Our capital city has changed immeasurably over the last few decades. In This is London, acclaimed foreign correspondent, Ben Judah explodes fossilized myths and offers a fresh, exciting portrait of what it's like to live, work, fall in love, raise children, grow old and die in London now. 


Here are a few things that This Is London has taught us about the city we call home.


There are more people in London with little to no English than live in Newcastle.

Nearly 320,000 people in London cannot speak English well or don’t speak any English at all according to the Office for National Statistics.

Source available here

A gun is fired in London on average every six hours.

In 2014 Met Police statistics showed that weapons had been fired on nearly 1,400 occasions in the capital during the previous three and a half years, 29 people died as a result of the shootings, and 760 sustained injuries ranging from 'minor' damage to potentially life-changing wounds.

Source available here

London does more cocaine than any other city in Europe - if the city’s sewers are anything to go by.

The European Union’s drug monitoring board found that London narrowly beat out Amsterdam for the top spot when it comes to the amount of cocaine found in wastewater flushed down the toilet. In 2014, London, with a population of more than 8 million, flushed an average of 737 milligrams of cocaine down the toilet for every 1,000 people per day.

Source available here

Life expectancy differs by 18 years between south and north Kensington.

In some cases this is even greater. Eighty-nine is the life expectancy for a white woman in a Chelsea town house, whereas the life expectancy of a Moroccan man in the North Kensington estates over the Westway is sixty-two, despite the locations being fewer than 5 miles apart.

Source available here

It is estimated that there are at least seven thousand prostitutes in London – and 96 per cent of them are migrants.

These are mostly girls from Eastern Europe: Romania, Slovakia, Lithuania. But also girls from Brazil, Thailand, Vietnam. There are at least two thousand of them every night on the street.

Sources available here and here

Today there are at least fifteen thousand servants in Mayfair, more than in the Georgian era.

Of the 4,360 homes in Mayfair, four out of five private apartment owners (some 3,100 homes) and nine of out ten house owners (around 350 houses) employ professional and domestic staff.

Source available here.

Watch Ben Judah’s report on London for BBC Newsnight.

Sign up to the Picador newsletter to be the first to hear all the latest news on our books, authors and events.