Tag Archives: City of London

City of London.

London’s Square Mile to use 100% renewable energy by October

The City of London will draw on 100% renewable energy by the end of the year.

City of London.

City of London skyline.
Image credits Diliff / Wikimedia.

London’s famous “Square Mile” central district is going green — not in paint, but in spirit. Though not technically still a mile, as the district’s official bounds now enclose some 1.12 square miles, the major financial center will source 100% of its power from renewable sources starting this October, according to the City of London’s ruling body. The supply will come from solar panels installed on local buildings, further investments in larger solar and wind projects, and clean energy already in the grid.

The renewable mile

The City of London Corporation, the governing body of Square Mile (also colloquially known as the City of London), announced that it wants to draw only on renewable power from October 2018 onward. The City of London will install solar panels on the buildings it owns and will invest in installations such as wind and solar farms elsewhere in the UK.

Members of the City of London Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee backed measures that would turn their own sites across London into electricity-producing units. They also signed off on investments in off-site renewable energy installations and backed the purchase of renewable energy already available in the grid. Some of the buildings the Corporation plans to turn into renewable-generation units include social housing across six London boroughs, 10 high-achieving academies, three wholesale markets, and 11,000 acres of green space including Hampstead Heath and Epping Forest. More than enough space for the City to develop clean energy for the city as a whole.

“Sourcing 100% renewable energy will make us cleaner and greener, reducing our grid reliance, and running some of our buildings on zero carbon electricity,” Catherine McGuinness, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee, said in a statement.

“We are always looking at the environmental impact of our work and hope that we can be a beacon to other organisations to follow suit.”

The Greater London area has been struggling with pollution for the past few years. However, they’re also making important efforts to change — like adopting more electric vehicles and taxing polluting ones, creating more green spaces, and relying more heavily on clean energy. Electric taxis and buses are already zipping through the streets, and last December Shadiq Khan, the city’s mayor, announced plans to extend the Ultra-Low Emission Zone to include London-wide buses, coaches, and lorries, as well as expanding the Zone to include North and South circular roads for all vehicles.

Mithraeum London.

London put its most important Roman ruins back underground to make an innovative museum

An ancient Roman temple dedicated to the god Mithras has been restored to its original site — seven meters (23ft) below ground — by the Bank of England.

Mithras.

Mithras slaying a bull.
Image credits Tallis Keeton / Flickr.

During its heyday, ancient Rome forged an extensive and highly cosmopolite empire. Their conquests took them from Africa and Spain to England and the Middle East, but their diplomats, traders, and emissaries took them as far as ancient China.

Buried past

It may be easy to forget today, but London is a Roman city, a heritage that the City of London is celebrating by re-animating the ruins of one of the most important ancient temples in the city — the Mithraeum. First discovered in 1954 in a World War II bomb crater, the ruins have been restored to their original place 7 meters (23 ft) below ground level and brought back to life with sounds, lights, and a misty finish.

London’s Mithraeum was built in the third century to honor the god Mithras, a Persian-inspired deity which during the 1st to 4th centuries AD were very popular with military personnel. It was an all-male cult, and the temple, built next to the River Walbrook, was a prime gathering point for believers.

Lost to the mires of time, the temple was re-discovered in 1954 and became an overnight public sensation, with front-line news and tens of thousands of people coming to see it every day. The temple was dismantled and moved 100 meters (330 ft) away so that the public could visit while post-war rebuilding works continued on the site.

The ruins have now been moved back and restored to their original spot beneath Bloomberg’s European headquarters, a stone-throw away from the Bank of England. The 7-meter-long ruins have been reconstructed with low lights and audio effects, to simulate the atmosphere and Latin chatter one might’ve heard during the Mithrians’ rituals or celebrations. The original temple’s walls were re-created using sheets of light.

Mithraeum London.

Image via Uk.Pressfrom.com

“London is a Roman city, yet there are few traces of its distant past that people can experience first-hand,” said Sophie Jackson, the project’s lead archaeological consultant.

“This really was one of the most important discoveries in London, if not in Britain, in the 20th century.”

A six-month dig performed before the Bloomberg building was constructed uncovered the larges cache of Roman artifacts ever found in London. More than 15,000 objects were recovered including jewelry, brooches, shoes, animal bones, and pottery, offering a unique glimpse into the lives of Roman Londoners. The digs also unearthed a wooden tablet from January 8th, 57 AD — marking the earliest handwritten document ever found in Britain.

The London Mithraeum opened last week and is free to visit.