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Fictitious Londoners

The most famous of the many literary characters created in, or closely associated with, London are Peter Pan (statue in Kensington Gardens), Paddington Bear (named after the mainline railway station) and of course Sherlock Holmes. The world's most famous fictional sleuth has his own museum in Baker Street and you can also see a re-creation of his study at the Sherlock Holmes pub in Northumberland Street, off the Strand.

London's Famous

Charles Dickens

Born on the south coast in Portsmouth in 1812, Charles Dickens came to London in 1823. His early career as a lawyer and a reporter, combined with the financial hardships suffered by his father (who spent a short time in a debtors' prison), shaped his conceptions of the harsh realities and social injustices of London. His first real writing success, under the pen-name Boz, was The Pickwick Papers, published in serial form during 1836-7. He went on to write a further 13 major novels, including A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, Nicholas Nickleby and David Copperfield, and died in 1870 leaving the last one incomplete. A superb orator who took his stories on tour, much as a musician gives concerts, Dickens was the finest writer of his time and arguably the greatest- ever English novelist. The vitality and colour with which he invested his characters and his ability to tell a story which captured the spirit of the age made him indeed 'The Inimitable' - his own immodest sobriquet!.

Sir Christopher Wren

A brilliant polymath, Christopher Wren (1632-1723) began his career as an astronomer and mathematician before turning to architecture. In 1669 he was appointed Surveyor of Rebuilding after the Great Fire of London. However, contrary to popular legend, his grand plans for a cohesive new London foundered on the complex network and politics of land ownership. Instead he turned his immense talents and energy to St Paul's Cathedral and to City churches.

Queen Elizabeth II

London's most famous resident - from April to mid-August at least - is Elizabeth Mountbatten-Windsor, better known as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (born 1926). During the rest of the year she spends time at Windsor Castle and her other palaces. Despite the family problems of the 1990s- fire at Windsor Castle, the breakdown of three of her children's marriages, the death of Princess Diana and a widespread appraisal of the modern role of the royals - the Queen herself remains seemingly inviolable.


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