An overview of England (London)
London, England is next up in my location scouting series. Just in case this is your first time stopping by, these posts are showcasing the various locations featured in my novel, Eteka: Rise of the Imamba.
As always, here’s a general overview of England:
Geography and Economy
England is part of the United Kingdom (the United Kingdom consists of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in case you didn’t know). England has one of the strongest economies in the world, being a leader in many industries (aerospace, chemical/pharmaceutical, arms, software, and finance to name a few). The official currency of England is the pound (pound sterling), and as of the time of me writing this, 1 British Pound = 1.6 USD.
Fun Fact: England, specifically London is the largest financial center in the world (home to the largest concentration of banks, stock exchanges, hedge funds, etc). This should not be confused with the Global Financial Centres Index, which is more of a holistic ranking of the strongest financial locations in the world.
Fun Fact: The Industrial Revolution (that little thing that needs to happen to lay the foundation + build + strengthen any economy) began in England in the 1500s. Take that, all you private sector groupies.
Weather in England is mostly wet and cool, although it does enjoy sunny days as well. Like most countries in Europe, England has a few great cities, and lots of quaint little towns.
Historically, England has been infiltrated and influenced by an interesting collection of peoples, most of them hunters from warlike factions. There were the Celtics, the Romans, the Anglo Saxons, and the Vikings. The Romans first invaded England under one of its most popular generals/dictators, Julius Caesar in 55BC.
Fun Fact: Rome’s primary nemesis during its conquest of Britain were the Gaul’s, the dominant tribal people’s of Britain at the time. The popular Asterix and Obelix comics back in the 80s and 90s were based on this period (I loved reading these comics back then):
Britain was eventually made a part of the Roman Empire. After the fall of the Roman Empire around AD 410, Britain was open for picking and was settled by the Anglo Saxons.
Fun Fact: The Anglo Saxons were mostly pagans with German ancestry, but the arrival of the missionary St. Augustine of Canterbury (St. Augustine is considered by many as one of the fathers of the English church) saw many Anglo Saxons convert to Christianity.
The Anglo Saxons eventually divided England into 4 kingdoms (Northumbria, Wessex, East Anglia and Mercia). Wessex was the only kingdom to survive the Viking invasions (the Vikings raided England between 793–871, and sporadically afterwards until 1066).
Fun Fact: The TV show Vikings, is partly based on the Viking invasion of England. It’s a great show, I recommend you watch it. You can catch it on the History channel (US):
Fast forward a few years into the future (skipping over the Norman conquest of England, Tudor period, the Renaissance, numerous Bible revisions by various kings, breakup of the church) and we come to the English Civil War (1642–1651), which in a nutshell were three wars fought between one group of people in favor of the Parliament/government system, vs another group in favor of the monarchy/Royalist system under Charles I. The Parliamentarians won, Charles I was beheaded, and the English Parliamentary system was born, initially under the English dictator Oliver Cromwell. The monarchy system was eventually “restored” in England, but the power ultimately sat with the Parliament. Queen Victoria (Britain’s longest ruling monarch and ancestor to Queen Elizabeth and her grand babies who make the paparazzi headlines today) took the throne in 1837. Her reign saw the rise of Parliament and England’s move towards a democratic system. Since then, England has had some notable highlights. England was a major contributor to the allied forces that trumped Germany in both World Wars I and II. England won the World Cup (football) in 1966.
England is responsible for numerous industrial, medical and technological firsts, including the first digitally programmable computers (Tommy Flowers), Boolean Algebra (George Boole), the worlds first handheld computer (the Psion Organiser), the world’s first web browser (Tim Berners-Lee), the adjustable spanner (Edwin Beard Budding), stainless steel (Harry Brearly), the clinical thermometer (Thomas Albutt), surgical forceps (Stephen Hales), the first typhoid vaccine (Almroth Wright), the torpedo (Robert Whitehead), stun grenades (created by the SAS), the first sniper rifle (Joseph Whitworth) and many more.
On the music front, England has also produced some influential acts, from the legendary Paul McCartney + John Lennon, to Elton John, Adele, Sting, Mick Jagger and the Spice Girls.
So how does England, specifically London factor into my novel, Eteka: Rise of the Imamba?
London is England’s capital (as you probably know). It is one of the most populated and diverse cities in Europe. It’s broken up into 32 boroughs, and many more districts. My novel features four locations within London in the 1960s and 1990s: Hampstead, Brixton, Leicester Square and Knightsbridge:
- Hampstead — A very wealthy and picturesque area in North London. Hampstead has served as the stomping grounds for many reputable poets, philosophers, musicians, authors, artists and actors (Ozzy Osbourne, Sting, T.S. Elliot, Ian Fleming, George Orwell, Judi Dench and the great Sigmund Freud are all examples of people who have called Hampstead home). Hampstead makes its appearance within my novel in the 1990s.
- Brixton — An urban center in South London. One of the highest concentrations of both African and Caribbean ethnic groups in London can be found here. There’s a huge street market in Brixton, and a thriving nightlife. Brixton is also heavy with the UK’s grime/hip hop scene. A key landmark in Brixton, the Loughborough Estates/projects, is featured in my novel in a very exciting scene set in the 1960s:
- Leicester Square — If Piccadilly Circus in London equates to Time Square in Manhattan, then Leicester Square in my humble opinion would be to London what downtown Manhattan by Union Square is to New York. Leicester Square is a lively area full of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and movie houses. I wrote some pretty cool scenes featuring Leicester Square in the 1960s.
- Knightsbridge — Another very upscale part of London. It’s known for its expensive retail outlets, hotels, restaurants and high end/private night clubs. Knightsbridge makes its appearance within my novel in the 1960s.
I’ll leave you with the below video that briefly showcases London. Keep in touch!