a summer’s morning, is most striking even to the few whose unfortunate pursuits of pleasure, or scarcely less unfortunate pursuits of business, cause them to be well acquainted with the scene. There is an air of cold, solitary desolation about the noiseless streets which we are accustomed to see thronged at other times by a busy, eager crowd, and over the quiet, closely-shut buildings, which throughout the day are swarming with life and bustle, that is very impressive.
Charles Dickens (1812-1870), Sketches by Boz
In this city 300 languages are spoken and the people that speak them live side by side in harmony. This city typifies what I believe is the future of the human race and a future where we grow together and we share and we learn from each other.
Ken Livingston (b.1945), press conference, 8th July, 2005
In many ways, London is like a great big pinata, and everyone who lives here is like an excited, blindfolded child with a heart full of hope and a big flailing stick. Aim that stick right and London will split at the seams like a ruptured spleen, showering you with the most extraordinary places to visit, places like you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Get it wrong and the chances are you’ll lose your footing and end up in a frustrated, eyeless heap.
Paul Carr (b.1979), London by London
London is like a cold dark dream sometimes.
Jean Rhys (1890-1979), Wide Sargasso Sea
I journeyed to London, to the timekept City, / Where the River flows, with foreign flotations. / There I was told: we have too many churches, / And too few chop-houses.
T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), The Rock