"London, with its teeming millions"
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London was the world's largest city by population from about 1825 to 1925. By 1890, the city had approximately five million inhabitants.

 

Busy traffic on London Bridge (c. 1900)
Public DomainBusy traffic on London Bridge (c. 1900) - Credit: John L. Stoddard

 

 

In his Author’s Note for The Secret Agent (1907), Joseph Conrad describes London as:

a monstrous town more populous than some continents and in its man-made might as if indifferent to heaven’s frowns and smiles; a cruel devourer of the world’s light. There was room enough there to place any story, depth there for any passion, variety there for any setting, darkness enough to bury five million of lives.