One afternoon in 1942, Olaf Hambro, was sited enjoying oysters at Wiltons on Jermyn Street owned at the time by Mrs. Bessie Leal. Just before he was about to finish his delicious meal the church at the end of the street was obliterated by a Nazi German during the bombing campaign. In the turmoil and shock of the devastation, Mrs. Leal folded her towel and apron and called it a day for her shop fearing for her life. It was at this point that Hambro walked straight up to her and asked for his bill, shockingly he asked Mrs. Leal to add the value of her shop to his total amount. To his death in 1962, Olaf Hambro explained that even though he bought Wiltons at the height of the Blitz-era, he knew that London was the best city in the world. It is now 64 years since an old Etonian merchant banker proclaimed how London is the best city in the world and for a fact, 14 million city dwellers share the same sentiments.
Paris, Tokyo, Rome, New York, or Dubai may also contend on claiming the title of the best city and duly so; however, all the above cities fundamentally fall short when it comes to culture, heritage, and transformation as compared London. The city of London has seen itself grow and transform itself into a global leader in banking and financial services, culture, entertainment, as well as architecture in addition to technological advancements. The significance of its metamorphosis throughout time saw the city gain the ‘Capital of Capitals’ tag in 2012 in preparation for the London Olympic Games. The 2012 Olympiads also identified one of the reasons why London is considered the best city today through Stratford, a district east of the city.
Home to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford was handpicked to represent the city’s profile during the global events due to its unique infrastructure and its necessity for regeneration. The world was exposed to a multitude of features such as world-class services, amenities, as well as administrative functions that are reminiscent of a great city.
Once a derelict district skirting London, Stratford has grown to a hub of activity that complimented the Olympic Games; a feat not easy to achieve considering the millions of individuals who found the region captivating. Stratford hosts a diversity of attractions ranging from historical events and structures dating as back as the 15th century Victorian Era to the Arcelor-Mittal Orbit, which is the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide.
This variation of the old and new is evidence of the regenerative profile of London. Six years after the 2012 Olympiads, Stratford continues to go through a transformation that guarantees a future that is unique and exciting. Currently, there are plans to develop some of the best residential homes within and around the metropolitan as more individuals feel the need to stay other than visit. Recent studies have shown that Stratford has become a popular destination for younger people working in financial services. Stratford’s close proximity to Canary Wharf and the City is the principal reason for this new trend. As more projects are being set in motion, it is evident that Stratford is set to become a future popular hotspot on a global scale.