What does the future hold for London? We’ve put together a timeline, stretching out into the 23rd century.
The chronology includes both real-world plans (hello Crossrail… eventually), but also fictional happenings and skyline visions of the city’s future. The latter are given blue dates and italicised, just to be clear.
Obviously, the dates given could slip or projects could be cancelled, but this is our best stab at mapping out the future as it appears in early 2019. And, no, we’re not adding speculation about Brexit to the timeline.
2020: The Elizabeth line (AKA Crossrail) finally opens after over a year’s delay (we hope). The tallest building in the City of London, 22 Bishopsgate, opens for business.
2021: A new Overground extension to Barking Riverside opens.
2024: Work begins on Crossrail 2, a north-south sequel to the Elizabeth line.
2026: The first phase of High Speed 2 opens, linking Euston station to Birmingham. The new Old Oak Common station connects HS2 to Crossrail and the Great Western Mainline.
2026: London is a city ‘all in the air’, as aeroplanes and blimps weave between the tall buildings.
2027: London, already on the brink of collapse in a worldwide infertility crisis, faces an unmanageable influx of asylum seekers. Meanwhile, Battersea Power Station has been converted to an art archive. (Children of Men)
2028: The MSG Sphere — a new concert venue based inside a giant globe — opens in Stratford (date speculative).
2029: The Bakerloo line extension to Lewisham opens.
2030: The Centre for Music opens on the old Museum of London site.
2032: Crossrail 2 opens to passengers.
2032: An underground train packed with explosives is detonated in Westminster, destroying the Houses of Parliament. (V for Vendetta)
2036: Death of artist Ralph Steadman at the age of 100. This according to his own plaque in Parsons Green.
2040: The Bakerloo line is further extended to Bromley.
2041: Soho tailor Tom Baker dies, according to his own plaque. Despite the coincidental name, he is not a Timelord.
2051: The largest celebration in London’s history, as the city marks its 2000th birthday, plus the anniversary of the Great Exhibition (1851) and Festival of Britain (1951). We called it first, and expect a seat on the Board of Trustees.
2060: Construction work begins on a replacement for the Thames Barrier.
2061: It’s the 2000th anniversary of the destruction of Londinium by Boudica. Expect lots of holographic chariot-racing events along the Embankment.
2070: The Thames Barrier comes to the end of its expected lifespan. The replacement flood defences have to account for increases in sea level caused by climate change.
2117: Big Ben (rebuilt after the 2032 atrocity) has gone digital. Meanwhile, the West End is a forest of skyscrapers. One of several visions created to promote an interactive game. Good to see that early 21st century buses, drones and adverts are still part of the city’s tapestry.
2121: London has become a blurry ‘ecovillage’, with its surviving landmarks re-erected in new places for some reason. This vision was created by Alan Marshall, and displayed at a recent Museum of London exhibition.
2150: London is left ruined by alien invasion. The Dalek aggressors are eventually vanquished by pockets of resistance based in former Underground stations. (Daleks’ Invasion of Earth 2150 A.D.)
2259: Terror attack on a Section 31 facility by genetically engineered superhuman Khan Noonien Singh kills Admiral Christopher Pike. (Star Trek: Into Darkness, not necessarily in our timeline)
Anything to add? Suggest a future event from London fiction, or a real and expected development, and we’ll add them to the timeline. (No Brexit comments, please!)