A tale of two cities

London is now a magnet for international investors who push up prices, and drive out the middle class and poor.

The World Today Published 6 February 2015 Updated 5 January 2021 3 minute READ

Ben Judah

Author of ‘This is London’ (2015)

Looking at the London Tube map very little has changed since Margaret Thatcher became prime minister in 1979. There are a few extensions in the corners, but the zones that ring the city are still in the same place: zone 1 is still central London; zone 2 is still the inner city; and zones 3 to 6 are still the suburbs.

The old London of 1979 was more or less like this: zone 1 was the property of the British elites and the upper middle class; zone 2 was a grungy inner city where poor immigrants first settled; and zones 3 to 6 were a patchwork of affluent or working class suburbs.

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