London - A TALE OF TWO CITIES 1: The Power of Finance

Season 1, Ep. 1

In this walk, we explore how the cities of London and Westminster birthed the first global city. In this episode, how the square mile grew to control the world’s trade and finance.

We wind our way through the City of London, starting at the Monument to the Great Fire of London and ending at St Paul’s Cathedral. From 1500 or so, English merchants, cut off from Europe, were scrambling to exploit the rest of the world. A century later, the city started to develop the institutions it needed to facilitate trade, to finance the state, and to govern its own affairs. Come the 19th century, rail and telegraph, industry and empire transformed the city into the square mile we know today. But even as the temples of finance continue to reach for the sky – and as the City tries to maintain its place in the world – it’s still the product of older, smaller stories.

This series was produced in collaboration with the Institute of Historical Research. Find out more at: layersoflondon.org

Click here for the map and full transcript.

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PRODUCER: Jelena Sofronijevic

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