London Bridge is the heart of a liberal, tolerant and welcoming city

This 21st century celebration of life is a soft target for murderers united only by their hatred of humanity

Simon Calder
Sunday 04 June 2017 06:09
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City workers cross London Bridge as they commute to work
City workers cross London Bridge as they commute to work

A few minutes’ walk from the scene of Saturday's appalling attack stands Cathedral Primary School, a Church of England establishment that demonstrates the diversity and inclusivity of London SE1, and cares for children of all colours and creeds.

The area on the south side of London Bridge is a part of the capital that everyone shares. For around a millennium, Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market have looked after the spiritual and secular needs of this densely populated residential area — which has been enriched by waves of new arrivals.

Yet in the past two decades, the Borough area has transformed from a dormant, relatively obscure corner of the South Bank to a vibrant neighbourhood packed with bars, restaurants and tourist attractions.

Businesses have moved in, and now jostle for space with hotels built since the turn of the century. They are taking advantage of the proximity to the City and an increasing number of tourist sights, with Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Shard changing the skyline and drawing the crowds.

The riverside walkway has a constant flow of locals and visitors. Borough Market — straggling beneath the railway arches — draws thousands of shoppers and tourists at weekends, and in the evening transforms an entertainment hub.

People congregate here to celebrate life at the heart of a liberal, tolerant and welcoming city. As with Westminster Bridge and Manchester, they present a soft target for murderers united only by their contempt for humanity. But this act of pure hatred will only strengthen the unity of the people of SE1 and the millions they welcome.

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