P1 – Have you ever been to London?
P2 – No, we haven’t. It’s our first visit to this city and we’d like to know as much as possible about it.
P1 – As you certainly know, London is the capital of Great Britain, its political and business centre. It is one of the largest cities in the world. More than 11 rnln people live in London.
P2-Has London always been such a big city?
P1 – No, of course. When Julius Caesar and his people came to Britain in the year of 55 B. C., they built a small town on the River Thames. The name of the town was Londinium. The place for the town was very good.
The Romans built a lot of roads from Londinium to other parts of Britain and a bridge over the River Thames. The town got bigger and bigger. By the year 400, there were 50 thousand people in Londinium. Soon after the year 400 the Romans left Britain. – The River Thames has always been part of London’s history
and the centre of London.
Until 1749, there was only one bridge over the river: London Bridge. The old London Bridge looked very strange. There were houses and shops standing right on the bridge. During the years it was several times destroyed.
Each new bridge was reconstructed of new material: timber, elm, stone. The bridge you can see now was opened in 1973.
Song: ‘London Bridge’
P3 – How interesting. Do you know any more about the history of London? P4-Of course, we do. At the beginning of the 11th century England was already a big country and London was a very important city.
In 1066 William the Conqueror and his people went to England from Normandy in France. William the Conqueror became King of England. The King lived in London.
Many of his people lived in London too. But William was afraid of the English, of the people of London and he built the White Tower to live in it. P3-Is there this building in London nowadays?
P4 – Oh, yes! It is the Tower of London. Now it is the museum.
You can see a lot of interesting things in the
halls of the White Tower. The Tower was a fortress, a palace, a prison and the King’s Zoo.
P5 – You know, when the Tower was the zoo, King Henry III kept a white bear there. From time to time the bear was taken out of the Tower to swim in the River Thames!
P6 – And I have heard that you can see ghosts in the halls of the Tower!
– It’s true indeed! Many, many years ago England was ruled by King Henry VIII. He liked to get married. He had six wives.
But it was impossible to have many wives at once. That’s why, when he had had enough of his wife, he killed her and married again. So, he killed his second wife Anne Boleyn, he chopped her head.
And now the ghost of Anne Boleyn wandered along the halls of the White Tower with the chopped head in her hands.
P3 – What a terrible story!
P7 – The Tower is really full of mysteries. One of the old English legends says that London can be the capital of the country, rich and great until twelve black ravens live in the Tower of London. Each raven has got its name. If one of the birds dies, another younger raven takes its place.
The keepers cut the birds’ wings a bit as they are afraid that they may fly away.
P8 – I have seen a lot of London sights on the postcards. Has London always been such a beautiful city?
P9 – No. Have you ever heard about the Great Fire of London? In the 17th century people usually built houses of wood, and they often were near one another.
Sometimes there were fires in the city, but they were usually very small. On Saturday, 2nd September 1666 there was a strong wind from the river and a big fire began. It started in the house of the king’s baker, near London Bridge. The baker’s wife woke up in the middle of the night because the house was on fire.
Soon the next house started burning and then the next and the next… The fire burnt for four days and destroyed 80% of the city. After the Great Fire people built a new city.
A lot of beautiful buildings were built then.
P10 – Do you know that London is in fact three cities: the City of London, the East End and the West End?
P 11 – Really? It’s very interesting!
P10 – The heart of London is the City, It is the oldest part of London, its historical and business centre. There are many banks and other offices there. Many people work in the City but very few live there.
That’s why it is very busy part of London in the daytime and in the evening and night it is almost empty.
P12 The West End is the richest and most beautiful part of London. There are many rich shops, fine houses and palaces, gardens and parks, theatres, concert halls and restaurants in the West End.
P13 The East End is the industrial part of London, the district of factories and docks. Working
People live in the East End.
P14 – What is the political centre of London?
P15 – The political centre of London is Westminster. And a long grey building with towers is the
Place where the Houses of Parliament are situated.
P14 – I know that the large clock in one of the towers is Big Ben.
P15 – Oh, yes. Big Ben is the name of the clock and the bell of the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament.
P1 4 – What a strange name!
P15 – The clock and the bell got their names after Sir Benjamin Hall. He was a tall man, whose nickname was Big Ben. So people know the clock as Big Ben.
Р16 – Do you know anything about Westminster Abbey?
P17 – It is one of the most beautiful and famous churches in London. It is very old too.
P16 – How old is it?
P17 – It is more than nine hundred years old.
P16 – What is it famous for?
P17 – There are many monuments and statues there. Many English kings and queens are buried there. Westminster Abbey is famous for the Poet’s Corner too. Many great writers are buried there: for example Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling.
The Abbey with its two tall towers is really wonderful.
P2 – What is the most beautiful place in London?
P3 – Some people say it is Trafalgar Square. In the middle of the square stands a tall column, ft is a monument to Admiral Nelson who defeated the French at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805.The column is very tall. So the Admiral can see the sea.
There are two beautiful fountains in the square. They are in front of the National Gallery which is one of the best picture galleries in the world.
P8 – Does the Queen live far from Trafalgar Square?
P5 – Not very. She lives in Buckingham palace. It takes you ten or twenty minutes to get from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace.
It’s interesting to know that when the flag is flying on the top of the Palace, the Queen is at home. You can see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. This breathtaking ceremony takes place every day throughout the year.
P1 – There are so many interesting places to see and visit in London, but you can’t do all during one short trip.