Our capital city has always been a thriving and colourful place, full of diverse and determined individuals developing trade and finance, exchanging gossip and doing business. Abandoned by the Romans, rebuilt by the Saxons, occupied by the Vikings and reconstructed by the Normans, London would become the largest trade and financial centre, dominating the world in later centuries. London has always been a brilliant, vibrant and eclectic place Henry V was given a triumphal procession there after his return from Agincourt and the Lord Mayor s river pageant was an annual medieval spectacular. William the Conqueror built the Tower, Thomas Becket was born in Cheapside, Wat Tyler led the peasants in revolt across London Bridge and Chaucer s Canterbury Tales was the first book produced on Caxton s new printing press in Westminster. But beneath the colour and pageantry lay dirt, discomfort and disease, the daily grind for ordinary folk. Like us, they had family problems, work worries, health concerns and wondered about the weather.