When we left 2007, Tony Blair had just stepped down as Prime Minister and the new Wembley Stadium had hosted its first few fixtures. It’s now 2008 – or at least it is on this blog. As you might recall we’re celebrating our 25th Birthday in bite-size 5 year chunks – reflecting on how the world has changed for all sorts of things. This is the penultimate part of our look back at the Big Events in London, so here comes 2008 – 2012…
2008 – After 8 years with ‘Red Ken’ at the helm as London Mayor, in a fairly close contest, Boris Johnson beat Mr Livingstone in the third Mayoral Election. The Capital’s first Tory leader became derided and loved in equal measure – mostly for his loveable buffoonery – but also his use of complex vocabulary to explain a point. Meanwhile – Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 opened, despite some teething troubles it’s become the Airport’s busiest terminal, handling over 33 million passengers every year.
2009 – After losing readership hand-over-fist to the likes of the free Metro publication, the London Evening Standard hit back – becoming a free complimentary paper. London hosted the G20 – the gathering of leaders from the World’s 20 leading economies – and saw a typically British protest encompassing financial inequality, bankers bonuses, war and climate change. Sadly, the summit became overshadowed for the wrong reason – with the death of bystander Steven Tomlinson. He died after being knocked to the ground by a Riot Policeman, an inquest subsequently found he had been unlawfully killed.
2010 – The so-called Boris Bike (the Barclays sponsored cycle scheme for London) was rolled out across the Capital and has become an established fixture. Down in our Southwark neck of the woods, the Strata building opened. The 43 Storey building incorporates three wind turbines – and like the Gherkin and Walkie Talkie – was given a nickname by Londoners. Monikered as ‘The Razor’ whilst the building does have a resemblance to the beard-busting small bathroom appliance – we wonder if ‘The Ear Trimmer’ may have been more accurate.
2011 – There were more protests hit London – this time over the proposed austerity cuts. Finally. In an odd twist of naming fate, trains on the Circle line stopped completing the circle. There was finally some good news as Prince William and Kate Middleton tied the knot at Westminster Abbey, If our reception counters could talk, they would probably reflect on the diversifying range of languages exchanging – the 2011 London census reported that 22.1% of Londoners have another language as their mother tongue.
2012 – London’s biggest year since the Great Exhibition – saw both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London 2012. First up – celebrating 60 years in the Commonwealth’s top job – the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee saw a whole host of celebrations happening all over the World. Here in London there was a huge Pageant of boats on the Thames, where the Monarch and her Consort – Prince Philip admirably stood in the best English wind and rain. The London Olympics were a resounding success. Britain came third in the medal table with our best performance ever – and who could forget Super-Saturday. Oh – and to round off an amazing year in the capital, another building with a descriptive name opened. Only this time the name wasn’t made up by Londoners – it was official. The Shard also happened to be the City’s new tallest building.
So, just 5 years to go to bring us up to speed with 2018. We’ll be back shortly to take you through from 2013 to the now.