The last decade in London was certainly an eventful one. From a year of protests to the Summer Olympic Games, there was no shortage of major happenings with the city. The population of London grew and so did its skyscrapers, with several new buildings changing the shape of Greater London’s skyline. From 2011 to 2020, the decade was filled with moments of tragedy and triumph, and we have brought you a list of the most important moments from the decade, one for each year. If you think we left something out, you can share that with us in the comments.
2011 – Protests
The first year of the decade saw a series of protests and riots. The first came in March to protest planned public spending cuts from the Conservative-Liberal coalition government of David Cameron. In August, the death of Mark Duggan at the hands of police sparked riots throughout much of the city over the treatment of persons of color by the police. By October, Occupy London has formed as a protest against income inequality and other social injustices.
2012 – Summer Olympics
The Summer Olympics was the largest event to take place in the City of London. It was not only a major sporting competition that brought in people from all over the world in a spirit of fellowship, but it helped to change the City forever with the construction of Queen Elizabeth II Park and other facilities constructed for the games. Olympic games locations were constructed with plans to utilize them after the games were over, avoiding the urban blight that accompanied past Olympics.
2013 – Regent’s College Becomes Regent’s University London
Regent’s College was formed in 1984 as a private college located in Regent’s Park. In 2013, the government granted it university status, which permitted it degree-awarding status. Prior to this, students at Regent’s earned their degrees through partner institutions while taking their classes at the college.
2014 – 20 Fenchurch and 122 Leadenhall Open
Colloquially known as the Walkie Talkie and the Cheesegrater, respectively. These two skyscrapers opened months apart in London and helped to change the face of the city. Noth had significantly distinctive shapes and being within site of each other, helped to further define the London skyline.
2015 – London Population Reaches 8.6 Million
The City has certainly seen its share of drastic increases in population since the first major influxes occurred during the Industrial Revolution. After a drop to roughly 6.8 million in the 1980s, the city hit a milestone of 8.6 million and looks to be at 9 million within the next few years.
2016 – Sadiq Khan Elected Mayor of Greater London
After Boris Johnson opted to go back to Parliament for his eventual go at 10 Downing Street, the next election saw Labour retake the post in London’s 2016 election. Sadiq Khan started out as an MP for Tooting and was appointed Undersecretary for Communities and Local Government, then Minister of Transport under Prime Minister Gordon Brown before running for the Mayor’s office. He remains Mayor after winning reelection.
2017 – Grenfell Tower Fire
Certainly, one of the worst disasters to happen in London housing, the Grenfell Tower Fire broke out on June 14, 2017. The fire raged for over 60 hours and took 250 firefighters to put out. A Parliamentary inquiry into the cause was released in 2019 that discovered that it was caused by a faulty refrigerator and exacerbated by the materials used in renovating the façade. The fire resulted in 72 deaths, and the criminal investigation is ongoing.
2018 – District Line Celebrates 150 Years
Running from Upminster to Edgeware Road then branching off, the District Line has been part of London’s Underground since it opened in 1868. It’s only 5 years younger than the City’s oldest line, the Metropolitan, which opened in 1863.
2019 – The Tulip Skyscraper Achieves First Approvals
The Tulip Tower is one of the more controversial building projects in London. It was proposed by Brazilian billionaire Jacob Safra of the Safra Group and was designed by Foster + Partners to complement the Gherkin. The tower got its first approvals in 2019 from the City of London’s planning and transportation committee but was rejected by Greater London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was then overruled by Housing Secretary Michael Gove this October. In November, however, Gove himself rejected the proposal, possibly bringing an end to this long battle over the Tulip.
2020 – COVID19 Pandemic
The first case of the coronavirus in London was confirmed in February 2020 and since then the city has endured lockdowns, hospitals stretched to capacity, and numerous changes to daily life in an attempt to fight the virus. It remains to be seen how the virus will ultimately change the City.