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13 signs you were born and raised in London

1. You believe strongly in the North / South divide.

For you, the North / South divide has nothing to do with the North of England and the South of England. No, no. What you care about is what’s north or south of the river. Whichever side you grew up on has your undivided loyalty, and crossing over to live on the other side is like leaving a religious cult. You must cut all ties, you may never see your loved ones again.

2. You know what the tops of so many bus drivers’ heads look like.

Do you remember getting on a red double-decker and racing to the top to get the front seat with the mirror so you could stare down at the driver? It was possibly the coolest thing ever. You could just stare at the top of their head for hours and hours until it was time to ring the bell (oh joy) and get off at your stop. Riding on the top deck definitely isn’t as fun on the new modern buses.

3. Sirens are like your lullabies.

You know you grew up in London when the sound of sirens can lull you to sleep and the sound of birds keeps you awake. Move to the countryside and those wood pigeons among the silence will drive you crazy. You’ll need to play the theme of The Bill on a loop to cure your insomnia.

4. You walk at the speed of sound.

You can take a Londoner out of the big city, but they will still walk at the speed of sound. Whether in a hurry or not, we walk like getting to our destination in the fastest possible time is our life goal. Look ahead, no eye contact, and go!

5. The Natural History Museum dinosaur left a lasting impression on you.

When you hear the word “dinosaur,” you can’t help but think of the huge dinosaur skeleton in the Natural History Museum. Did every child in London go there on a school trip and marvel at the size of that thing? Looking back I can’t even tell you if it was real, I know I definitely thought it was…anyone?

6. You often respond with “London” when asked what country you’re from.

Oh, is London not a country? Try telling that to Londoners abroad.

7. You think people who hate London are just jealous.

Perhaps due to our belief that London is the center of the universe, a lot of non-Londoners like to tell us how much they hate us or our city. We tend to brush it off and dismiss it as jealousy, though. I mean, how could you hate this place?

8. You’ve been woken up at the end of the line.

We all know that moment when you get woken up by the tube driver at the end of the line, about 500 stops away from home, and the last tube has already left. You have to scramble about in some unknown place at 1am for a taxi and pay half your month’s salary for the cabbie to take you back across the river. Oh the shame!

9. You know which side of the escalator is for walking and which is for standing.

It isn’t that hard: Walk on the left, stand on the right. Okay, it’s probably counter-intuitive for everyone else in Europe, but really, please get it right or we will have to pick you up and put you on the correct side. I’ve seen it happen!

10. You’ve been to fewer tourist sites than your friend who came to stay for the weekend.

Well, they’ll always be there won’t they?

11. The Docklands Light Railway scares you.

A tube, that goes overground, with no driver…erm, no thanks. We’ll leave that for the tourists.

12. You are the master of the tube.

You know which end of the platform to stand on to get off right at the station exit. You know which branch of the Northern line to take to change easily to the Victoria Line at Euston. You know how to navigate the new Kings Cross St. Pancras station…. Yes, you are the master of the underground universe. Above ground, however, it’s a totally different story.

13. You know if you left London you could rent a house for the same price you’re paying for your single room in a shared house in the capital, but you’ll never leave.

After all, there’s nowhere in the world you’d rather live.

Photo: Chris JL 

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