22. November 2019

London ─ Living through History

I moved to London from Stockholm at the beginning of April 2014. I left university life behind and moved on. Back then I had no idea how long I would live in London. And even less of an idea, what changes there were in store for me. I am now soon leaving London─although only time wil tell for how long. It seems only appropriate to add some closing thoughts on this chapter.

History is larger than you and me. My own life in London was of course insignificant when you put it into the context of the city’s long history. So when I tell my story, we shall not forget that London has seen almost two millennia. London began as a Roman settlement almost two thousand years ago, a few decades after the Roman Republic had left way for the Roman Empire. Far more recently, London was the centre of the British Empire. But alas, the British Empire saw the fate that all empires will eventually see. London has seen far-reaching changes in the past decades but retained its role as a current financial hub.

There are few cities I can think of which have accumulated such an amount of history in a single place. But London cannot tell its story, we must explore London’s history in order to dive into the depth of passed times. A depth that makes the surface area of London in the present along with its over eight million inhabitants look diminishingly small.

Insignificant as my own history might be in such an awe-inspiring context let me contribute to exploring─and in fact telling London’s history─through my own eyes. Subjective, heavily skewed, sometimes utterly banal, but always curious and observant. My tale will cover adventures in London and outside London.

To put some structure, I will divide my five-and-something years into my time in Southwest London, in North London, and East London; and pick a few adventures that I started from these respective bases.

I am incredibly grateful to have both sought and been given the opportunity to live in London. If every Londoner was to write up their thoughts, we would have an unbelievable eight-and-something million reports. I’m sure that this still would only scratch at the surface of the history pent up and buried under the many layers on which present-day London is built. I hope that I can entertain you by sharing some of my experiences with you─regardless of where you are.

I shall make an extra effort to focus on the intersection where history and my own life meet─if only by location. Where my words run out, I will make use of pictures.