Reviews

Celebrate the City? – we should be doing this every day

Usually deserted at the weekend, the City of London is alive today with activity. Stalls fill Guildhall yard and Cheapside. Livery companies have opened their doors so you can see their wonderful meeting halls, many of which are listed. And with impromptu concerts springing up both inside and outside churches, the City really is looking its best.

The hive of events, which also include talks and walks, are all part of Celebrate the City. Organised by the City of London Corporation and the Bishop of London, the festival showcases 2,000 years of remarkable history. But it also acknowledges that the City, that is the square mile of wealth originally laid out by the Romans, is a great place to hang out in 2012.

Yet while the crowds are flocking in this weekend for the packed programme, unfortunately during the normal course of events the streets are dead after 8pm on a week day. And, because only 11,000 people actually live here (over 300,000 work in the City during in the week), it usually seems like a virtual ghost town at the weekend.

In Medieval times the population could have been as high as 40,000. No one would claim that life was all rosy back then but it still must have been a fascinating and vibrant city to live, work and play in. People lived above their shops, practiced their trades and then went to the taverns in the evening.

It is a real shame that today the City is only seen as a working district. Here you have the best pubs, fine churches and intriguing alleyways. History is quite literally hidden around corners.

There should be a plan to get people back into living in the City. We owe it to our ancestors, the ones that laid out the streets and made it the best capital in the world, to make it vibrant again.

Celebrate the City? We should be enjoying it all day, every day. But in the meantime enjoy the fantastic events planned for tomorrow. Just head for the City and join in the fun.

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