All this and more can be found in this famous library which holds almost 14 million books, over 4 million maps and more than 8 million stamps. There are something like 170 million catalogued items in total which makes it the largest library in the world by volume.
Unbelievably, it wasn’t until 1973 that all these treasures were brought under one umbrella when an Act of Parliament created the National Library, and even then, there was no one main library building to speak of. That was rectified in 1997 when a new library was built at St. Pancras. Although there’s a northern offshoot at Boston Spa in West Yorkshire, most of the collection is housed in London.
London was born almost 2,000 years ago, when the Romans set up a trading post on the banks of the River Thames in 47 AD. They called it Londinium, and the wall that they built around their town corresponds roughly with the boundary of the City of London today. It borders Westminster to the west, Tower Hamlets to the east, Camden, Islington and Hackney to the north, and the River Thames to the south.
The area covers just one square mile and has a population of less than 8,000, far fewer than any other borough in London. In fact, it’s not even a borough, but a city in its own right and is administered by the City of London Corporation. It may be small in size and population, but it has always been one of the most important and influential areas of the city.
After the Romans left, the Anglo Saxons created their own community just to the west of the wall and the former Roman town became virtually uninhabited. However, the location of old Londinium still had its advantages for trading. The Thames being tidal, meant that boats could come up this far, and yet it was still narrow enough to be bridged.