Amidst the often toxic political debates about immigration and asylum seekers, it can be overlooked that we are a nation of international heritage - and have been for millennia.
Here we celebrate just 10 examples of the millions of people who have found sanctuary in the capital city of this drizzly little island, and look at what they have added to society.
Most of us will contribute in our own small ways during our lives, but some will go on to become Olympians, pop stars, actors, politicians or business leaders.
And that is no different among those who find asylum by travelling here to escape from war-torn nations and despotic regimes.
Whether it is Sir Mo’s incredible, gold-medal exploits on the track, the tale of The Tiger Who Came To Tea or the talented singers behind Bohemian Rhapsody, Don’t Stop Me Now or Your Song we have a lot to be thankful for.
Their contributions stretch from our dinner tables, to our incredible range of restaurants, to music venues and theatres and the seats of power.
London is a diverse, cosmopolitan metropolis due to the arrival of people from around the world.
LondonWorld is proud to celebrate that here.
1. Mo Farah - athlete
If you haven’t heard the name Mo Farah, you have, quite frankly, been living under a rock. It would be forgivable though if you hadn’t heard his birth name – Hussein Abdi Kahin – which was changed to Mohammed Farah when he was trafficked from Djibouti to London at the age of nine and forced into child labour. At age 12 he was allowed to attend school and a teacher spotted his athletic talent. Fast-forward to 2012, after tireless training and competing, Farah won the 5,000m and 10,000m gold medal at the London Olympics and again at the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. His victory dance, the “Mobot” is well-known, but did you know Clare Balding came up with it? (Picture: Stefan Wermuth/AFP/GettyImages)
2. Judith Kerr – children’s author
Judith Kerr was born in Berlin to a Jewish family in 1923. Aged 10, she and her family were forced to flee after they heard a rumour that Nazis were coming to confiscate their passports as punishment for her father’s criticism of the party. The morning that the Nazis were elected, they raided the Kerr home in Berlin, luckily already vacated. The Kerrs settled in London where Judith studied at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, leading her to work as a TV special effects maker and operator. The work she is remembered for is writing The Tiger Who Came To Tea, the Mog series and the When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit trilogy. She lived in Barnes until her death in 2019. (Picture: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty) Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty
3. Freddie Mercury - singer
Farrokh Bulsara was born in Stone Town on the Tanzanian island of Zanzibar in 1946. You probably know him as Freddie Mercury, frontman of the iconic rock band, Queen. In 1964, his family fled the Zanzibar Revolution to Middlesex, England, where he studied music. He was born with four extra teeth on his upper jaw, which he believed contributed to his impressive vocal range. Even when he had the money later in his career to get them corrected, he never did for fear of affecting his singing ability. Mercury wrote many of Queen’s greatest hits and after he died from AIDS in 1991, he received many accolades including the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, awarded posthumously. (Picture: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
4. Rita Ora - singer
2012 may have been an incredible year for Mo Farah, but it was also pretty huge for Rita Sahatçiu, better known by her stage name, Rita Ora. She featured on a number one single that year, which kickstarted her music career. Her debut album reached number one in the UK charts with two more number one singles. Born to Albanian parents, the Kosovan-born singer and her family left Pristina for political reasons, after the disintegration of Yugoslavia led to Albanians facing persecution. On 10 July 2015, Ora was named an Honorary Ambassador of Kosovo at the Embassy of Kosovo in London. (Picture: Jacopo M. Raule/Getty Images fro Fendi)