On The Embankment
Photographer: Coburn, Alvin Langdon (1882-1966)
Medium: Photographic print
"London - and this is at the root of every problem which the more serious contemplate when they think of the City, and which the merely observant must curiously note - London is not one thing...
Not that London lacks a common atmosphere and a common spirit; it possesses both to an extraordinary degree. It does not indeed breed a breed of men. For the myriads of Romans, of Parisians, of Marseillese, of Hamburgers and the rest, London can show no parallel. Its breeding-grounds are in the slums and obscure, lacking any civic tradition; its middle class, which might produce a tradition, is perhaps the least prolific in Europe; it has no resident aristocracy; it is merely used by the plutocracy of the moment as a place of leisure, of enjoyment, and of control. Yet the spiritual unity it evinces strikes every foreigner and possesses every native observer."
Text by Hilaire Belloc from the book 'London'