No city can lay claim to a more dramatic history than London. Engulfed in calamities that seemed to mark its end - fire, plague, riot, civil war - from each crisis, it has emerged stronger than ever. Its cultural life, and the long heritage that underpins it, has made London one of the most visited and best-loved places on Earth. It is this extraordinary story that London: the Story of a Great City encapsulates, the rise of the city from a remote outpost of Rome's rthern empire, the growth of trade that sent money and ships to every corner of the earth, the roll-call of great Londoners from Shakespeare to Dickens, from Cromwell to Churchill, the strength of its institutions, with Parliament prominent among them, the endurance of its people in the face of disaster and war, its invations in enterprise and pleasure, its dark side in crime and mayhem, and the positive example it gives the world as a tolerant city in the face of global movements of people. The Museum of London's uniquely rich collections will illuminate the whole of London's history through artefacts, documents, maps, paintings and photographs.
Jerry White is Visiting Professor in London History at Birkbeck College, University of London. His London in the 20th Century won the Wolfson Prize for 2001; his bestselling London in the 19th Century was published to critical acclaim in 2007.