Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

I <3 London

September 17, 2010 · 4 Comments

I went souvenir shopping recently on Oxford Street. Just like the streets of other major cities I’ve been to, there were shops and shops selling similar merch

andise boasting London’s places of interest and culture. The classic I <3 [enter city’s name here] shirts lined the walls of these stores. There were hats and sweatshirts, along with underwear and key chains. The shelves were lined with little figurines of London’s attractions. I bought my girlfriend a snow-globe with the London Eye, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, a red double-decker bus, and a red telephone booth inside of it. As I was in bed the other night, I looked over at it and I started to think…

What would New York have in it’s snow-globe? What about Chicago? Even cities like Athens, what would these places put inside to represent themselves? I could only think of the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State building, and a yellow taxi for New York. Chicago would have the Sears Tower of course, and Athens would include the Acropolis. The fact is, London has many more recognizable places of interest and cultural emblems than any other city I can think of. This snow-globe I gave to my girlfriend could included only a few of the spots.

Because of its long history, London has been able to accumulate these over its existence. Just looking at the snow-globe, there are different eras of London’s history right inside of it. Big Ben, though there was a tower on the site since 1288, was raised in 1834. Tower Bridge was opened in 1894 to satisfy the increase in commerce in the East End. The red telephone booth, actually called a telephone box, was first introduced to the city in 1920 and the red bus has been a stable to the city since the early 1950s. And then there is the London Eye, which is extremely modern, in 1999, when it becoming the tallest ferris wheel in the world until 2006. Though the figures inside the glob are random, it shows how the city embraces all of its cultural icons. I’m sure that if the Roman walls were still standing, they would be included inside.

So, what would you put in your snow-globe? I would put the Tower of London, Westminster Abby, the Millennium Bridge, and I’d probably keep Big Ben in there too. I’d probably throw in a royal guard with that large black hat as well. London doesn’t make it easy to choose, but we all have our favorites.

Categories: 2010 David · Uncategorized

4 responses so far ↓

  •   seann // Sep 17th 2010 at 18:02

    I would include the BFI and a statue of Oscar Wilde.

  •   bowmanc // Sep 18th 2010 at 10:37

    I’d put parliament, london bridge, the abbey, big ben, st. paul’s, and maybe a bus. I think your observations are spot-on. London definitely has more iconic images than most major cities in the world. I really like the distinction on how long the objects, rather than the city itself, have been standing. I think this makes a key difference. NYC keeps building on top of itself, and though London does this as well, it seems the city has tried to preserve many of the less-recent buildings (parliament, big ben, etc.).

  •   stepheniem // Sep 19th 2010 at 16:56

    I agree- London’s long history gives it these amazing icons and I feel like if we went back 100 years the icons would be different. Further back, yet again different things. For me, I’d include Big Ben, the Tower, and Westminster Abbey.

  •   hollymb // Sep 19th 2010 at 17:39

    The Tower of London, the Globe, Tower Bridge, Big Ben, a telephone booth, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and a sign for the Underground.

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