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“I AM LONDON” Historic England

17 July

“I Am London” is a short film produced by Clarence Films for the launch of Historic England’s “Keep It London” Campaign

“Keep It London” – says Historic England –  is about keeping London’s big old heart beating.

Lots of fuss is made over London, lots of hype.  I love London. It’s where I was born and if I leave it for too long, I feel sick. That’s the honest truth. Every time I walk around the city, I see something new that makes me love it more. You can be in London forever and a day and still find something you have never heard of before and never even knew existed. That’s because it is constantly evolving and welcoming new people and cultures in, not to assimilate, but to find ways of being themselves as part of the city. Our history, and our future. Being part of I am London is one of the best things I’ve ever done. It’s nothing to do with the part I played but that I get to be surrounded by other people obsessed with the city, and I get to be associated with celebrating and continuing to inflate London’s ego. Shamelessly.

With the EU Referendum result, an overwhelming support for Remain came from London and commentary has been that the people of London are out of touch with the rest of the country. I am very aware that within London I think differently to others who don’t live here. I’ve met people who never want to step foot in the capital. They think they will be covered in pigeon poo, shoved around on the tube and get totally lost. that’s probably true. What I get from living in London is choice. Since I was a little girl at school in Soho I’ve always been celebrating other cultures. From Chinese New Year to Dewali. My life has been full of colour, language, exciting food. It’s never-ending and that’s just right for me. On moving to Kent, the minute I was at liberty to go back to London, I returned because of the independence it brings and chance to be myself. It’s small enough to belong and big enough to never bore you. If you want to learn about other people and therefore better understand yourself, you’ll get that from London. If you want opportunity to develop, get stronger, get braver, stick yourself on London’s streets, it’s all there.

Maybe we’re out of touch with the rest of the country, but we are more in touch with the rest of the world. That’s something to celebrate and to never stop fighting for. We are in complete flux, change that I never expected and have never experienced. Our political environment is unsteady, our laws are vulnerable and we have no idea what our country will look like in two years time. I am fearful that this is not a country that I want to live in. But, despite this London is still a place I am proud of. With our new mayor Sadiq Khan at the helm, hopefully we will Keep it London united on the principles of unity and inclusivity that the capital so strongly believes in. A day after the referendum there were calls for London to break away and join the EU independent of the rest of the country that’s ridiculous because breaking apart as a country would weaken us further but it shows the passion, we want to be together with the rest of the world and enhance what we are not stand alone and insular. It’s important that the world knows where we stand, I Am London for me says, I want to be in the EU, I always have done and always will. I believe in celebrating other cultures, and that having people who are different from me in my life makes me a better person. 

I am London. You can’t take that away. 

 

I Am London from Clarence Films on Vimeo.

 

Ayesha Casely-Hayford and Claire Reynolds

Ayesha Casely-Hayford and Claire Reynolds

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