The United Kingdom of Grteat Britain and Northern Ireland
New words and word-combinations to be remembered:
shopping centre торговий центр
to be proud of пишатись (чимось)
in keeping with відповідно до
to be crowded бути переповненим
places of interest визначні місця
to exhibit виставляти
London, the capital of Great Britain is a large and ancient city with the population of about 9 million. It lies on the Thames. It is the seat of the Government, a great industrial and cultural centre, and one of Britain’s most important ports. It is more than two thousand years old. London was not built as a city. It began life as a Roman fortification at a place where it was possible to cross the River Thames. The wall was built around the town for defence. Afterwards people built outside the walls.
London has been the home of many outstanding Englishmen, One of them is Geoffry Chaucer, a poet. He lived most of his life in London, held official posts and is buried in Westminster Abbey. W. Shakespeare lived in London for more than 20 years. He acted at the Globe, wrote his plays. But London’s famous men are not' only writers. Ch. Wren, a well-known English architect, designed many palaces, fine houses, beautiful churches including St. Paulis Cathedral. 'Another famous London figure is admiral Nelson, whose memorial is in Trafalgar Square. Equally famous is-the general who led the army at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. This was the Duke of Wellington. His house"' stands at Hyde Park Corner. Like admiral Nelson he is, also buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral. The British capital is proud of such glorious people.
These days not many people live in the city centre. London has spread into the country. It grows and that is why it doesn’t have one centre: there is the City — its financial and business centre, the West End is the shopping and entertaining centre, the government centre is in Westminster. London’s industrial centre is the East End.
The City, which is the centre of Britain’s banks and monopolies, occupies only a small part of the Metropolis. O'er a million people enter the City in the daytime on business. At night it is practically deserted. In keeping with tradition, no reigning monarch may enter the City without the permission of the Lord Mayor, whose functions are mainly ceremonial nowadays. The Mansion House is the official residence of the Lord Mayor during his term of office. His term of office is only one year. Elections take place every year and there’s a great ceremony on that day. The Lord Mayor in traditional clothes drives slowly through the crowded streets to receive the keys of the city.
The richest part of London is the West End where you can find the expensive hotels, museums, galleries, theatres, fashionable shops, music-halls, night-clubs, restaurants. The contrast between the West End and the East End is striking though the district of factories and slum houses has changed.
London is also a large educational and scientific centre of the country. The University of London, the Polytechnic College provide education on the University level. There are also some Royal Academies of art, music, drama, etc. and numerous scientific institutions and societies in all branches of science, engineering and humanities.
London is a big cultural centre. It is an international centre for theatre, opera and dance. The Royal National Theatre stages modem classical plays. The Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Opera, Covent Garden and the English National Opera are the main opera companies.
Bntish pop musicians and groups — some of the most popular being George Michael, Phil Collins, Wet Wet Wet and the Pet Shop Boys. There are about 2,500 museums and art galleries. But tickets are expensive. Cinema seats are much cheaper.
Among the picture galleries of London the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery are the most famous. The National Gallery houses a rich collection of paintings which represents more schools of painting than any other European Gallery. It exhibits paintings by almost all the great European masters. The Tate Gallery exhibits paintings by English, French and other famous masters. .Among the museums the British Museum and the National History' Museum are worth visiting.
Answer the following questions:
1. What kind of city is London?
2. Where is London situated?
3. What is the population of London?
4. How old is London?
5. What parts is London divided into?
6. What can you tell about the City?
7. What famous people lived in London?'
8. What city is the seat of the Government?
9. What is there in the West End?
10. What is there in the East End?
11. What famous English writers lived in London?
12. What places of interest are there in London?